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Unlocking community capabilities

The unlocking community capabilities theme systematically examines how communities can be active participants in the planning, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of their health system, by identifying and mobilising individual and collective capabilities in different social, political, and institutional environments.

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Defining community capabilities

Communities are groups of people having common interests, resources, beliefs, needs, occupations or other social conditions that characterise the identity of members and affect their cohesiveness. FHS focuses on communities that live in a particular geographic area, but also examines other social characteristics of communities. The term ‘community capability’ encompasses key concepts of empowerment, mobilisation, social capital and capacity building.

Theme objectives

  1. Developing reproducible ways of measuring community capabilities to understand the social relations and resources within and across communities, including the status, social relations and entitlements of disadvantaged populations.
  2. Developing reproducible ways of changing community capabilities as a process and outcome of health systems interventions by improving linkages, strengthening monitoring, securing resources, improving resilience, and changing social norms.
  3. Having robust measures of change in community capabilities and developing research methodologies to understand pathways for change in community capabilities and how they relate to changes in health systems.
  4. Defining an appropriate model of health systems ethics relevant to long-term engagements with communities, especially in low-resource settings.

Recent FHS publications on 'unlocking community capabilities'