Principal Investigator: Sian White, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM)
Community engagement has been recognised as a core pillar of outbreak response. This study found evidence that a new approach, the Community Perceptions Tracker (CPT), helped to track trends in community attitudes towards the COVID-19 pandemic which then informed adaptations to preventative programmes.
The aim of the research is to understand how community perceptions towards COVID-19 and response programmes change over the course of the outbreak. The findings are intended to improve the quality of community engagement and behaviour change communication programmes so as to strengthen communities’ trust and acceptability of these processes. This research will explore three objectives:
The CPT is a novel approach for enabling community engagement throughout the course of an outbreak. By conducting this research, we hope to understand how it is utilised by staff to improve programmes and whether this results in meaningful improvements for populations. LSHTM are excited that this research will also enable us to strengthen local research capacity.
This research will lead to improved understanding of behavioural enablers and barriers for communities affected by COVID-19. It will enable humanitarian actors to rapidly adapt and correct their programme activities in line with people’s understanding, priorities and needs, with resulting behaviour change that helps minimise infection risks.
Key outputs from the research will be a Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E) framework for use of the CPT in public health programmes. We will also publish two articles in peer-reviewed journals, which we anticipate will be widely read and disseminated by various global networks and platforms.
The CPT data will be used to influence decision-making mechanisms that communities cannot access on their own. If the findings show evidence of improved programming and behavioural outcomes, Action Contre la Faim (ACF) is poised to expand the CPT to other locations in line with their strategic plan, while Oxfam will use the research to strengthen community engagement as one of the key pillars of its humanitarian strategy.
In this blog the team reflect on using the Community Perception Tracker approach, and how they have used the unusual pandemic context to strengthen elements of their research.View
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