Four African adults engaged in a conversation.

Why Engage?

Advancing health and development requires engagement from community members, governments, health and related sectors, and relevant stakeholders; particularly those who will be directly affected by the final decisions.


Key Questions to Consider

  • Who—from which sectors—need to be engaged in the health and development effort, and why?
  • Who—from which sectors—can help in addressing important health and development goals, and how can we engage them?
  • Have those who are directly experiencing the problem been participating?
  • Have people who have responsibility or influence to change conditions been participating?
  • Is it rewarding to participate (e.g., clear roles, rewards, respect)?
  • Is it relatively easy to participate (e.g., time, effort, cost, location)?
  • Have we created an environment that encourages full and effective participation?


Some Recommended Actions

  1. __ Identify those who need to be engaged for all relevant sectors (e.g., health, education, transport), including those most affected and those who can address the group’s goals.
  2. __ Reach out to those you most want to involve through trusted people, organizations, and networks.
  3. __ Communicate the need and benefits of taking action together across sectors.
  4. __ Make participation more rewarding and attractive.
  5. __ Make participation easier and of lower cost (i.e., time, effort, money).
  6. __ Improve peoples’ abilities to be involved (e.g., provide information, skill training, technical support).
  7. __ Create an environment that fosters full and effective participation.


Examples of Promoting Engagement


Resources to Help You Engage

Tools from the Community Tool Box

Toolkit: Increasing Participation and Membership

Encouraging Involvement in Community Work

Participatory Approaches to Planning Community Interventions

Maximizing Community Stakeholders’ Engagement

Developing a Plan for Increasing Participation in Community Action

Involving People Most Affected by the Problem

Involving Key Influentials in the Initiative

Identifying Targets and Agents of Change: Who Can Benefit and Who Can Help

Using Community Sectors to Reach Targets and Agents of Changes

Methods of Contacting Potential Participants

Promoting Participation Among Diverse Groups

Providing Support for Staff and Volunteers

Building and Sustaining Relationships

Honoring Community Champions

Tools from WHO and Other Sources

Social mobilisation in public health emergencies: preparedness, readiness and response

WHO recommendation on community mobilization through facilitated participatory learning and action cycles with women’s groups for maternal and newborn health

Key messages for social mobilisation and community engagement in intense transmission areas

Planning Social Mobilisation and Communication for Dengue Fever Prevention and Control: A Step-by-step Guide