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Community Contribution

Field Support Scoping Visit Process: The Value of Pause and Reflect

Jarret Cassaniti
Breakthrough ACTION is the U.S. Agency for International Development’s (USAID) flagship social and behavior change project. Led by the Johns Hopkins Center for Communication Programs, the project's mandate is to increase the practice of priority health behaviors and enable social norms for improved health and development outcomes.To achieve these ambitious goals, Breakthrough ACTION needed a better understanding of the situation on the ground in countries where USAID Missions had project buy-ins. In planning information gathering visits, Breakthrough ACTION determined these required a scoping process and supporting tools that systematically and strategically incorporated pause and reflect techniques.
The project posited that developing a standard scoping process and encouraging members of integrated teams to be more comfortable in sharing their opinions and ideas would result in more effective programs. The process would also help scoping team members address their inherent biases, hear alternative perspectives from stakeholders, and adopt a willingness to take action on new ideas. The resulting scoping visit process, which incorporated aspects of human-centered design, behavioral economics, and audience segmentation, was implemented in five countries.
“Listen and Learn” guides were developed to facilitate discussions with five stakeholder groups: health service clients, community groups, health system professionals, implementing partners, and service providers.
The resulting organizational and development outcomes across the five countries are similar: an enhanced ability to work together to improve FP/RH, HIV/AIDS, MNCH, and malaria health outcomes as a result of greater buy-in.  These outcomes are expected to show a return on investment throughout the five-year project.

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