RSF: Well-being outcomes

The Research Support Funding scheme supported 13 short (six-month) projects that complemented and extended the Centre’s research themes: Transforming Institutions, Transforming Engagement, Transforming Health across the life course and Transforming Relations.

Generating evidence of well-being outcomes from community engagement and social infrastructures

Workshop date: 24th September 2019 

The background

A group of community representatives in rural southern Zambia shared how they felt hopeless and isolated: maternal and infant mortality are high; nutrition and health access are poor. Engagement with external facilitators and an international network of collaborative communities stimulated local connections and the formation of a collaborative local ‘Cluster’ that leveraged collective strengths to improve well-being. This cluster has improved health access, sanitation and maternal health. There has been a shift of mindset and a ripple effect that has led to new clusters.

This project is looking at how community engagement and action (in the UK and internationally) can improve health and well-being, by sharing testimonies and co-creating, with communities, academics and practitioners, ways to measure health and well-being.

What we did 

Arukah workshop discussions

Participants at the workshop

In September 2019, we held a workshop that brought a group of practitioners and academics together to look at approaches to, and measures of, community-led improvements in health and wellbeing, and think about what future work is needed to strengthen and measure these approaches.



A few of the organisations that were represented on the day: 

Some of the questions we asked:

  • How might donors and policymakers better support complex and subjective community-led change?
  • Community-led improvements in health and wellbeing: anecdotes, barriers, enablers
  • What methods can we use to measure community-led improvements in health and wellbeing?
  • How might donors, policymakers and others understand and pay attention to the different kinds of subjective evidence? (e.g. evaluative, experience, eudemonic).
  • What might be possible if community-led change approaches were adopted in other fields (beyond health and development)?

What we’d like to do next

  • We’d like to hold further discussions to share our methods of impact measurement with funders, and talk about the challenges we have with their traditional way of working.
  • Arukah would like to explore how complexity theory might affect or inform our work, given our network-based approach.
  • We’d like to arrange further meetings with C2 and other groups to continue to share learning, challenges, advice and support.
  • We’d like to seek constructive feedback from donors (from both successful and unsuccessful applications) and collate this information, then share the kinds of questions they’re asking and the challenges they have with our models.

Read the full report: Arukah Network WCCEH Report.

Project Partners

Elizabeth Wainwright
The Arukah Network

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