Save the Children Methodology

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Save the Children’s Community Action Cycle

The Community Action Cycle (CAC) is a proven community mobilization approach which fosters individual and collective action to address key health program goals and related outcomes. Applied to improved health outcomes the CAC works to increase access to and demand for health services, especially where gender and other socio-cultural barriers exist. Save the Children’s CAC approach, used successfully around the world, fosters individual and collective action for sustained community participation in achieving health outcomes.

The CAC approach fosters a community-lead process through which those most affected by and interested organize, explore, set priorities, plan and act collectively for improved health. Phases in the CAC include preparing to mobilize; organizing for action; exploring the issues affecting access and demand for health and setting priorities; planning together, acting together, evaluating together, and “scaling up” successful efforts. Each Phase of the CAC has a series of related steps which guide communities and facilitating partners. As applied to health each phase and its related steps will lead to greater community ownership and sustained collective action after the end of project through the capacity-building of community groups.

By working through the CAC cycle communities and individuals will identify the socio-cultural barriers/enhancer, resources, risk factors, especially for those most marginalized, to access health services and begin to work towards positive change. They will also identify bottlenecks to accessing services—and will link with internal and external partners to address these barriers. The CAC approach recognizes that people do not change their behaviour based on information alone; it is a combination of having the information as well as the confidence and enabling environment to make positive choices, collectively and individually, while addressing underlying social norms that ultimately leads to changed behaviours.

Through the application of the CAC by multiple partners at community, district and provincial levels, community mobilization as an empowering approach to social change will:

  • Increase community level decision-making required by decentralization and democratization 
  • Address the different needs, problem, assets, beliefs and practices of diverse communities through greater ownership and understanding  
  • Build mechanisms and systems through which communities can sustain an enabling environment for social change, and link effectively with education and economic systems to support themselves 
  • Bring additional resources that may not be available through from government or donors Apply political pressure to improve quality of health services
  • Change social structures and norms in order for those most affected, especially for women and those most marginalized groups.

For a more detailed look into Save the Children’s CAC and its associated phases/steps click here

Also please view the following attachments to learn more about their measuring community capacity work:

Community Mobilization for Development– Power Point Overview of Save’s community mobilization approach based on a community capacity strengthening process

MCC for Better Health and Social Outcomes by SCUS -paper on our measuring community capacity work.

GMNC – Measuring Community Capacity – Concurrent Session – Overview of some of the indicators and measurement work presented at the Global Maternal and Newborn Health Conference last October.

5 responses to “Save the Children Methodology”

  1. The community action cycle (CAC) activities has helped both refugees and host community schools of Bidibidi refugee settlement through high enrollment of learners in schools ,parent and school stake holders are participating fully in school activities hence we realized that there is increase and good performance in primary leaving examination(PLE) result last year 2019 compared to 2018 before CAC program was fully and implemented and parents also realized that owning the school education infrastructures can easily lead to children to stay in school during school days hence leading easy child safeguarding and protection

    • C’est une bonne approche ,nous sommes entrain d’expérimenter l’approche,nous sommes encore de la deuxième Etape.
      Plusieurs leaders communautaires et chef du village ont beaucoup apprécier le fait de les impliquer dans le développement de leur communauté.
      Je pense que nous aurons plus des avis a émettre une fois toutes les étapes terminées.

  2. The USAID/SSGI Project in Mali uses the Community Action Cycle to guide all community mobilization (CM) activities. The Project helps communities identify those people and groups who are most affected by the core program issue(s) and invites them to participate in the program. These are the people who need to be involved in finding appropriate solutions and creating a community action plan to keep members on track to accomplishing objectives. This group is known as the Community Action Group (CAG). Below is an example of how one CAG has created a tailored action plan to address priority issues using the Community Action Cycle Methodology:

    The Kersigane Kaniaga CAG in the Yelimane district promotes care-seeking at the CSCom using innovative strategies put in place by the group with no external support. Firstly, the CAG based at the CSCom created 7 satellite CAGs in villages and which work closely with the Central CAG. Yelimane is sparsely populated and the villages are distant from one another. In this area, women outnumber men, the men having migrated to France or other foreign countries. To reach the maximum number of people the CAG works with the women’s groups in each village plus the CAG members of that village and report back to the central CAG. In addition to the satellite groups, the CAG uses traditional and modern media to raise awareness of key health topics. The CAG, along with CSCom staff, lead health-related discussions on the community radio for two hours every Sunday. The CAG group has used social media, creating a WhatsApp social network on which women of childbearing age in the villages in the health area, CAG members and CSCom staff regularly exchange on maternal and child health. This platform is also used by CSCom staff to voice messages to pregnant women to notify them of ANC appointments and other follow-up consultations.Thanks to this synergy of action between communities, health facility staff is changing attitudes and results are visible. Since the creation of the CAG in December 2017, ANC indicators have improved. In June 2019, the rate of ANC1 was 82.2%, compared to 60.0% in 2017 and ANC4 increased from 4.14% to 22.78% during the same time period (DHIS2-MSHP).

  3. The community action cycle (CAC) activities has helped all our ward and settlement through high increase in awareness creation, sensitization and mobilization of communities members to access their health services and that of their children through Ward Development Committees (WDC) activities. community participate fully in health facility support, Emergency Transport System (ETS) drivers also support pregnant women during ANC, Delivery and Postnatal Care and Resource Mobilization Activities by Ward Development Committees (WDCs) hence we realized that there is increase and good performance in in terms of their health needs, before CAC program was implemented Ward Development Committees ware not fully active in Supporting their health facilities, mobilizing women to go for ANC, Delivery and other health services. But with the 2 days Orientation workshop organised by Community Capacity Strengthening (CCS) in CAC implementation WDC have now taken charges of their health Needs. and communities also realized that owning their health needs is a priority and can easily lead to reduction in MNCH+N mortality rate, well-being of their communities and child safeguarding and child protection .

  4. CAC has helped us implement a community approaching project that targets adolescent girls and young women in Zomba and Machinga districts in Malawi. Everyone is involved and transparent actions are administered. Communities feel involved and devote themselves to take part in all activities implemented.

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