6.9 Community Participation, Education and Project Promotion

Part I: Guidelines for Delegate Agency Program Management and Administration

  1. Community Participation:
  2. Community Education:
  3. Program Promotion:

Community Participation:

Delegate agencies must provide an opportunity for community participation in the development, implementation and evaluation of the project by establishing an advisory board or committee. The composition of the community participation board or advisory committee must include:

  1. Broad representation of all significant segments of the population to be served; and
  2. Persons knowledgeable about the community's need for family planning.

 Each delegate agency should develop guidelines or by-laws for its community participation activities. The agency governing board or program specific family planning advisory committee (or the information and education sub-committee) may be used to fulfill the community participation requirement provided this group meets the above two requirements.

 The delegate agency's annual plan must include a component for community participation in its project. The role of the committee is:

  • To review the delegate program plan, assess accomplishments and suggest future program goals and objectives;
  • To review the agency's progress toward meeting the needs of the priority population(s) in the service area, as well as the plan for making the clinic services and policies more responsive to the client needs and preferences.

The committee fulfilling the community participation function must meet annually, or may meet more often, as appropriate. Minutes must be kept of all meetings.

Community Education:

Delegate agencies must have a formal, written plan for community education that is based on an assessment of the needs of the community and contains an implementation and evaluation strategy. Delegate agencies must budget for community education activities and Cost Center Reports must identify funds spent for community education activities.

The community education objectives must be delineated in the agency's annual plan. The following are examples of the type of community education objectives the IDHS expects delegates to develop in their annual plans:

  • To develop and maintain a positive community climate for program activities;
  • To coordinate with other community agencies to avoid duplication of services and to eliminate gaps in service;
  • To reach out to clients of agencies or institutions which are likely to serve individuals in need of family planning care;
  • To orient professional staff of agencies or institutions likely to counsel or refer clients for family planning services.

A variety of strategies should be used for community education based on the objectives of the program and the intended audience. These may include:

  • Distribution of educational materials;
  • Educational sessions to schools, community groups, and/or professionals;
  • Assisting community schools and groups in the development of family life and human sexuality curricula;
  • System for handling telephone requests for information;
  • Family planning library.

Community education activities should be directed toward priority target groups, one of which must be adolescents. Other groups targeted for community education may include parents, teachers, school counselors, school nurses, school principals and school board members, clergy, medical professionals and workers in health settings; members of minority populations, members of the media, community leaders in business and/or government, workers in youth service agencies, community service offices, drug rehabilitation centers, crisis centers and mental health centers.

The community education program should provide information on the following:

  • Need for family planning services in the community
  • Services provided by the agency
  • Contraceptive methods, including emergency contraception
  • Human sexuality and family life education
  • Parent-child communication
  • Parental involvement
  • Sexually transmitted diseases
  • Health promotion
  • Availability of other related community services
  • Teen issues

 The agency should have a system in place to evaluate the quality and effectiveness of the community education program.  Evaluation should take place annually. Community education activities must be documented and include the following elements:

  • Number of educational sessions
  • Type of audience addressed at sessions
  • Number of participants at each activity
  • Classification of participants at each activity
  • Number of pamphlets, brochures, etc. distributed

Community Education Reports must be submitted semi-annually to the IDHS.

Program Promotion:

To facilitate community acceptance of and access to their family planning services, delegate agencies must establish and implement planned activities whereby their services are made known to the community. Program promotion is a component of the agency's community education plan. Low-income women and teens must be included in the target groups the agency has identified for program promotion activities.

In planning for program promotion, delegates should review a range of strategies and assess the availability of existing resources and materials. A variety of approaches should be used for promotional activities based on the goals of the program and the intended audience. Suggested approaches include: 

  1. Distribution of posters and brochures.
  2. Distribution of a newsletter to: clients (provided there will be no breach of confidentiality); board and committee members; community leaders; elected officials; and local school boards.
  3. Providing information to the public through mass media: websites; television; radio; newspaper and/or magazines;
  4. Providing information to the public through open houses; distribution of family planning fact sheets; or a speaker's bureau.
  5. Providing information to professionals working with the agency's target population in order to help them better counsel and/or refer potential family planning clients, including, health and social services agencies, local physicians, youth service groups and clergy.
  6. Assisting community schools and groups in developing curricula in family life and human sexuality that includes, but is not exclusive to, the importance of preventing pregnancy and disease through abstinence. The delegate should assign a family planning staff member to serve on these groups.
  7. Maintaining a teen advisory or peer counseling group. Part of the function of this group should be to deliver family planning information to their peers.

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