In the HEPCOM project we define tools as being methods, guidelines, conceptual frameworks and templates that local communities apply in order to plan and structure their health promoting activities towards children and young people. We illustrate the working process with a management cycle and by clicking on the different phases in the cycle, you will find tools that are related to each specific phase which can assist and inspire you to work in a more structured and informed way.
Tools can be divided into the following 5 phases of a working process:
- Policy development
- Strategic planning
- Action planning
- Implementation of interventions / health promoting activities
- Evaluation of interventions / health promoting activities
The 5 phases of the Management cycle are:
Policy and vision
An overall vision for health and health promotion or specific areas of health of children, young people and their families within the different policy areas should be set up on the policy level (e.g. by politicians and decision makers). Policy makers should have a clear definition of which target groups they aim to reach and which policy areas or levels are involved in reaching the defined aims. A shared language and a shared understanding of health and health promotion in general and the respective health topic are needed because this provides you with a clear sense of purpose.
More concretely, a vision for health promotion is crucial for certain reasons
- It helps you to see where you are heading with the project.
- It helps you to keep moving forward through obstacles.
- It helps you to stay focused on both short and long-term goals.
- It helps you to work together as a group.
In the policy phase, you will find tools such as documents that provide information for policy makers, guidelines that give support to organize policy workshops and/or dialogues with policy makers, examples of policy papers etc.
Concrete strategies for implementation must be developed to reach the desired outcomes. Conditions of the respective settings, such as resources, should be taken into consideration.
Developing concrete strategies is important because strategies provide a sense of how a project is performing, what the capabilities are, and if these capabilities can better the performance.
In other words, strategies are fundamental for more reasons:
- They help you to set the direction and establish the priorities.
- They help you to plan human resources an operational needs.
- They help you to get everyone on the same page.
- They help you to simplify the process of decision-making.
- They help you to communicate the message.
In the strategy phase, tools are typically guidelines, principles, and approaches that can help you develop a strategy.
Sets of actions must be defined at the executive and administrative levels in close collaboration with professional practitioners in line with the concrete strategies and settings.
Defining a concise and effective action plan is important to bring clarity to the overall vision and determine the purpose and goals of health promotion.
Action planning has several specific advantages:
- It helps you to bring structure and organization to your ideas and thoughts.
- It helps you to identify the steps you need to take to pursue your vision.
- It helps you to keep track of who will take action on what by when.
- It helps you to understand how you are going to carry out the intervention(s).
- It helps you to plan collaboration with other actors
- It helps you to take the right action step at the right time in order to implement the intervention in the best possible way.
In the action planning phase, you will find tools that help you specify and plan your activities and projects.
In this step, the strategies and interventions developed and planned in the first steps, are put into action. An activity is carried out, a process is started, success criteria and relevant indicators are listed, target groups are involved actively, learning is created and follow up plans are developed and executed etc.
Make sure that you implement your activities and interventions within an action learning approach, so that you create the best opportunities to learn from your work.This approach is a dynamic working process in which the important elements are: powerfull questions, active listening, sharing and learning, reflection, action, action, group and individual development.
- It helps you to get a new repertoire
- It helps you to be flexible during activities - form and content can be changed if needed
- It helps you to let the participants have a say
- It helps you to be learning by doing
You will find tools that help you carry out your activities in practice, like training materials, informational materials, models for reflection, models to ask questions and case stories.
Assessing the processes and results of an activity is essential to find out how the activity was received by the target group, to see if it had any (short-term) effects, and to determine whether it could be improved in any way.
In other words, evaluation matters to your project for the following reasons:
- It helps you to asses if your project is achieving its goals.
- It helps you to enhance future initiatives with lessons learned.
- Evaluation criteria should be defined prior to the implementation so that a continuous evaluation is possible.
For evaluation, you will find tools like questionnaires, self-assessment templates and quality criteria.