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I am starting a community project about health education and faith-based groups. How can I reach out to these groups? What should I do to get started?

            Thank you for writing us with your question.
            We think the best way to get started, with this or with most any similar project, is to find some quiet time with a notebook or keyboard and to think carefully and systematically about what you want to do before you take any specific action in the outside world.
            In this case, among the key questions you’d want to ask and answer for yourself are:

  1.  What are the specific goals of my project?
  2.  What is it that I want to accomplish?
  3.  How much time do I have to give to the work?
  4.  Is there a deadline for completion?
  5.  How much will the project cost? And how will it be paid for?   
  6.   Will you be doing the work by yourself, or will others be involved?
  7.  If you want other people to work with you, how will you find and recruit them?
  8.  As for faith-based groups, how will such a group be defined?
  9.  What geographic range do you plan to cover – for example, your own city or town, or some other bigger or smaller area?
  10.  Do you want to reach out to all such groups, or rather a sample? If a sample, how will it be chosen?
  11.  Which person or persons in the group would you be reaching out to, and how would you go about it?
  12. ,Do you have a prior relationship with any of these groups, or  would you be approaching them cold?  (Use your relationships to increase buy-in.)
  13.  In reaching out, what do you want to reach out to these groups for? What is your purpose?  What do you want to ask of these groups?    
  14. What would be your preferred data-collection method or methods (e.g., a single-person or group interview, a response on a survey, or something else?) 
  15.  “Health education” takes in a lot of territory. What particular aspects of health education are you concerned with? 

            These are examples of questions that typically arise in projects  like this – definitely not just in your own.  It’s true that there are a lot of these questions. But they are natural questions, and they are resolvable.
            To resolve them, though, takes careful thought in advance; and we would emphasize that that would be time well spent.  It will focus your energy and shape your actions when you actually get going, save you time in the long run, and result in better project outcomes.
            We’d also emphasize that there’s no single way of executing a project such as the one you plan. The answer that’s best for you will depend upon your project goals, the resources you can bring to the project (mainly people, money, and time), and the nature of your target population.   When you have gained clarity on these factors and on the other questions above, then your next actions will follow more easily.
            in addition to these specific points, the Community Tool Box contains quite a bit of general material on interventions that you might want to consult. We’d recommend in particular Chapter 18, Deciding Where to Start, at, especially Section 1 within that chapter.  The sections in Chapter 19, on interventions, should also be helpful.  
            We hope some of these thoughts will be useful for you as your work continues.  Thanks again for contacting us, and all best wishes for a very successful project.

Question Date: Thu, 10/27/2022