Since 2019, Breakthrough ACTION has been actively shaping Guinea’s health landscape through innovative social and behavioral change (SBC) strategies. From collaborating with government bodies to employing innovative approaches, the project has significantly impacted the nation’s health landscape. Recent success stories highlight the project’s achievements in Guinea, which it documented through a process called outcome harvesting.
The Challenge of Measuring Impact
Breakthrough ACTION faces the intricate challenge of measuring its impact due to the diverse nature of its initiatives. From promoting health behaviors to preventing zoonotic diseases, the project’s multifaceted goals demand a nuanced evaluation. Traditional quantitative indicators often fall short, considering evolving outcomes, contextual variations, and the intricate layers of project activities.
Outcome Harvesting: Navigating Complexity
To tackle this challenge, Breakthrough ACTION adopted outcome harvesting, a flexible and retrospective monitoring method. This approach captures both intended and unintended changes, providing a comprehensive understanding of the project’s impact. By focusing on qualitative data and narratives, outcome harvesting reveals the true essence of Breakthrough ACTION’s contributions.
In Guinea, the project identified 36 positive intended and unintended outcomes, including increased COVID-19 vaccination rates in communities where Breakthrough ACTION conducted activities and an increase in the country’s joint external evaluation (JEE) scores for risk communication and community engagement (RCCE). As part of the process, staff meticulously categorized outcomes, which were then externally verified to confirm the link between project activities and specific results.
In order to externally validate each outcome, the project conducted interviews with external experts who were knowledgeable of Breakthrough ACTION’s work but not directly involved. The interview phase extended beyond evaluation, offering profound insights into Breakthrough ACTION’s perception among RCCE experts in Guinea. These discussions provided nuanced perspectives, fostering deeper connections within the public health community.
Impact Unveiled: Voices from the Field
The outcome harvesting process brought forth insightful interviews with key individuals impacted by Breakthrough ACTION’s work.
A One Health communication and promotion focal point in Kindia, Kourouma Bakary, commended Breakthrough ACTION’s community dialogues for their participatory nature, addressing vaccine hesitancy and dispelling misconceptions. These dialogues significantly increased vaccine coverage and established trust between the community and health workers.
“With my strongest conviction, and I say this at the highest volume, the dialogues were very helpful.”
— Kourouma Bakary, Kindia
Ali Badra, a Red Cross Representative highlighted the transformative impact of Breakthrough ACTION’s Harmonized Message Guide. Through focused community engagement, the Red Cross shifted from uniform messaging to context-specific approaches during the Ebola crisis. Breakthrough ACTION’s messages bridged gaps, fostering trust between humanitarian workers and the community.
Jean Traore, the RCCE communication focal point at the National Health Security Agency, emphasized Breakthrough ACTION’s pivotal role in journalist training, enhancing accurate reporting during health crises. He acknowledged the project’s irreplaceable contribution, stating that because of it, communication efforts in Guinea significantly improved.
The chief of the vaccination team in Kissidougou, Idrissa Dieng, praised the project’s community dialogues, noting their positive impact on vaccination initiatives. He highlighted the importance of personal connections in overcoming hesitancy and facilitating successful vaccination drives.
Conclusion: A Resounding Impact
The unanimous acclaim from interviewees underscores Breakthrough ACTION’s profound impact on Guinea’s health landscape. From aligning messaging with cultural contexts to building trust in communities, the project has left an enduring and positive imprint. Experts’ endorsements not only validate its efficacy but also position Breakthrough ACTION as a trusted partner in social and behavior change initiatives, contributing indispensably to the well-being of Guinea’s communities.
Written by: Antonia Morzenti, Senior Program Officer, Breakthrough ACTION, and Mashoud Kaba, MSPH student, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health