Session 12 - Use Evaluation To Track Your Progress (Especially for Community Health Workers)
By the end of this session, community health workers will learn how to:
- Create a vision for a With Every Heartbeat Is Life project for your community
- Learn the basics of evaluation.
- Choose strategies that can be used to implement the With Every Heartbeat Is Life project in your community
- Learn the role of a community health worker in the evaluation process
- Collect data to show the results of the project
- Participate as a team member in the project's evaluation process
- Create an evaluation workplan for the project's activities
Materials and Supplies
To conduct this session, you will need:
- "With Every Heartbeat Is Life" manual
- Blackboard and chalk or large pieces of paper, markers, and tape
- Color markers and sheets of poster board
Give these handouts to each group member during the session:
- About the Session
- Develop a Vision for the With Every Heartbeat Is Life Community Project for Your Community
- Basic Information on Evaluation
- With Every Heartbeat Is Life: Three Strategies To Offer in Your Community
- Data Collection
- The Role of Community Health Workers in the Evaluation Process
- How To Work as a Member of the Evaluation Team
- Group Activity: Develop an Evaluation Workplan for Your Project
Introducing the Session
- Welcome group members to the session.
- About the Session
You have learned a lot of information during this training. You have gained new skills and shown great progress and motivation. Now, you are ready to put the With Every Heartbeat Is Life training into action in your community. Congratulations!
This session is especially for community health workers. It will teach you how to participate as a team member to evaluate your project.
Conducting the Session
- Develop a Vision for the With Every Heartbeat Is Life Project for Your Community
During this session, you will develop a vision for a With Every Heartbeat Is Life project for your community.
Can someone tell me what a vision is?
- Note: Allow 2 to 3 minutes for group members to respond. Write their answers on the blackboard or a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
- Add the following answers if they are not mentioned:
- A vision is your dream, an image, or a picture of what you want to do and what you imagine your community project will do for the people you serve.
- It is the direction or goal of your project.
- It is what inspires, motivates, and engages people to take action.
A vision can be written as a statement or expressed as a drawing.
- Some examples of vision statements are:
- A heart healthy and stroke-free community
- An active, healthy, and informed community
Now it's time for you to create a vision for a community project. Think of this question when you create your vision: What would you like your community to be like after implementing your heart health project?
- Note: Divide the participants into small groups.
Choose one person from your group to share your group's vision.
- Note: Give each small group a set of color markers and a large piece of paper or poster board. Allow 20 minutes for groups to come up with their visions.
Now, a member of each group will present each vision to the rest of the group members.
- Note: Allow 2 to 3 minutes for each group to share its vision. Congratulate the community health workers for their enthusiasm and a job well done.
- Basic Information on Evaluation
When you offer the With Every Heartbeat Is Life project in your community, you will want to know if your project helped you to achieve your vision. Evaluation can help you do this. Now let's talk about what evaluation is and some important steps you need to know when you evaluate a project.
Evaluation is a well-thought-out process to assess the value of your project.
What are some benefits of evaluation?
- Note: Allow about 2 minutes for group members to respond. Write their answers on the blackboard or on a large piece of paper taped to the wall.
- Add the following answers if they are not mentioned.
- Evaluation offers you a way to:
- Find out if your project is working or is successful.
- Learn if you are meeting the goals of the project.
- Find out which project areas need to be changed or improved.
- Gather information about your project that you can share with the community and those who fund your project.
- Learn if your project activities are helping people make healthy choices.
- Give each group member the "Examples of Project Evaluation" handout.
Now we will look at how evaluation is used in a few projects.
- Ask volunteers to read aloud each example and tip.
- Examples of Project Evaluation
During the month of May, doctors from a community clinic referred 45 patients to the heart health sessions conducted by community health workers. Thirty participants attended all of the heart health sessions. The other 15 participants only attended a few sessions.
After the classes ended, the community health workers conducted followup visits. These visits revealed that the 30 participants who attended the classes were using the project's heart healthy recipes, participating in physical activities, and taking their medicines as the doctor told them. The other 15 participants who did not attend the classes were not using the recipes, most were not doing any physical activity, and several were taking their medicines only when they remembered.
The community health workers saw that the project had a greater positive impact on participants who took part in all of the heart health sessions.
Tip: Plan to track participants at every stage of your project—(1) referrals, (2) class attendance, and (3) followup after the classes.
A community health worker is a member of the health promotion team working on a project to increase the physical activity of community members. Participants attended a series of heart health sessions. The community health worker reviewed the results of the project. She found that 15 out of 20 participants who went to at least 6 of the training sessions were now walking for 30 minutes or more per day.
The community health worker learned that people who attended the heart health sessions increased their physical activity.
Tip: Learn your project goals and review them throughout your project. Make sure that project activities make sense and are helping you to reach the goals of your project.
A group of community health workers posted flyers in the community about an upcoming cholesterol screening event. They held the screening, but only a few people showed up. After the poor turnout, the community health workers thought about different ways to get the word out. They met with community leaders, got their input, and developed a new strategy. The new strategy was to go door to door to talk about the importance of cholesterol screening and to ask people to share the information they learned with friends and family. Then, the community health workers held a second screening and had a much better turnout.
By finding out what didn't work and getting input from the community, the community health workers were able to make changes in the way they recruited participants.
Tip: Don't focus only on the positive results of the project. You can learn a great deal by looking at what went wrong and what did not work.
Community health workers conducted several heart health sessions for community members. One participant shared her high blood pressure story. She described how her doctor told her that she had high blood pressure and about all the healthy changes she made. After 3 months, she had lost 10 pounds, and her blood pressure was under control.
The community health workers asked this participant to share her story at a community gathering. More community members are now interested in taking part in the heart health sessions.
Tip: Be creative. Project evaluation is about more than just numbers. Participants' stories, pictures, and journals can be very powerful tools that describe how your project has affected them.
You have learned examples of project evaluation. Now, let's go over the seven steps to create a plan for implementing and evaluating your project.
- Choose the activities. Work with your agency to choose the activities that you want to do. For example, your project may offer the sessions from the "With Every Heartbeat Is Life" manual.
- Implement project activities. Perform the activities of your project as planned. For example, you can recruit 20 parents from a local school and conduct the With Every Heartbeat Is Life project at the school.
- Collect data. Collect data to show if your project is helping parents. For example, you can use questionnaires to find out how parents used the information, what they learned in the sessions, and if they made heart healthy lifestyle changes.
- Enter data. Enter information from the completed questionnaires into a database. This task can be done by trained community health workers or trained staff.
- Analyze the data. An evaluator can analyze the data and summarize the findings. For example, an evaluator may find that parents who walk for 60 minutes daily have lower blood pressures and have lost weight.
- Write a report about the results. A report can show how the community has changed as a result of the project. For example, the evaluator may describe how parents' eating habits and physical activity patterns have changed as a result of their participation in the project.
- Share the results. Community health workers can share results with community members. For example, sharing results can increase community members' interest in the project and motivate them to take personal action to improve their health.
You have seen how evaluation can help you. Now, let's take a look at the types of evaluation: process, outcome, and other evaluation methods.
- Give each group member the "Types of Evaluation" handout.
- Ask volunteers to read aloud the types of evaluation and each example.
Types of Evaluation
Process evaluation tells you about the content of project activities. You can learn if you are doing the activities as they were planned. It also tells you who is participating in your project activities. You can track the specifics on how you carry out your project, such as the time spent on activities and how many participants attended the activities. The results of process evaluation help you to know which activities are more successful than others. It also gives you the feedback you need to improve your project.
Example: You can collect information about the number of sessions that you taught from the "With Every Heartbeat Is Life" manual and how much time you spent on activities during the training sessions.
Outcome evaluation describes the effect your project had on your participants. You can learn how the participants changed or are changing after completing the course. You can track how participants' knowledge, feelings (attitudes), or actions (behaviors) have changed after taking part in the project. You also can track the changes in clinical values. (For example, you can check to see if participants' blood pressure or weight has decreased.)
Example: A questionnaire is given to participants before the first class. The same questionnaire is given after the last class. The results of the two questionnaires are compared, which will tell you how much participants learned.
Other Evaluation Methods
You can use other methods to evaluate your project. You can ask participants for their stories (testimonials) about how the project has affected them, and you can collect the stories as the project evolves. Participants also can submit photographs and journals about the changes they have made during the project.