Um rito de passagem: A rite of passage for a Canada-Brazil Health Project
This past August 2007, Brazilian and Canadian Partners of the Intersectoral Action for Health Project (Projeto Ações Intersetoriais para a Saúde) met in Curitiba, Brazil for a project start-up workshop.A team from the Intercultural Facilitation and Organizational Development (iFOD) unit led the group of project stakeholders through a three-day workshop resulting in the launch of the Health Promotion in Action (HPIA) project.
The Intersectoral Action for Health Promotion is a project funded by the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) in partnership with the Canadian Public Health Association, the National School of Public Health (ENSP) located in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) and the Brazilian Association of Graduates in Collective Health (ABRASCO).
Project partners include health and education academics, frontline health promotion practitioners and community outreach workers from Manguinhos, a densely populated neighbourhood in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. Manguinhos is a young, densely populated neighbourhood in the outskirts of Rio de Janeiro. As in many other cities across the globe, steady immigration flows and rapid urbanization have stretched to the limit the physical infrastructure and delivery capacity of national and municipal public services available in Manguinhos.
Evidence from around the world demonstrates that health promotion is an effective practical approach to achieve greater equity in health. Health promotion strategies develop and change lifestyles and have an impact on the social, economic and environmental conditions that determine health. The Health Promotion in Action project seeks to create an enabling "field and classroom learning laboratory" for health workers to extend their present knowledge and capacity to deliver quality health services.
An early investment in dialogue among these partners in health promotion helped to align purpose, harmonize expectations, promote local ownership and intercultural collaboration and clarify areas of accountability for project results, all of which support aid effectiveness. Third-party facilitation, such as the Centre for Intercultural Learning's iFOD, enables partners to fully participate in highlighting priorities, unveiling divergences, enhancing their communication processes and creating a climate for innovation and solidarity.
Within the large framework of CIDA's results-based project management tools, workshop participants were invited to navigate through the Project Implementation Plan and were guided by their own answers to pertinent, interconnected questions in a process of discovery: What do we know about the project and what we do not know? Who is represented in the room, who isn't, and what does this imply? What are some of the key issues and concerns we have regarding health promotion for local development and intersectoral collaboration? What does success look like for my organization? What are the next steps we should take?
As sessions unfolded, the emphasis shifted from the project to our project, reflecting a sense of ownership and shared commitment. Through various activities including stakeholder and asset mapping, baseline snapshot, risk analysis and mitigation, participants gained insights which contributed to their workplans, including qualitative and quantitative success indicators for performance monitoring and evaluation. After intense days of facilitated enquiry, participants left with a renewed appreciation for a reflective, asset-focussed and commitment-driven approach to project implementation.