Data is a critical tool for advocacy, but can be cumbersome for small organizations to collect, manage, and visualize. Through a public private partnership between Excella and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the P4 Project led by Cardno International Development, Excella worked with community leaders advocating for improved access […]
Data is a critical tool for advocacy, but can be cumbersome for small organizations to collect, manage, and visualize.
Through a public private partnership between Excella and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) as part of the P4 Project led by Cardno International Development, Excella worked with community leaders advocating for improved access to HIV services for key populations in Uganda to design and develop a Community Advocacy Dashboard and visualization framework. The dashboard will be used by civil society organizations to make community advocacy actions and successes more visible and enable more rapid dissemination of learning within and among advocacy organizations.
At the CDC, the community advocacy team has supported the development of a community-led monitoring framework to enable local civil society organizations (CSOs) to help communities identify key gaps in service availability, accessibility, and quality of care, and then plan community actions to immediately address critical issues.
Community-led monitoring typically centers on the development and use of a community scorecard. Scores are assigned through a dialogue session between community members and local health workers, facilitated by a local CSO. This video shows the community dialogue process in action in Zimbabwe. Measures are typically statements about key health areas, like accessibility of facility-based counseling and testing for HIV, or attitudes and behaviors, like the presence of verbal stigmatization of key populations seeking health care.
Each statement is scored on a zero to ten scale, and the community identifies action items to address low scoring items. Where issues require action from higher levels of the health system, the quantitative score and additional qualitative notes captured throughout the process provide data that can be used in advocacy efforts.
The process generates rich qualitative and quantitative data, but often that information was analyzed by organizations in long narrative reports. Seldom were other health indicators tracked along side scorecard data to identify potential impacts of the community advocacy efforts.
The dashboard was co-designed over the course of 6 months with community advocates from 12 advocacy organizations in Uganda, and input from the CDC Atlanta and CDC Uganda teams. HEPS Executive Director Denis Kibera led the in-country discovery interviews to understand the major pain points and challenges organizations experienced when collecting, analyzing, and visualizing their scorecard data.
Using an agile process, Excella developed a MVP – a minimum viable product – in Tableau based on virtual feedback sessions and user testing. The MVP was demoed at an in-country workshop in Kampala, Uganda, where more than 25 participants interacted with the dashboard and provided feedback. Enhancements and modifications were made, additional testing completed virtually, and the dashboard was launched.
During the in-country workshop, participants identified additional data to triagulate with the scorecard information to add context to the scores and advocacy actions. For example, the HEPS team collected health systems inputs, including data on different commodities and staffing levels, that could be used to validate low scores on availability of ART or family planning commodities at the health center. As a result, the data structure behind the dashboard was modified for even greater flexibility for users to blend additional data sources.
The benefits for civil society organizations who choose to adapt and use the dashboard for their own monitoring purposes include:
Organizations who contributed to the dashboard development also identified opportunities to use the tool as part of routine data review meetings and to amplify advocacy impacts to district health teams. The biggest challenge for organizations in adopting the dashboard will be the time and effort required to reshape existing datasets into the data format used in the backend, but those efforts can be augmented with tools like Tableau Prep.
The Community Advocacy Dashboard and this framework were informed primarily by learning from conducting, managing data, analyzing, and visualizing data from CSC activities in Uganda, but also leaned on scorecard dashboard development in Zimbabwe and other countries where community-led monitoring is in place.
You can download the Community Advocacy Dashboard Tableau workbook, documentation, and short training videos on how to adapt the dashboard for your own purposes on GitHub. A PowerBI iteration of the dashboard is currently under development to accommodate tech platform preferences of different organizations.