Effectiveness of Operationalizing Community Empowerment Framework in PHC Setting in Saudi Arabia

In 2017 the Saudi Ministry of Health launched the Community Empowerment (CE) Initiative, which aims primarily at empowering local communities by engaging them in identifying their health needs, setting priorities, making decisions and creating inter-sectoral action. To the best of our knowledge, no study has been undertaken in the Arab world which using the “domains approach” in assessing community empowerment initiatives in health. The project effectiveness was measured using the Organizational Domains of Community Empowerment Tool (ODCE). The initial assessment was carried out 6 months after the beginning of the initiative, where a total of 66 participants were involved. The next assessment took place One year later, with 44 participants, as 22 members were lost. The participants were diverse with ages ranging from (15-65 years old), and educational attainment ranging from high school to postgraduate. Since the launch of the CE Initiative, around 224 workgroups have been formed around Saudi Arabia. These workgroups contributed to the launch of more than 400 health activities/projects within their local communities. The project showed an increase of 348% in the number of volunteers and an increase of 170% in the number of supporting entities. Furthermore, the results of the effectiveness study showed some promising results, with a rise of an approximately 9% in the domain of Community Activation (P value =0.21), and about 45.2% in the domain of Creation of a Supportive Environment (P value =0.14), with a statistically significant increase in Project Management Skills and Competence of the Community domains (18.1%, 20.6% respectively) (P value <0.05). This study has shown that, given the right conditions, community groups can be mobilized and successfully empowered in a variety of domains.

Author(s): Najla J. Alhraiwil

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