Wide shot of a group of people walking in line formation outside.
Credit: WHO/ Y. Shimizu

Why Act?

Taking action is critical to assuring conditions for health and well-being for all. Implementing the action plan through a collaborative process engages and empowers communities as key actors for health. Consistent with the action plan, this joint work may involve advocating for or implementing programs and policies that address priority issues and goals.


Key Questions to Consider

  • Do we have a clear and well-defined action plan in place to guide what we do (see Plan section)?
  • Are the necessary conditions in place for successful implementation of the action plan?
      • Have we assured the resources to implement the action plan (e.g. time, money, people, organizational leadership)?
      • Have we identified and prepared those responsible for implementing the action plan (e.g. defined roles and responsibilities, secured commitment, developed ownership)?
      • Is support or training needed to implement the action plan (e.g. knowledge and skill development, technical assistance)? How will we make it available when needed?
      • Are we ready to take action?
  • Is advocacy needed to bring about changes in programs, policy and practice identified in the action plan?
  • What is the process to review and update the action plan for changing or unforeseen circumstances, challenges, or opportunities as they arise?
  • How do we assure accountability for the actions planned or taken?
  • Is the action plan being implemented as planned? Are there barriers or conditions that need to be addressed to assure the action plan can be implemented as planned or adapted as needed?
  • How will we support or create mechanisms to enable people, including those most affected and those who can address the issue, to be involved in taking action?


Some Recommended Actions

  1. __ Secure resources and assets necessary to implement the action plan (e.g. people, money, physical space and materials, knowledge and skills, technologies).
  2. __ Provide technical support to implement the action plan to fit the local culture and context.
  3. __ Build knowledge, skills, and capacity of those involved to successfully implement the action plan (e.g. offering training, technical assistance, enhanced access to technology).
  4. __ Implement strategies and interventions as outlined in the action plan.
  5. __ Support policy development to bring about changes identified in the action plan. This may require engaging in advocacy for program, policy and/or practice change related to goals in the community or environment.
  6. __ Hold regular meetings or check-ins to oversee how the action plan is being carried out and make changes as needed.
      • Are the interventions being implemented as planned?
      • Is implementation of interventions on schedule?
      • How are interventions being received (e.g. appropriate, relevant, accessible)?
      • Have challenges arisen during implementation that need to be addressed?
      • Have opportunities arisen that can be leveraged?
      • Does the plan need to be adapted to better fit the context or situation of the community?
  1. __ Mobilize and support ongoing collaborative action and advocacy across sectors to bring about programs and policies to address the priority issue and goal(s).


Examples of Action

Establishing village-led quarantine centres for COVID-19 in Lao People’s Democratic Republic


Resources to Help You Take Action

Resources from the Community Tool Box


Building Leadership

Advocating for Change

Influencing Policy Development

Social Justice Action


Troubleshooting Guides for Solving Common Problems

There is not enough action to promote change

There is not enough change in the community or system

We need to assure better conditions for implementation

There is not enough improvement in outcomes


Additional Resources (reading, tools, examples, and PowerPoints)

Chapter 12: Providing Training and Technical Assistance

Chapter 17: Analyzing Community Problems and Solutions

Chapter 20: Providing Information and Enhancing Skills

Chapter 21: Enhancing Support, Incentives and Resources

Chapter 23: Modifying Access, Barriers and Opportunities

Chapter 25: Changing Policies

Chapter 26: Changing the Physical and Social Environment

Chapter 30: Principles of Advocacy

Chapter 32: Providing Encouragement and Education


Resources from WHO

Role of community engagement in situations of extensive community transmission of COVID-19 (WHO-WPRO)

Actions for consideration in the care and protection of vulnerable population groups for COVID-19 (WHO-WPRO)

Risk communication and community engagement readiness and response to COVID-19 (WHO)

Enhanced capacity building: Training for frontline staff on building trust and communication (WHO)

Understanding and managing fear: Training for humanitarian workers in emergencies (WHO)

Community engagement and social mobilization (WHO)

Stop the global epidemic of chronic disease: a practical guide to successful advocacy (WHO)

A conceptual framework for action on the social determinants of health (WHO)

Tools for implementing WHO PEN (Package of essential noncommunicable disease interventions) (WHO)

Implementation Tools: PEN disease interventions for primary health care in low-resource settings (WHO)

Comprehensive implementation plan on maternal, infant and young child nutrition (WHO)


Resources from Other Sources

The engagement toolkit (Book 3) (State Government of Victoria, Australia)

The community development facilitator’s guide (Human Resources Development Canada)

Index of community engagement techniques (Tamarack Institute, Canada)