What makes a community project a success

2017-11-02 06:01
Locally based top runner Lungile Gongqa on his way to winning The OM Two Oceans marathon.

Locally based top runner Lungile Gongqa on his way to winning The OM Two Oceans marathon.

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A decade ago - when the Sports Science Institute of South Africa’s’ Community Health Intervention Programmes (CHIPs) turned 10 years old, we decided to conduct some research on it, in conjunction with UCT’s Division of Exercise Science and Sports Medicine.

We wanted to understand the factors that were contributing to the programmes’ success, as well as identify some of the challenges.

Of course success means different things to different people and as the lead researcher on this project, Dr Cathi Draper says “Our first step was to define what was meant by ‘success’, since just looking at how much weight was lost, or by how much blood pressure was lowered - was not going to do the programmes justice.

Success encompasses the sustainability of the programmes in the communities where they are implemented, and it includes not only the physical health benefits, but the psychological and social benefits too,”.

In fact many of those participating in the evaluation mentioned several personal improvements as a result of their involvement in CHIPs, as well as the benefits of a sense of belonging to the CHIPs “family”.

Dr Draper explains “Having spoken to programme participants, programme staff, and other stakeholders, the factors we finally identified as contributing to CHIPs’ success were the following:

  • The focus on combining social development and sports science: CHIPs is an outreach programme that has the appropriate scientific support and credibility, and addresses important health issues through physical activity.
  • The use of a community development model: CHIPs is accessible, empowering and sustainable within the communities that it operates.
  • The translation of scientific evidence into practice: The programmes are evidence-based, but also allow for flexibility in their implementation, depending on the needs of communities”.

The conclusion of the study was that CHIPs presents a model of sustainable implementation of physical activity in disadvantaged communities, and that it positively impacts the quality of life, perceptions of the role of physical activity in health, and personal responsibility for health of those involved in its programmes.

With these results on hand, there was no doubt in our minds that we were making a difference in peoples’ lives and 10 years on – we are celebrating 20 years of the CHIPs programmes which include Healthnutz for kids, OptiFit Outreach for the young and middle aged and Live it Up for older adults.

The 20 year celebration theme for the 5km road show is Run your personal best race. Kuils River and Delft hosted the first 2 events and the final mass participation event will take place at the Chrysalis Academy on 18 November- with a scenic 7.2km trail walk/run being one of the highlights of the day.

The events are open to all and cost just R10 per adult and R5 per child. Seasoned CHIPs members have been afforded the opportunity to “Accumulate a Marathon” by participating in each of the races. Registration kicks off at 7h00 and the actual events starts at 8h30. Contact Juandre Davids on the e-mail jdavids@ssisa.com for further information. If you want to be able to run 5km in 6 weeks.

Kathleen Mc Quaide is a Strategic, Media and Sponsorship Manager.

Week 1: 15 min walk every session

Monday: 2 min jog/ 2 min walk repeat 6 times

Tuesday: Rest

Wednesday: 2 min jog/ 2 min walk repeat 6 times

Thursday: Rest

Friday: 3 min jog/ 2 min walk repeat 5 times

Saturday: Rest

Sunday: brisk 20 min walk

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