Facilitating change processes in group-based behaviour change interventions in rural African contexts: practical lessons from Ghana

Richard Appiah*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debatepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)
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Evidence from implementation research suggests that group-based behaviour change interventions (GBCIs) can encourage the development of peer support, promote psychosocial skills, and facilitate collaborative therapeutic relationships. However, although the mechanisms of action that mediate the behaviour change process have been extensively described in other settings, less is known about the implementation strategies and contextual factors that actuate the reported behaviour changes among programme participants in Ghana and sub-Saharan Africa, more generally. We draw on insights from the literature and field experiences from designing, implementing, and evaluating GBCIs across several rural and peri-urban communities in Ghana to discuss a range of theoretical, methodological, and contextual factors that facilitate the behaviour change process in programme participants. We offer suggestions to guide researchers to envision and manage potential challenges with the programme development and implementation processes. We propose that intervention programmes designed to facilitate health behaviour change in the defined context should (i) have a context-relevant focus, (ii) be coherent and well-structured, (iii) have explicit techniques to facilitate inter-personal and intra-personal change processes, (iv) include appropriate mechanisms to monitor and assess the progress of the interventional sessions; and (v) be implemented by trained facilitators with a deep knowledge of the sociocultural values and norms of the target group and of the principles and theories underlying the intervention programme. We envisage that these insights could serve to guide the design, implementation, and evaluation of contextually-tailored and potentially effective GBCIs that align with the needs, capacities, and circumstances of the local population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3
Number of pages9
JournalInternational Journal of Mental Health Systems
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 6 Feb 2023
Externally publishedYes

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