Community capacity as means to improved health practices and an end in itself: evidence from a multi-stage study

Int Q Community Health Educ. 2012;33(2):105-27. doi: 10.2190/IQ.33.2.b.


This three-phase study characterized, validated, and applied community capacity domains in a health communication project evaluation in Zambia. Phase I explored community capacity domains from community members' perspectives (16 focus groups, 14 in-depth interviews, 4 sites. These were validated in Phase II with 720 randomly selected adults. The validated domains were incorporated into a program evaluation survey (2,462 adult women, 2,354 adult men; October 2009). The results indicated that the intervention had direct effects on community capacity; enhanced capacity was then associated with having taken community action for health. Finally, community capacity mediated by community action and controlling for confounders, had a significant effect on women's contraceptive use, children's bed net use, and HIV testing. The results indicate that building community capacity served as a means to an end-improved health behaviors and reported collective action for health-and an end-in-itself, both of which are essential to overall wellbeing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Community Participation*
  • Contraception / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / diagnosis
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Education / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Leadership
  • Male
  • Mosquito Nets / statistics & numerical data
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Environment
  • Young Adult
  • Zambia