The Learning journey is an approach adopted by the Collective Service which considers the entire community engagement emergency response ecosystem needed in order to effectively move from data to action – e.g. this approach first begins with understanding the situation by analyzing the context; mapping systems, services and partners; and coordinating with existing (national) platforms.
A core component of ‘Understanding the Situation’, the first step in the Data to Action learning journey - is a context analysis which provides health and humanitarian responders in-depth understanding of the socio-cultural, political, economic and geographic factors that give rise to crisis and will either hamper or enable their response; focuses on answering ‘why and how’ questions to understand systemic or complex factors impacting the current situation; aims to have an impact on the design and planning of programmes; needs to be embedded and occur more than once; and engages (ideally) multiple stakeholders in a process of joint analysis. Can involve both secondary and primary data collection.
The second step in the Data to Action learning journey - is a systematic process that provides rapid information about social needs or issues within a place or population group to determine which issues should be prioritised for action; focuses on the ‘what and where’ types of questions to understand the current situation; and tells what the current situation is (i.e. the effects of the problem from the perspective of those most affected). During an emergency response, a rapid needs assessment guides what more in-depth studies or information is needed for next steps in the Data to Action learning journey. Can involve both secondary and primary data collection.
The third step in the Data to Action learning journey - involves having knowledge of the structures, systems and actors that can support communication and community engagement efforts during and after an emergency; organises relevant responders in a way that ensures activities, information and operations are delivered more efficiently across the affected area(s); allows governments to quickly mobilize stakeholders; favors information sharing; harmonizes messages and actions; capitalises on existing structures to minimize the duplication of efforts and support sustainability; and prioritises capacity-building for community actors and support for local resilience mechanisms.
The fourth step in the Data to Action learning journey and the culmination of steps 1-3 - is about executing a health or humanitarian intervention using available evidence (contextual, needs) and through collaborative planning, and assessing the results of actions taken. Monitoring provides an evidence base for making decisions about what actions should/should not be taken, are most effective or impactful, and/or what additional data is needed to fill information gaps. For the purposes of this toolbox, ‘implementation’ and ‘monitoring’ tools and resources refer to existing sources that can assist a social scientist with collecting community-centred data, and monitoring the effectiveness of community engagement activities based on this data. Typically involves primary data collection (quantitative, qualitative) and findings should be triangulated with other contemporarily available information.
The fifth step in the Data to Action learning journey - contains key insights from prior conducted studies and resources from previous emergency response efforts. Evaluation is the systematic collection, analysis, and interpretation of data for the purpose of determining the value of and decision-making about a program or policy. It looks at what we have set out to do, what we have accomplished, and how we accomplished it. Learning is the use of data and insights from a variety of information-gathering approaches (e.g. from steps 1-4 of the learning journey) to inform strategy and decision-making.