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Step 7: Sustaining the momentum

In the months following these structured activities all  those involved in the Dialogue need to keep the community’s change process alive.

Step 7:  Sustaining the momentum

What’s the aim?

To keep the change process alive in the community.

What is this step about? 

The final step of the Generation Dialogue is about nurturing the ‘spark’ of change which has emerged through the Dialogue process and ensuring that it takes root within the community. 

Just as a small flame will die down if the conditions for it to burn are missing, the Dialogue process also requires continued inputs to grow and flourish. These inputs can take different forms, from face-to-face conversations among friends, neighbours and relatives, to social media postings, follow-on projects and additional community meetings.

What do you need to do?

The following are actions you can take after the Public Meeting to grow and sustain dialogue in the community:

  • Debrief the Public Meeting. The facilitators should bring the male and female Dialogue participants back together for the fifth and final Dialogue session, again in single-sex groups. Begin the session by reviewing what happened at the Public Meeting. What went well and what could have gone better? How did the community leaders respond to the pledges and special requests? What was surprising?
  • Plan the next steps to keep the Dialogue process alive. Together with the male and female Dialogue participants think about the steps you can take to sustain the Dialogue. You could consider supporting a series of Mini-Dialogues (face-to-face conversations between Dialogue participants and family members, neighbours and other members of the community), promoting the Dialogue through the media or via social media, making presentations to community groups, or designing follow-on projects to address ideas which emerged during the Dialogue.
  • Meet every month with the Dialogue participants. The male and female facilitators should hold a supervision meeting once per month with the male and female Dialogue participants respectively. These meetings provide an opportunity for the Dialogue participants to report back on activities, share highlights and discuss challenges. 
  • Convene the second Public Meeting. To hold community leaders and community partners accountable for the requests put to them in the first Public Meeting, hold a second Public Meeting approximately 2 to 3 months after the first. Community leaders and partners should be invited to publicly report on how they have responded to the requests which were put to them; Dialogue participants should speak about their activities during the follow-on period and on the changes and positive developments they’ve witnessed in the community.
  • Hold follow-up Community Consultations. Just as you did during Step 2, hold a series of Community Consultations with groups of younger and older men and women. The objective of these sessions is to find out whether and how the Generation Dialogue has influenced the beliefs, attitudes and practices of the different community members. 

What resources can you use?

This document describes how to organise supervision meetings with Dialogue participants during the follow-up period and what to cover during those meetings.

When planning the second Public Meeting and the follow-up Community Consultations, you can refer to the respective guidance notes from the previous steps.

How do you monitor this step?

Take notes on the fifth Dialogue session just as you did with the first four. Document the second Public Meeting, paying particular attention to actions which have been taken by community leaders and partners in response to the requests put to them at the first Public Meeting.

Outside researchers should be contracted to document and analyse the follow-up Community Consultations, just as they did in the initial Community Consultations. In their report the researchers should highlight how the Generation Dialogue has influenced intergenerational relationships and communication on the Dialogue topic, and how it has influenced practices in the community. This document provides guidance on the preparation of the analysis and report.

How do you know you’re finished with the Generation Dialogue cycle?

Actions to spread and sustain the Dialogue have been undertaken in the community. A second Public Meeting has been held and community leaders and partners have reported back publicly on the requests put to them. A series of follow-up Community Consultations have taken place, and the Dialogue team has used these to assess whether and how practices have shifted in the community as a result of the Generation Dialogue.

Dos & don’ts 

✅ DO be creative when planning activities to keep the Dialogue spirit alive in the community. Dialogue participants often come up with good ideas how this could be done. ❌ DON’T invite participants from the Dialogue sessions to be part of the follow-on Community Consultations. They are ‘too close’ to the Dialogue to be able to reflect upon its effects objectively.
✅ DO ensure that the community leaders and community partners who were present at the first Public Meeting attend the second one as well.
✅ DO work with the same outside researchers for the follow-up Community Consultations. The analysis of changes brought about by the Generation Dialogue will be more sound if they are prepared by the same individuals.

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