The project Health Equity 2020 aims to support regional capacity building and capacity development to reduce health inequities. One way of achieving that is by establishing a Regional Action Group (RAG) and jointly developing action plans.
Establishing a Regional Action Group is already capacity-building and development in itself; however, when preparing the setup of the RAG some of the major questions that arise are:
- Which capacities for reducing health inequities are already in place – which assets do members of the RAG already have, where are gaps?
- What could be done to develop capacities of the members still further?
- How to develop co-operation and partnership between the members of the RAG as an important element of capacity building and development?
- Asset-based approaches are important for reducing health inequities. “They focus on the positive capacities of individuals and communities rather than solely on their needs, deficits and problems”(McLean, 2011). According to Morgan & Ziglio, 2007, “a health asset is any factor or resource which enhances the ability of individuals, communities and populations to maintain and sustain health and wellbeing and to help to reduce health inequalities.
- These assets can operate at the level of the individual, family or community and population as protective and promoting factors to buffer against life’s stresses.” For (McLean, 2011), the different levels of health assets would address a) the individual level (resilience, self-esteem and sense of purpose, commitment to learning), b) the community-level (family and friendship or supportive networks, intergenerational solidarity, community cohesion, religious tolerance and harmony) and c) the organizational level (environmental resources necessary for promoting physical, mental and social health, employment security and opportunity for voluntary service, religious tolerance and harmony, safe and pleasant housing, political democracy and social justice).
- Methodologies are e.g. a) Asset-Based Community Development (ABCD), asset mapping, co-production, appreciative inquiry and participatory appraisal (McLean, 2011).
- Health Equity 2020 is not only looking at health assets, but also and mainly at assets for capacity development and building to address health inequities in cross-sector settings. Assets of interest are therefore any factors or resources which enable the improvement of the ability of individuals, communities and populations to develop and build capacities for the reduction of health inequalities, in addition to others in the field of cross-sector communication and co-operation.