Beneficiary and Local Stakeholder Participation in Nutrition Interventions: A Narrative Review

Elsevier, Current Developments in Nutrition, Volume 6, Issue 9, September 2022, nzac131
Rebecca C Robert, Brittany L Feijoo

Beneficiary and local stakeholder participation is an essential element to the success of community-based nutrition interventions. We sought to define active participation and review the available evidence on beneficiary and local stakeholder participation in community-based nutrition interventions in Africa. From reviewing the literature, we provide a reflective assessment on the process and findings. Participation falls on a continuum of community involvement from passive (no real involvement) to empowerment and community ownership (full active involvement). However, we found a clear gap in the research on defining active participation and identifying what constitutes active participation on behalf of beneficiaries and local stakeholders. However, progress was found; evidence included the use of participatory methods to engage beneficiaries and local stakeholders in the assessment and design phase. Beneficiary and local stakeholder participation in delivering interventions has moved forward with quantitative measures from process evaluation and implementation science. Research has started on the extent of beneficiary engagement (as recipients) and connecting this to outcomes. Evaluation has benefited from qualitative inquiry with insights from participants on engagement itself, and the barriers and facilitators to engagement. Yet questions remain in each study phase around defining and quantifying active participation and in understanding the personal, social, and motivational elements of active participation. We offer a simple framework to stimulate thought and commitment to research on participation in community-based nutrition interventions.