Empowering Communities for Health Improvement 

Community organisations and networks have a unique ability to interact with affected communities. They can react quickly to community needs and issues, provide direct services and engage with key affected and vulnerable groups. Community System Strengthening (CSS) is an approach that supports community-led and community-based responses for resilient and sustainable systems for health (RSSH).  

The goal of CSS is to develop the roles of affected key populations and community-based organisations and networks, and public- or private sector actors working in partnership with civil society at the community level in the design, delivery, monitoring and evaluation of services and activities aimed at improving health. 

Beyond Zero implements the CSS programme in the Eastern Cape, Free State, and Limpopo. The framework is guided by the belief that communities play an important role in improving health. 

    Ways in which communities contribute to improving health 
    • Managing and Delivering Services: Overseeing both facility-based clinical services and non-facility-based health services, including peer education, awareness-raising, community-based treatment, care and support, and other social services. 
    • Supporting Marginalised Communities: Assisting individuals facing marginalisation or discrimination in accessing healthcare services. 
    • Mobilising for Social Improvement: Rallying marginalised populations for enhanced social conditions and improved access to quality services. 
    • Addressing Social Determinants: Tackling broader social determinants of health, including gender inequalities, human rights violations, and associated barriers. 
    • Advocacy for Policy Frameworks: Advocating for appropriate policy and legislative frameworks, governance, oversight, and accountability. 
    • Monitoring and Advocacy: Monitoring services and programs while advocating for better protection of human rights and improved access to quality healthcare. 

    CSS Model-Core Services: 

    • Social mobilisation and coordination. 
    • Capacity building. 
    • Community-led monitoring, advocacy, and research.