How can we maximize the impact of custom education in global health?

Image for How can we maximize the impact of custom education in global health?

The short answer lies in the term custom! We need to customise capacity building to meet the needs, priorities and existing competencies of the learners and stakeholders we collaborate with. Customised learning is best achieved through partnerships where learners, governments, donors and communities all have a stake in developing learning goals from the initial design stage.

Sustained engagement is essential for ensuring that learning content and methods are appropriate for local contexts and resource levels. Positioning learners as experts on their own profession and culture is a necessary starting point for fostering the decolonisation of global health education and practice. Also central to the goals of decolonisation and maximising impact is working towards the long term  goals of creating and strengthening communities of practice via custom education.

Learners are most able to implement new skills and knowledge and to foster change when they are part of a community of peers working to achieve shared goals.

Offering ongoing professional development to multiple cohorts of learners builds up and fortifies communities of practice. This approach allows natural leaders to emerge and facilitates the transfer of responsibility for capacity building to initial learners, who then become trainers, master trainers and mentors for subsequent cohorts.

Over time, custom education should seek to support local communities of practice, that expand to become national and regional communities, and eventually join global communities of practice. A custom education approach to capacity building should ultimately seek to promote the plurality of voices that contribute to the constantly evolving dialogue on global health priorities and the pursuit of health equity.

Professor Linda Rae Bennett,  is a medical anthropologist who focuses on reproductive and sexual health and rights, gender based violence, and gendered health inequities. She is passionately committed to capacity building both in Australia and abroad.

More Information

Professor Linda Rae Bennett

  • capacity building
  • custom education
  • ofessional development communities of practice