Issue addressed: Partnerships were used to increase healthy eating and active living in children for the Obesity Prevention and Lifestyle (OPAL) program, a systems-wide, community-based childhood obesity prevention program in South Australia. This part of the multi-component evaluation examines stakeholders' perceptions of how OPAL staff worked in partnership and factors contributing to strong partnerships. Methods: Pre- and post-interviews and focus groups with multi-sector stakeholders (n = 131) across six OPAL communities were analysed using NVivo8 qualitative data analysis software. Results: Stakeholders reflected positively on projects developed in partnership with OPAL, reporting that staff worked to establish co-benefits. They identified several factors that contributed to the strengthening of partnerships: staff skills, visibility, resources and sustainability. Conclusions: Rather than implementing projects with stakeholders with shared organisational goals, local shared projects were implemented that included a breadth of co-benefits, allowing multi-sector stakeholders to meet their own organisational goals. Practitioners who have the capacity to be flexible, persistent, knowledgeable and skilled communicators are required to negotiate projects, achieving benefit for both health and stakeholders' organisational goals. So what? Engaging in partnership practice to broker co-benefits at the micro or program level has been an effective model for community engagement and change in OPAL. It foregrounds the need for the inclusion of value to partners, which differs from situations in which organisations come together around common goals.
- Childhood obesity prevention
- Community development