Using systems thinking to understand and enhance walking promotion in Ireland
Whole-of-systems approaches – involving communication and alignment between organisations working across sectors and disciplines – are increasingly prominent in public health and health promotion. Notably, The World Health Organisation’s Global Action Plan for Physical Activity (GAPPA) is a global call to action for governments to adopt whole-of-systems approaches to address physical inactivity.
Get Ireland Walking – a national walking promotion organisation in Ireland – aims to understand the ‘whole picture’ of walking promotion at local level in Ireland. Through collaboration with a research team from South East Technological University (SETU) in Waterford, Get Ireland Walking set out to use systems thinking tools to work towards a whole-of-systems approach to walking in one county in Ireland. Cork, the largest county in Ireland, was chosen as the county to test this new way of working due to the strong organisational ties Get Ireland Walking held there, including the presence of a walking promotion officer on the ground.
The initiative has recently been featured in the International Society for Physical Activity and Health (ISPAH) Community Hub, a community of practice where individuals and organisations can share experiences of creating and designing, implementing, and evaluating, physical activity promotion connected to the 8 investments in the real-world. To learn more about this exciting work, Click Here