Participatory Action Research for Positive Change

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Location InfoSouth Africa


The Healthy Teeth Challenge

In South Africa there are few dentists in the townships. Dental health is found to be poor in these areas, with a large number of children experiencing toothache and consequently not going to school. The Healthy Teeth Challenge was set up in order to address this issue and find solutions together with inhabitants of Mfuleni Township and other stakeholders.

The Healthy Teeth Challenge won the UVA alumni Award 2017 for this project. Also, the Healthy Teeth Challenge inspired Alice Grasveld to set up the Healthy Teeth Foundation, focusing on Participatory Action Research on oral health and education. See for example her latest project in Kenya: “A Community-based Tooth-decay prevention Project“.

Challenge details

The 7Senses Challenge is an intensive 12-week program for students, post-graduates and professionals. In a multi-disciplinary, international team they perform Participatory Action Research in the field to boost community empowerment while at the same time work on their own personal and professional development.

Challenge name Healthy Teeth Challenge
Start date March 9th 2017
Status Finished
Duration 9 weeks
Country South Africa
Coordinator Alice Grasveld
Number of participants 4
Number of local researchers 2

Each Challenge design starts from a community issue, addressed by its problem owners at location. As such, we make sure the Challenge is based on local demand rather than donor demand. Together with these local stakeholders, we design the Challenge in a way that fits the local context, from the problem framing up to methodology and concept definitions.

Problem Definition
Main Research Question
Sub Questions

Each Challenge delivers direct outcomes for the local community on the addressed issue: we can share how many people have been reached, what their perspective is on the current and desired situation and what final Community Action Plan (CAP) they have co-created and implemented. In a later stage, local stakeholders will evaluate the impact of the CAP.

Number of beneficiaries reached?
Current situation (baseline) according to local stakeholders
Desired situation according to local stakeholders
Co-created solution

The impact of this Challenge has not been measured yet. Currently, Challenge Coordinator Alice Grasveld is back in Cape Town to measure impact with other local stakeholders. As soon as we have results of the impact measurement, it will be presented here.



Alice Grasveld

Coordinator & Action Reseacher
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Feray Coban

Action Researcher
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Amber-Lynn Bagchus

Action Researcher
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Fleur Rudolphus

Action Researcher
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Sao Ying Lai

Action Researcher
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Mavis Phahlindlela

Action Researcher
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Dieketso Nobonke Mphelisi

Action Researcher
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Sustainable Development Goals

Challenge Reports

Each Challenge delivers one or more reports. Read here all detailed information on the PAR methodology and outcomes of this Challenge.