STAGE 7. Defining the sustainability and dissemination plan

What steps should be completed?

STEP 1: Planning sustainability

Planning the sustainability of an intervention depends on your evaluation. When conclusions on the process and, if possible, results of the intervention are available, then continuity can be assessed. The two key questions are:

  • Does the evaluation indicate that the intervention should continue?
  • And if so, under what conditions?

The answer to these questions will help us to analyse the desirability of the intervention continuing, and then consider the resources necessary for the intervention to be sustainable.

The sustainability of an intervention will be greater the closer it is to national, regional or local objectives or strategies in the area of drug demand reduction (e.g., national plans) and the more synergies it establishes with other actors and interventions that are being developed in the region.

An intervention should continue if the outcome evaluation shows that it is effective. Conversely, it should be abandoned if the evaluation shows that it does not cause changes or that it has a counterproductive effect on the population. These conclusions cannot be reached unless the results of the intervention have been evaluated but, in the absence of this evaluation, the information extracted from the process evaluation can also give us clues to predict the continuity of an intervention. Evaluation of the elements of intervention sustainability is based on analysis of the reasons to continue or to abandon it. +

Evaluation of the desirability of the intervention continuing can be positive or negative, so it is advisable to document the reasons to continue the intervention and to abandon it. It may also not be possible for the intervention to continue immediately, but it may be likely (or at least feasible) that it is implemented again in the future. When this happens, it is usually because efforts should focus on creating the necessary conditions and seeking the resources to ensure sustainability. In these cases, it is better to devote some time to achieving this viable scenario, and subsequently to resume the intervention. This will offer greater guarantees of durability.

Once a judgement on the desirability of the intervention continuing has been arrived at, and if it is positive, the conditions and resources that will be needed for it to continue should be estimated. +