How do we know what the target group needs?
A need describes that which the target group requires to improve its health status or its opportunities for good health.
Target group needs can be assessed in a variety of ways. In Participatory Quality Development, need is not only determined by external experts, but also by project personnel and the target group. The needs of the target group are best captured when distinct perspectives and knowledge bases (of project personnel, target group, funding body, academic research and relevant other stakeholders) are brought together.
Several information sources are therefore tapped into for a Needs Assessment. If important data are missing (e.g. the local perspective of the target group), they can be collected using participatory methods.
When the needs of the target group are determined, interventions can be appropriately planned and argued for (e.g. in funding applications). Target-group-oriented work in health promotion and prevention is a good foundation for putting participation into practice in Needs Assessments as well.