Case Studies

This section contains case studies of community programs primarily from across North America. It includes a broad sampling of programs to offer a wide variety of approaches and tools used, locations, types of organizations and participants, activities being promoted and problems being addressed. Most of these case studies illustrate approaches that have worked. However, examples of potential pitfalls are also included to provide you with a realistic map of the terrain ahead.

We are actively looking for new case studies with measured impact results. Do you know of any that might make good additions to this site? Please let us know.

All the Case Studies and examples are described in the past tense, including programs that are still operating. If the program is still operating, the Case Study summary is written in the present tense.

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Landmark Case Study Get Energized, Iowa!  Environment

Get Energized, Iowa! is a highly replicable community-based program that encouraged rural Iowa communities to compete against one another to achieve high gas and electricity savings, based on actual usage. 

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Landmark Case Study King County In Motion  EnvironmentHealth

In Motion participants pledge to shift two drive-alone trips per week to transit, ridesharing, biking or walking. The program uses motivational interviewing, commitments, rewards, engaging materials and norm appeals tailored to each target community. It has been called into action during or in anticipation of major construction, transit restructures or new transit service such as light rail or bus rapid transit. Since creating In Motion in 2004, King County Metro Transit has applied a growing toolkit of community-based social marketing techniques to persuade about 23,000 Seattle-area travelers to drive less. Designated a Landmark case study in 2015.

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Growing Healthy Kids  EnvironmentHealth

This well-documented obesity prevention program pilot for low-income families in Carrboro NC (USA) featured three main components. Weekly work sessions in a community garden provided gardening instruction and practice opportunities and a familiarity with the vegetables. A seven-week workshop series covered cooking and nutrition. Social activities and events built and maintained interest in the garden and fostered interaction between garden members. By the end of their participation in the program, 17% (n=6, p<0.004) of obese or overweight children had improved their BMI classification and 100% of the children with a BMI classification of normal had maintained that BMI classification.

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SCIP Mozambique  Health

From 2009 to 2015, Pathfinder International and its partners implemented the USAID-funded Strengthening Communities through Integrated Programming (SCIP) project in Nampula province, Mozambique. As part of SCIP’s overarching mandate to improve quality of life at the household and community levels, the project worked to increase access to contraceptive services by strengthening and better integrating health and community systems. There was a 400% increase in couple years of protection that occurred across all contraceptive methods included in the Mozambican method mix, suggesting improved method choice and minimized health provider bias.

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Cool California City Challenge  Environment

The Cool California Challenge is a state-wide competition between California cities engaging their residents in climate action. Participants earn points for tracking and reducing their electricity, natural gas and motor vehicle emissions and for simple one-time actions, like uploading photos and stories, inviting friends or taking a survey. Results from a quasi-experimental design suggest a 14% reduction in electricity use among program participants.

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