Small Successes Make Big Wins: A Retrospective Case Study towards Community Engagement of Low-SES Families

Lotte Prevo*, Stef Kremers, Maria Jansen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


In health-promoting interventions, a main difficulty is that low socioeconomic status (SES) groups especially seem to experience barriers to participation. To overcome this barrier, the current study focused on the success factors and obstacles in the process of supporting low-SES families in becoming partners, while carrying out small-scale activities based on their needs. A retrospective case study design was used to construct a timeline of activities organized by and together with low-SES families based on mainly qualitative data. Next, key events were grouped into the four attributes of the resilience activation framework: human, social, political, and economic capital. The following key lessons were defined: professionals should let go of work routines and accommodate the talents of the families, start doing, strive for small successes; create a functional social network surrounding the families, maintaining professional support over time as back-up; and create collaborative governance to build upon accessibility, transparency and trust among the low-SES families. Continuous and flexible 'navigating the middle' between bottom-up and top-down approaches was seen as vital in the partnership process between low-SES families and local professional partners. Constant feedback loops made the evaluation points clear, which supported both families and professionals to enhance their partnership.

Original languageEnglish
Article number612
Number of pages13
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • community engagement
  • low-SES families
  • self-resilience
  • health promotion participation

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