NUFS 377 – Community Needs Assessment
Goal: What are the principles of program planning and the community
Remember, the CNA tells a story. The current conditions of the
individuals, families and the communities will relate to the community’s
capacity for health and nutrition needs. We then have to build up the
community support for implementing change to improve the health and
quality of life.
What are key components and elements for planning nutrition programs in
• Solid informational base on the health needs of the community
• Involvement of community members (remember I am not the target
audience so I am not the expert)
• A set of priorities and an action plan to address community health
• A plan for monitoring and evaluation performance
Program planning as a whole is a very systematic approach. With
constant feedback and evaluation things are always changing and that
means so is our understanding. The very first thing we want to do is assess
the current situation, this is the whole point of the community needs
assessment (CNA) because if we don’t know where we are starting it is hard
to tell where we are going. Might also be helpful to look at why this program
is being developed, was it mandated, a result of research, requested by the
community or a government policy?
Community needs assessment: a dynamic, ongoing process to identify the
strengths and needs of a community (weaknesses) in order to find a collaborative action plan directed at improving the community health status
and quality of life.
Why Conduct A CNA?
Community needs assessments can:
• Give us an overview of information both related and unrelated to
• They can help guide policy and program development
• Help provide insight into things such as the pathway/cause of diseases
• Provide population based and health status information ex. BMI
charts, disease prevention opportunities & health protection
Overall, a CNA sets priorities in order to address the most pressing needs of
the community 1 . st
How Do You Prepare for A Needs Assessment?
• Research your region
• Be realistic
• Distinguish needs and wants in terms of outcomes
• Ensure proper resources