The research project VERBUND (Scaling-Up and Cooperative Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion) builds on experiences of the implementation of the National Recommendations for Physical Activity and Physical Activity Promotion within the project KOMBINE (Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion for the Implementation of the National Recommendations).
VERBUND aims at developing a scaling-up approach to sustainably embed structures for health and physical activity promotion throughout Germany. The primary focus is on investigating the best fit between resources and benefits for community-based physical activity-related health promotion as well as on reaching people with social disadvantages.
As part of VERBUND, 12 model communities are involved in the process of scaling-up and cooperative implementation of community-based physical activity-related health promotion.
Key elements are nationwide networking and the exchange of experiences between communities and stakeholders at federal and state level, as well as scientific consultation and support during the process to establish health-enhancing structures in Germany.
Phase I (time frame: 9 month)
Development of a practice- and science-based as well as needs-orientated approach to scale-up and cooperatively implement community-based physical activity-related health promotion, which includes the assessment of scientific evidence and the organization of workshops with local and national stakeholders.
Phase II (time frame: 24 month)
Testing and evaluation of the scaling-up and cooperative implementation approach in 12 model communities with different structural characteristics (e.g. geographical location, type of community, regional deprivation). Furthermore, another workshop will be organized as an opportunity to exchange experiences of the cooperative implementation approach between stakeholders from local, federal, and state level.
Phase III (time frame: 9 month)
Development of a manual for the tested scaling-up and cooperative implementation approach which will also include concepts and curricula for different training formats.
„Workshop on the Practice of Cooperative Planning”
Report of the VERBUND workshop on May 30th and 31st, 2022
Cooperative planning in communities is an essential part of the VERBUND project (Scaling-Up and Cooperative Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion) and was the topic of a two-day workshop at the health department in Frankfurt am Main. The aim of VERBUND is to establish community-based structures for physical activity-related health promotion. In total, eight of nine VERBUND model communities participated in the event.
The workshop focused on the cooperative planning process (https://kommunen-in-bewegung.de/kombine/), its moderation as well as the exchange of experiences and networking between the communities.
Zsuzsanna Majzik from matrix GmbH introduced the role and application of moderation in cooperative planning. She presented different key principals of moderation and emphasised the importance of participation in the sense of equal participation of all participants. In a subsequent World Café, the participants exchanged experiences in groups on the topics of establishing shared responsibilities within the process, methods of recording and visualising results, content-related preparation and follow-up of meetings, and power-balancing moderation.
A joint dinner concluded the day, which all participants greatly appreciated for networking.
The second day of the workshop started with an overview of the cooperative planning process and was illustrated by practical examples from model communities of the KOMBINE project (Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion for the Implementation of the National Recommendations). KOMBINE is the pilot project which VERBUND is based on.
This was followed by an interactive exchange on challenges and related solutions regarding cooperative planning. Time, human and financial resources were mentioned as challenges, as well as uncertainty in approaching and involving people in difficult life situations. The involvement of political stakeholders was seen as a particular supportive factor.
At the end of the workshop, each VERBUND community symbolically created a vision for a sustainable overall strategy of community-based physical activity-related health promotion (out of Lego bricks) using the LEGO® Serious Play® method.
“Kick-off of the VERBUND project with 12 model communities”
Report of the online kick-off workshop on June, the 29th 2021
How does community-based physical activity promotion work, and what exactly is the KOMBINE-approach? These questions and others were answered at the kick-off workshop of VERBUND (Scaling-Up and Cooperative Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion); a project that aims to improve and scale-up sustainable structures of physical activity-related health promotion in Germany.
Currently, the VERBUND project is moving into the second phase: the testing and evaluation of the scaling-up and cooperative implementation approach in 12 model communities. Four cities (Erlangen, Flensburg, Trier, and Herne), four rural districts (Vorpommern-Greifswald, Havelland, Merzig-Wadern, and Karlsruhe), as well as four metropolises (Frankfurt, Hannover, Hamburg, and Berlin) are participating in VERBUND.
By means of the kick-off workshop, the VERBUND team explained the specific project approach to all 40 participants, who were also given the opportunity to get to know each other, and to interchange experiences. In addition to representatives from the model communities, local offices of the nationwide GKV Alliance for Health took part at the workshop.
For a first insight, general information, and data on physical activity promotion with a focus on people in difficult life situations were presented to and discussed with the workshop participants. Furthermore, the VERBUND team introduced the KOMBINE-manual, which offers a step-by-step-guide for a structured and sustainable implementation of the National Recommendations for Physical Activity and Physical Activity Promotion.
In the afternoon, a focus was to explain the next steps until February 2022, and to discuss occurring questions to generate a common understanding. Moreover, four representatives of the KOMBINE pilot-project shared some valuable experiences and reported from initial stumbling blocks. From their perspectives, the active participation of political decision-makers as well as the cooperation with people in difficult life situations were especially challenging.
Subsequently, breakout sessions were conducted to meet the previously arisen need for exchange. Within small groups, the participants had the opportunity to get to know each other and to share their expectations. Furthermore, they had the chance to ask questions regarding the project, and to network with each other beyond the workshop and for the long run.
An overview of the four main support services (science-based advice and support, the KOMBINE-manual, workshops and regular training, exchange and networking) concluded the workshop, which the VERBUND team will provide to the model communities in the following year.
„Facilitators and Barriers for the Nationwide Scaling-Up of Community-Based Physical Activity-Related Health Promotion”
Report of the digital VERBUND workshop on April 21st, 2021
Facilitators and barriers for the nationwide scaling-up of community-based physical activity-related health promotion were the topic of a second workshop, which took place in a digital format as part of the VERBUND project (Scaling-Up and Cooperative Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion) on April 21st, 2021. The aim of VERBUND is to further establish structures for community-based health promotion in Germany.
Around 100 participants, who are predominantly working in nationwide health and physical activity promotion in Germany, attended the workshop. They shared ideas and impulses for the sustainable scaling up of health- and physical activity-promoting approaches in Germany.
VERBUND builds on the experiences of the KOMBINE project (Community-based Physical Activity Promotion to implement the National Recommendations), therefore an overview of both projects was presented right at the beginning of the workshop.
A central component of the workshop was a 45-minute discussion in small groups to share experiences with scaling-up of community-based health and physical activity promotion approaches. Results of this exchange were, for example, that “support by a political leader” or “concrete responsibilities” are very important for the scaling up of health promotion approaches, whereas a “lack of communication at state and federal level” was perceived as a barrier.
After the group sessions, scientific findings on scaling-up community-based physical activity and health promotion approaches were presented and discussed in a plenary session. The starting point for the discussion was the presentation of systematically identified categories of factors (e.g. promoting participation, building collaborations) that facilitate the effective scaling-up of prevention and health promotion interventions and are described in various framework models.
An outlook on the further process of the VERBUND project completed the workshop. A manual, which is based on the experiences of the six KOMBINE model communities, will be published in the middle of the year and will provide a step-by-step guide for interested communities to implement the “National Recommendations for Physical Activity and Physical Activity Promotion” in Germany.
Nationwide Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity-Related Health Promotion: “Where Do Communities Need Support and What Can They Accomplish Themselves?”
Report of the digital VERBUND workshop on March 24, 2021
For a successful scaling-up and implementation of community-based physical activity-related health promotion, it is important to know and to consider the needs of communities. Therefore, a first workshop in digital format took place on March 24, 2021, to launch the VERBUND project (Scaling-Up and Cooperative Implementation of Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion). In total, more than 160 interested stakeholders from over 90 German municipalities joined the workshop.
VERBUND builds on experiences of the pilot project KOMBINE (Community-Based Physical Activity Promotion to Implement the National Recommendations), which has been testing the implementation of the National Recommendations for Physical Activity and Physical Activity Promotion since 2019. Therefore, the workshop started with an overview of the goals and approaches of KOMBINE, and the workshop participants had the opportunity to ask questions and to make comments on the KOMBINE background. Subsequently, the partners of the six KOMBINE model communities (three rural districts: Bad Kissingen, Schmalkalden-Meiningen, Segeberg; two large cities: Marburg, Solingen and one metropolis: Stuttgart) presented their current project experiences. After the model communities introduced themselves, the workshop participants got to know each other in a short networking activity.
A following interactive group work – with a focus on where communities need support for a successful and sustainable implementation of complex approaches for physical activity-related health promotion – facilitated a deeper exchange of experiences. As introduction, the KOMBINE model communities reported from their perspective what support communities need and what they can do themselves to implement community-based physical activity-related health promotion. The participants were then assigned to moderated small groups according to their respective type of municipality (rural district, city, metropolis). Within the groups, both needs for external support (e.g. external moderation of cooperative meetings) and subjects for which the communities perceive no need for external support (e.g. acquisition of project partners on site) were discussed and written down.
Finally, the workshop was rounded off with an update on the VERBUND project. Until the end of February 2021, communities had the opportunity to submit a letter of intent for the participation in VERBUND. In mid-April 2021, the VERBUND team informed the selected model communities.
Website: Kommunen in Bewegung
Organisation & Staff
Project duration: 2020-2023
Principal investigators: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Alfred Rütten, Prof. Dr. Klaus Pfeifer
Project coordinator: Dr. Jana Semrau
Project staff: Leonie Birkholz, Lea Dippon, Natalie Helsper, Simone Kohler, Dr. Jana Semrau, Philipp Weber
Funding: The project VERBUND is sponsored by the Federal Centre of Health Education (BZgA) on behalf of and with funds from the statutory health insurances in accordance with Para. 20a. SGB V (German Social Security Code) within des GKV Alliance for Health (www.gkv-buendnis.de).