Background Information

The connected communities approach – what is it and why it matters.

Wellbeing Waterloo Region is a community-led initiative working together across sectors to improve wellbeing. We are asking for community input on the vision, priorities, and actions to better wellbeing in Waterloo Region and to inform a wellbeing plan by October 2017.

Community wellbeing is shaped by a wide variety of conditions and systems in which individuals and communities are born, grow, work, live, and age.

Waterloo Region is a community that has a number of partnerships which have made significant progress towards dealing with complex issues of community wellness.

Over the past several years there have been many conversations that have identified some urgency to collaborate across these partnerships to further advance a more integrated, holistic approach to community wellbeing to create solutions with significant impact.

Through Wellbeing Waterloo Region, the community will work together to identify and address collective priorities that will improve community wellness so that everyone in our community is able to thrive.

There will be several ways to become involved in the conversations about our community’s wellness.

View the current draft logic model for Wellbeing Waterloo Region. Our initiative is still in development and will continue to change and grow as we work together moving forward.

To find out more read our story to date — Backgrounder – our journey to date

Discovery Meetings

Discovery meetings with current collaboratives, area municipalities, and other community stakeholders involved in wellbeing in Waterloo Region took place from July – September 2016.  The purpose of the meetings was to create awareness about Wellbeing Waterloo Region (formally the Community Wellness Initiative) and gather feedback to inform the overall process and structure.  To review a summary of the feedback collected to-date, read the Summary of discovery meetings (in PDF).

Social Determinants of Health

A common idea that was identified by numerous stakeholders was to adopt a broad framework to anchor this work. The Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) were seen as the appropriate framework to use as they define the multi-dimensional factors that connect and interact to impact community wellbeing. The SDOH are the living conditions that surround us. They control our health in ways that not even the best health care systems or healthy choices can. They are bigger than our genetics and often affect a large group of people. We need to work together as a community to recognize, address and solve them in order to improve community wellbeing.

A video explaining Social determinants of health


Collective Impact

A Collective Impact approach to develop the Wellbeing Waterloo Region initiative as it meets some of the needs from the discussions over the past several years and aligns well with the community discussions conducted to-date.

Collective Impact provides a structured approach to work on complex issues and achieve significant and lasting social change by multiple sectors coming together on a common agenda, shared measurement, and alignment of effort. The approach is premised on the belief that no single policy, government department, organization or program can tackle or solve the increasingly complex social problems we face as a society.

Consistent and open communication and building trust amongst the stakeholders is integral throughout the process. John Kania & Mark Kramer identified five key conditions for a successful Collective Impact approach which have been incorporated into the draft approach and process in the subsequent sections.

Watch the video on Collective Impact from FSG website.

The following graphic shows the conditions of collective impact: