ONA and Mapping: Using Network Analysis in the Creation of Referral Networks
In many communities, the range of economic and health services remain unknown to, or under-utilized by, the community. Existing service delivery networks represent a complex web of local, national and international partners that often lack efficient referral processes for clients. Additionally, these service providers lack the ability to identify redundancies, communicate clearly between organizations, or coordinate and track the movement of clients from one organization to another. Conducting an organizational network analysis (ONA) or service mapping is an initial step in addressing these challenges and creating a coherent referral network. An ONA or mapping exercise comprehensively identifies the relevant service providers operating in particular geographic and technical areas. In addition, the ONA explores and documents the existing relationships between these service providers. With LIFT’s multi-sectoral approach, this includes organizations or entities providing services in the ES/L/FS, HIV/AIDS and nutrition sectors.
LIFT used and refined the mapping and ONA approaches described in this document in order to link clinical facilities—particularly those offering Nutrition Assessment, Counseling and Support (NACS) and/or HIV-related services—with ES/L/FS programs in multi-sectoral referral networks. LIFT has created 45 referral networks across six countries in sub-Saharan Africa. Based on these experiences, this tool was developed as a practical guide for project staff, implementing partners and practitioners interested in mapping a network of potential partners, engaging in network strengthening, and/or establishing multi-sectoral referral systems in order to improve service delivery to vulnerable populations, including those affected by HIV. It is meant to lead users through the full process of successfully executing an ONA or mapping from planning and conducting the activity to sharing results back to stakeholders and developing action steps for building or strengthening network functionality.