Peer-led responses have always responded to change in communities. COVID-19 has shown how quickly peer-led organisations adapt to meet the emerging needs of those in their communities who are most impacted or marginalised.

However, health funding has been re-prioritised in the wake of COVID-19. Resources for peer-led programs are becoming more restricted.

Perhaps more than ever, we need to build evidence for the critical role of community and peer-led organisations in any pandemic.

W3 Project workshop at Thorne Harbour Health (2015)

The W3 Project has always been about supporting peer-led organisations to build this evidence.

In Stage 1, we partnered with community and peer-led organisations around Australia. The outcome of this work was the development of the W3 Framework — a monitoring, evaluation, and learning framework specific to peer-led work.

In Stage 2, we trialled the W3 Framework with peer programs working with people living with HIV (PLHIV) and people who use drugs (PWUD). Peer workers found that using the W3 Framework helped them to:

  • collect more meaningful data,
  • increase motivation for evaluation, and
  • show the unique impact of peer-led programs.
W3 Project workshop at Scarlet Alliance – Australian Sex Worker Alliance (2015)

Now, we are pleased to announce Stage 3 of the W3 Project.

We are continuing our collaborative approach by once again partnering with peer-led organisations across Australia. Initially, we will be working with peer-led PLHIV and PWUD programs.

In Stage 3, we will investigate how peer-led responses achieve the four W3 Functions (engagement, alignment, adaptation, and influence) in their work. By pooling resources and data, we will build the first nationally consolidated evidence base on the implementation and impact of peer-led programs.

We aim to:

  • consolidate evidence from multiple organisations to show the role and impact of peer-led responses;
  • compare peer-led-program models in different organisational, geographic, and policy contexts;
  • identify useful and practical indicators of effectiveness for peer-led programs; and
  • provide guidance for funding, managing, and evaluating peer-led responses.

We believe a stronger evidence base will support peer-led responses to:

  • enhance the implementation and impact of their programs,
  • describe and demonstrate their full impact and value,
  • advocate for targeted investment and scale-up of peer-led programs with priority populations, and
  • adapt quickly and confidently to rapid changes.

If you would like to know more about this exciting new stage of the W3 Project, get in touch!

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