Empowerment Process Model for Implementing Participatory Strategies: Testing a Model That Describes the Context of Food and Nutrition Problems of Dominican Women
Stadler, Kathleen M.
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In this participatory action research study, an Empowerment Process Model (EPM) was tested for the development of feasible action plans that addressed the priority concerns and the implicit food and nutrition problems of village families within their current socio-economic and political context. The Visual Verification Survey (VVS) was used to test the EPM results and its usefulness with similar participants. An EPM with 24 village women and a VVS with 68 village women were purposefully sampled in two locations in Dominica, West Indies, along with key informant interviews with eleven agency leaders to identify, prioritize, and describe their perceptions of villagers' life problems, the root causes of the problems, and solutions. This community-based approach used participatory non-written activities and locally developed visual aids to empower Dominican women to develop feasible action plans: a sewing workshop, how to start a business workshop, coffee house project, and women's group. Thematic content analysis and participatory activities were used to identify the themes and "give voice" to the participants' perceptions of top prioritized life problems: unemployment and economic issues, alcohol and drug abuse, lack of educational services, and teenage pregnancy. When specifically asked, the women identified basic health, food, and nutrition concerns, such as a steady income to buy food, a variety of foods to maintain health, and an accessible, clean water supply. The study revealed substantial differences in the rankings between the EPM and VVS women. The differences may have been influenced by the women's educational level, family situation, and previous involvement in community activities and leadership roles. Similar top prioritized root causes associated with many life problems by the women included lack of educational services, facilities and qualified teachers; and girls exchanging sexual favors for money or possessions. Overall, key informants and the Dominican women participants had similar perceptions of prioritized life problems of typical Dominican families. The results of the research demonstrated the need for site-specific programs and assessments using participatory non-written activities to engage a variety of women and to satisfy their diverse needs and locations. To become effective and sustainable, nutrition programming should be integrated into overall life problems.
- Doctoral Dissertations