270840 Building Capacity for Paraguayan Women Development: Community Commission Based Organizational Empowerment to be Recognized and Sustained

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Helen Young, Master of Public Health (c) , Global Health, Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA
Isaac Koh, MPH (c) , Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Eddy Jara, DrPH , Department of Global Health, Loma Linda University School of Public Health, Loma Linda, CA
Women often play major roles in rural community health and development. However, a better understanding of how increased recognition of female-led organizations contributes to rural community health and development advancement is needed. This case study presents a group of females in Costa Jhu-, Quiindy, Paraguay that redefined their community leadership roles when acting together.

A Peace Corps volunteer conducted a community census (n=120 families), key informant interviews (n=80), and focus groups (n=3). Data from these qualitative methods identified female community leaders and community needs and assets. Subsequently, data was informally presented to all female community members and thereafter, a women's commission was formed and commission municipal recognition was sought. Upon municipal recognition, the Peace Corps volunteer taught commission members how to prioritize community needs and design appropriate, feasible interventions.

Results indicate that female community members of Costa Jhu- were highly capable of running community organizations and projects. Furthermore, through program and intervention planning, commission members were able to effectively address community health concerns. Finally, community recognition of the female-led commission has motivated female members to be more efficacious, able, and willing when asked to engage their community.

The results of this case study illustrate how community capacity building in rural areas can empower women to effectively address community needs. Furthermore, communities seeking to build community capacity and empower women may use this case study as a model by which to follow.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs

Learning Objectives:
1. Assess and prioritize needs of the community. 2. Discuss the importance of organizational capacity. 3. Collaborate with municipalities to build partnership and future funding for projects.

Keywords: Community Development, Leadership

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I served a total of three years with the Peace Corps working directly with rural communities to form community groups that targeted specific needs of the community. Of particular interest is the women commission geared towards building women empowerment and honing in on their roles on community health needs and interventions.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.