Cultural Awareness in Community Partnerships

July 9, 2021

Cultural awareness is essential in administering programs and delivering training materials in ways that are understandable and acceptable to the local community. Encompassing a community’s beliefs, values, and attitudes, culture greatly influences perspectives on health, leading to various health practices and outcomes. Although culture varies greatly across countries and continents, taking the time to understand and learn about a community’s cultural beliefs strengthens partnerships through the establishment of trust and communicates respect to the local people. Respecting other cultures and incorporating their beliefs into training materials makes a huge difference in the success of programs and the acceptance of health behavior change from these communities for more positive health outcomes.

Cultural components, such as language, religious beliefs, diet, family morals and values contribute greatly to individual health behaviors and therefore, must be taken into consideration when creating training materials and programs. As an undergraduate intern at International HELP, I admire the effort, research, and time that goes into understanding a community’s cultural beliefs about health and how the organization uses that information to modify their training materials and deliver classes in a culturally-aware way. Although the logistical content behind community health work is highly significant, it is cultural awareness that makes these programs long-lasting and successful and one of the reasons why International HELP has had so much success in working with diverse populations and training 226 community health workers across 8 countries.

- Jana Rafi, Intern

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