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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Evaluation of community empowerment in a community-based health promotion partnership Scarr, Jennifer L.

Abstract

A qualitative evaluation of community empowerment in a community-based health promotion project, Hand-In-Hand, was completed. Hand-In-Hand offers a free weekly drop-in service where families are able to access information and services pertaining to their health and developmental issues. The project was developed by a steering committee comprised of health care providers and community members to address two main concerns expressed by community women: difficulty accessing health information and services, and a perceived lack of respect from the health care system. Four community women, members of the Hand-In-Hand steering committee, were interviewed for the study. The data from the interviews was analyzed using the qualitative research methods of inductive content analysis and constant comparative analysis. The findings indicated that six phases were instrumental in the process of community empowerment: initial involvement, building relationships, demonstrating commitment, building partnerships, achieving individual empowerment, and increasing community capacity. Outcomes related to each of the phases were identified. The process of community empowerment was iterative rather than linear. The participants moved freely between the phases as they proceeded to the final phase of community empowerment. The process and outcomes of community empowerment have implications for nursing research, practice, education, and administration, along with health policy. The lessons learned from this study should contribute to a better understanding of the process of community empowerment, education of community health practitioners, and support of community initiatives by health care administrators and leaders.

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