Ask, Listen, and Share
Every worthwhile task or endeavor always seems at first insurmountable… That is my operating life’s principle, right along with “Nothing worthwhile comes easy”. I think starting out from this mindset emboldens me approach any challenge. I find myself better able to fully commit and apply myself to fruition. There is nothing more rewarding and exciting that the thrill of seeing the fruits of your labor. Absolutely priceless!
Change is a necessary part of life: births, deaths, fall, winter, rainy seasons alternating with harmattan winds…all around us “change” happens. I particularly do not care for winter, but over time I have learned to appreciate its subtle beauty. Picturesque white snow blanketing trees and shrubs that masks life hibernating underneath waiting for spring. Similarly, in every community there are people who do not care much for change and will strongly resist innovative ideas. The main challenge I often encounter in my line of work is typically due to internal beliefs and attitudes. Though change may be beneficial, it can be perceived as threatening a fundamental tradition. How do you convince an HIV positive mother that breastfeeding, something so natural, is not safe for her baby?
One of the reasons I joined public health is because education saves lives. In the scenario question above, educating a mother on baby formula use is another way she can demonstrate her love to her child. I believe that presenting truthful, meaningful, and relevant information can be a catalyst for overcoming any challenge. Words can and have spurred people to action.
I work with community organizations that seek to implement evidence-based HIV interventions. I really enjoy tailoring each intervention based on the organizations needs and being able to approach the task from a strength-based perspective. The concept of asking people, involving stakeholders, promoting collaborative work, and fostering communal ownership of projects, is crucial in bringing about change. I am applying this same principle on the Threads of Our Fabric .
As I work towards developing an acculturation program, I find myself continuously asking questions and listening. In the process, I am able to stimulate conversations on the psychological needs of immigrant women and girls. Data collection is being done via Survey Monkey, a free online questionnaire website that has enabled the survey go viral. The project has been featured on Facebook groups, online blogs and magazines (MIMI Magazine ), and even twitter. The more I learn about Pulse Wire’s many resources like the Resource Exchange and Action Alerts; I know that this space will be critical in providing me feedback on my project. I definitely feel empowered to continue with the project knowing that I have the most valuable resource – collective support. Thank you World Pulse team for this online community! I was profoundly touched by the warm welcome, really grateful for the instant connections, and very excited about my new friends!!