Evaluating Aboriginal empowerment programs - the case of Family WellBeing

Tsey, Komla, and Every, Anne (2000) Evaluating Aboriginal empowerment programs - the case of Family WellBeing. Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 24 (5). pp. 509-514.

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Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of a Family WellBeing empowerment course. Method: A range of methods including: theory-driven analysis of literature and project documentation; participant observation; analysis of course participants’ personal narratives against set empowerment criteria. Results: Participation in the Family WellBeing course resulted in high levels of personal empowerment. The course enhanced participant’s sense of self-worth, resilience, ability to reflect on root causes of problems, problem-solving ability, as well as belief in the mutability of the social environment. As a result, they were able to bring about modest but significant improvements in their general sense of wellbeing and those of the people around them in ways that was previously impossible. However, organisational and community empowerment such as stronger social networks and systems level changes had not occurred- at least not in the short term. Discussion: The effectiveness of the Family WellBeing course shows the importance of resourcing Aboriginal people to develop their own programs that address trauma and other issues resulting from settler colonisation. The study highlights three important lessons regarding the use of empowerment interventions to improve health conditions, particularly among socially disadvantaged groups. Firstly, there is a need to adopt an ecological approach that simultaneously addresses empowerment at multiple settings or levels. Secondly, there is a need to ensure that such programs reach a critical mass of the target group. Finally, it is important that policy-makers and practitioners take a longer-term approach to empowerment interventions, including properly resourced longitudinal studies to document and enhance the evidence base for such interventions.

Item ID: 704
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1753-6405
Keywords: Aboriginal, Empowerment, Family WellBeing, Suicide prevention
Additional Information:

2000 Copyright Public Health Association of Australia. Reproduced in accordance with publisher policy.

Date Deposited: 16 Oct 2006
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services @ 0%
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