In the past 6 months I have been working for a breast cancer organization that base it’s work in awareness campaigns. Even when I used to be familiar with the used of awareness trainings to empower women in Mexico, this is the first time that I actually work developing and implementing awareness campaigns and programs. Back in Mexico, I confess, I was a little skeptical about this kind of campaigns or trainings to resolve problems that affect women. Most of the women’s offices in Mexico empower women through the implementation of awareness trainings in rural communities. They simple go and talk to women about the issues that affect them; they educate them about women’s rights, health, educations etc.. I learned with time that information is everything. Informed people are able to make good decisions about their lives, their families and their communities, and there are a lot of people that have never had access to information.
Awareness, contrary as I initially thought, is effective to empower women or treat communicable and non-communicable diseases that kill thousands of people, like malaria, HIV and breast and cervical cancer. Now, I see awareness as a mean of educate uneducated people and informed and empower educate people about social, economical or health risks. But what happened when awareness is not enough? What happened when people have the information but they still chose not to go to the doctor or send their daughter to school? The easiest example is about alimentation and good habits. How many people know about the importance of eating green vegetable? How many of those people live in developed countries, which mean they have the resources and the access to green vegetables, and, how many of them still eat fast food, never drink water or do exercise and finally die because of their food choices and bad habits. These people have information, and they decide to do nothing different to have a better life. This can be applied in any matter, slavery, human rights, women’s empowerment, cancer, HIV. Etc.. So what is lacking?
It is true that in some cases is the lack of country capability that limits the capacity of their people to do things differently. But when the services and the resources are there, then what is missing is action. Currently, the awareness organizations are realizing about this, questioning their model to find better ways to encourage people to take action. What makes people take action? Is not just having information, it’s important to understand the barriers that a person face to take action, these barriers could be social, religious or cultural, even physical. All this is translated in behavior change; analyzing and understanding people’s behaviors can lead awareness organization to success in their causes, because people will take action. If we are able to identify the determinants, the barriers and the enablers in certain behaviors we can produce changes in behavior and encourage and guarantee that people would take action.
I believe World Pulse and the Voice of Our Future Correspondent is an enabler of behavior that empowers women to take action. It promotes access of information and encourage people share information and become catalyst of change.
I have been working in social development in for the last 6 years, there is no other thing that I can image myself doing and I envision my live to continue in this track. But I do recognize that I am in the continuum of learning and the possibility of improvement. So far I have being able to learn and understand poverty, it’s consequences, causes and how this can catalyst other social problems. I have learned from women’s issues and the economical benefit of educate and empower women. I have also learned from peace building and reconstruction of social structures. I recently learn about awareness and women’s health and how having healthy women can promote better societies. But I keep learning every day and I want to continue in this learning track until I can become and expert in this matters and I can recommend how to solve these problems. Therefore being Voice of Our Future Correspondent will enable me to continue exploring and learning in a more professional and powerful way. It would be also an opportunity for me to take action about the matters that affect women in my country and others. I want to take action and encourage others to take action as well. I do believe each one of us is an important part to the virtuous cycle to a better society.
Take action! This post was submitted in response to Voices of Our Future Application: Your Vision.