Change Through Culture

Change through Culture

Steps in the Grandmother Project approach  to promote social change in communities in partnership with grandmothers

These are the 5 core steps in  GMP’s Change through Culture approach that can be used as a road map for developing and implementing programs dealing with all aspects of family and community well-being in which grandmothers play a role. Also, these steps can be used in combination with other community strategies that promote different aspects of the well-being of wome, girls, children and families.

STEP 1
Analysis of the role and influence of grandmothers and other household and community actors on women’s and children’s well-being related to priority program issu

Community level:

  • Rapid assessment to examine: roles, authority, decision-making patterns and influence in families and communities, communication channels, attitudes and practices related to women and children
  • Baseline study (quantitative data) to assess key attitudes and practices prior to the intervention

Organizational level:

  • Participation in community assessment increases health/development workers’ understanding of role and influence of grandmothers and other actors in families and community

STEP 2
Recognition and validation of cultural resources or assets: knowledge, tools and roles (specifically of grandmothers and grandfathers) by health and development workers and by communities themselves

Community level:

  • Assessment results are shared and discussed with community members
  • Discussion of the important role play by elders, in general, and specifically grandmothers in families and communities
  • Grandmothers and other community members increase their confidence in grandmothers’ knowledge and experience
  • Young people re-examine their attitudes toward elders

Organizational level:

  • Health and development workers increase their respect for grandmothers’ role and commitment and their confidence in grandmothers’ ability to learn.

STEP 3
Dialogue with grandmothers, elders, women, men, traditional leaders to seek consensus on problems and solutions that build on “traditional” values, roles and practices and that incorporate priority “modern” practices

Community level:

  • Formal and informal leaders (men, women, older and younger) are identified and actively involved
  • Participatory communication activities elicit dialogue within and between peer groups of grandmothers and of other community actors on priority issues
  • New information is shared by respected community actors
  • Activities challenge communities to combine traditional and new values and practices
  • Collaboration between grandmother leaders and other community leaders is strengthened

Organizational level:

  • Health and development workers develop strong partnerships with grandmother leaders and grandmother social networks
  • Health and development workers increase skills in facilitation of group dialogue and problem-solving

STEP 4
Strengthen the confidence and capacity of grandmother leaders to promote improved practices within grandmother groups, within families and within the community-at-large

Community level:

  • Encouragement of grandmother leaders increases their confidence and strengthens their role in all community activities
  • Grandmother leaders are empowered to promote improved practices related to women and children with other grandmothers, in families and in the community-at-large
  • Grandmother leaders catalyze discussion in families and communities on priority “traditional” and “modern” practices
  • Synergy between actions of grandmother and other community leaders contributes to improved practices vis-à-vis the well-being of children and women

Organizational level:

  • Health and development workers maintain close relationships with and reinforce grandmother leaders in their role as change agents in the community

STEP 5
Evaluation of results and ongoing learning related to changes in: community norms and practices; and community capacity to promote positive change

Community level:

  • Assessment and documentation of changes
    •  in specific community norms
    •  in individual practices
    •  in community cohesion and capacity, including leadership skills of grandmothers and other leaders and involvement of community leaders in facilitating consensus-building to address community concerns

Organizational level:

  • Increased capacity of health and development workers to involve grandmothers in promoting positive practices for the well-being of women and children

Throughout all the STEPS:
Ongoing monitoring and documentation for learning