August 5, 2020

Developing principles of social change as a result of a Pasifika Youth Empowerment Program: A qualitative study

Ridvan Firestone, Anna Matheson, Justice Firestone, Max Schleser, Emily Yee, Hana Tuisano, Keawe’aimoku Kaholokula, Lis Ellison-Loschmann

Pending PubMed Central Publication
Health Promotion Journal of Australia

Issue: Empowerment is a concept over-used in health promotion, yet it is an important process that can used in developing the capacity and capability of young people for creating social change to improve healthier lives.

Methods: The Youth Empowerment Program (YEP), a pilot study aimed at empowering 15 youth (18-24 years) to lead healthier lives. We present secondary outcomes of the original YEP study, using focus groups and mobile-mentary approaches to capture the impact of the YEP through the youths’ understanding of the program. Thematic analyses to examine the pragmatic usefulness of the empowerment program.

Results: We identified three major themes: (aa) Knowledge: education and awareness of healthy living and understanding of the wider social health issues, compound the health complexities of obesity; (b) Youth as catalysts for change: the youth viewed themselves as agents of social change; and (c) Transformation: the youth recognised themselves as catalysts for change that can positively transform communities into action.

Conclusion: This study contributes new insights and depth of understanding about how the empowerment program can strengthen the process of individual capacity in an effort to mobilise social change for the betterment of the whole community, particularly among indigenous Pasifika population groups. SO WHAT?: Developing empowerment principles will enable others to consider “how apply” empowerment more practically when working with young people and not use it flippantly with no real action-oriented outcome.

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