Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Significance of context and values in CCA

The second chapter in the book has an excellent explanation of CCA and its principles. The section on values and context reminded me, some of my personal research experiences which I thought could fit into it very well. When I was working among the "Chenchu" people in Andhra Pradesh on my Masters dissertation project I noticed that the huts in the hamlets had small rooms next to them which were either empty or filled with old things. I asked the people around, about the utility of these rooms and they said that they were "latrines" built by the state health and hygiene department. I was surprised to know that latrines were provided by the government officials in such a remote "tribal" area. I probed further as to why they are not using them and they said that they are not used to defecating in these closed room for a various reasons. First was that they treat the hamlet land as sacred and hence would not be doing such a polluting act. They believe in defecating outside the periphery of their hamlet to ensure hygiene and sanctity. Second was that the officials have built these rooms but did not build a sewage system to let out the water and other waste either into a "tank" under the ground or system which would let the waste flow out of the occupied area. The health intervention has miserably failed as they did not care to take the opinions of the people and the context in which the people live into consideration. This is an example to show how critical values and contexts are for an intervention.
Another incident which came to my mind when I was reading this section was during the Cervical Cancer and HPV introduction project. I interviewed a 46 year old women in a village and asked her about the acceptance of a vaccine which could prevent Cervical Cancer among the adolescent girls. The woman was very furious at my question and said that introduction of the vaccine would not be accepted by her and others as she believed that this would encourage young girls and boys to indulge in sexual activities as they lose fear of getting infected by STDs ans STIs. The vaccine would act as protection against the disease but would indirectly make the young students to indulge more in such activities leading to diseases further, according to her. CCA with an emphasis on engagement and dialogue, I anticipate would give a solution against these hurdles in health intervention attempts.

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