CARE's activist-in-residence program: Resisting structures

CARE collaborators activists Vanessa Ho & Sherry Sherqueshaa
The CCA begins with the recognition that to address health inequalities, unhealthy structures need to be fundamentally transformed. Without changing these highly unequal structures, the overarching conditions that threaten the health of the poorest and the most marginalized remain intact. The health inequalities persist because the structures continue to threaten the health of the most vulnerable, producing precarious conditions of life and livelihood.

As an explicit framework for communicating for health equity then, the CCA brings about a paradigm shift in traditional health communication. Acknowledging the limits of behaviour change programs that individualize health risks, the CCA shifts the role of communication to advocacy directed explicitly at resisting and transforming structures.

CARE's activist-in-residence program models this framework of social change communication as integral to the transformation of structures. The Center's activist-in-residence brings in conversations about various aspects of social structures that directly threaten human health and wellbeing. For instance, the sexual violence that is often built into Asian patriarchal structures and promoted through various institutional and organizational processes is fundamentally threatening to human health and wellbeing, and is resisted through the work of communication as advocacy. Similarly, everyday forms of abuse of domestic workers in Asian cosmopolitan economies such as Singapore is actively resisted through a framework of Rights that disrupts that authoritarian city state's silencing of rights.

These forms of communication conceptualized as activism are integral to the transformation of structures that constrain, threaten, and fundamentally harm the health of those at the margins.


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