EMPOWERMENT AND CULTURAL COMPETENCY by D5E8A3

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									EMPOWERMENT AND
CULTURAL
COMPETENCY
    What do they mean?
Definitions of Cultural Competency:


  According to Lum (1999), cultural
  competency is “the set of knowledge and
  skills that a social worker must develop in
  order to be effective with multicultural clients.
  The culturally competent practitioner helps
  the consumer bring together values and
  beliefs from the consumer’s own culture and
  those of the dominant culture” (p. 3).
According to Rivera & Erlich (1995), the
culturally competent organizer must be able to:
   Be familiar with the customs and traditions of constituency group members.
   Have knowledge of language style and subgroup slang
   Be aware of community leadership styles and development.
   Understand how members of the group have been oppressed (or excluded from
    decision-making) and be able to identify sources of institutional discrimination
   Have knowledge of past organizing strategies as well as the strengths and
    limitations of these strategies.
   Facilitate empowerment through collective decision-making.
   Assist people in developing a critical consciousness about sources of
    oppression.
   Know patterns of community and organizational decision-making.
   Use participatory methods of social research and evaluation
   Be aware of one’s own strengths and weaknesses.
Examples of culturally competent actions for multisystems or
organizing practice

   Hang pictures and posters that use cultural symbols from a culture
    other than your own in your workplace.
   Learn to greet people in a language other than your own.
   Use ethnographic interviewing to learn about a culture other than your
    own.
   Participate in cultural or multicultural events.
   Engage in practice with humility, acknowledging that you do not know
    everything about someone else’s background or culture. Become an
    active learner – engage in mutual learning.
   In working with oppressed or ethnic communities, be aware of the
    primary decision-makers. Consult with them as necessary, but also
    engage in activities to bring others into the decision-making process.
   Encourage the use of cultural symbols and music in the organizing
    process.
    Rivera & Erlich argue that an

    organizer should only work in communities or within ethnic
    populations of the same cultural background as the organizer .
      Do you agree?

What are the strengths and
weaknesses of this argument?
Empowerment Defined
o   Solomon (1976) defines empowerment as:
    “the process whereby persons who belong to a stigmatized social category
    throughout their lives can be assisted to develop and increase skills in the
    exercise of interpersonal influence and the performance of valued social roles”
    (p. 6)

o   Zimmerman & Rappaport (1988) define empowerment as: “a construct that links
    individual strengths and competencies, natural helping systems, and proactive
    behaviors to matters of social change. It is thought to be a process by which
    individuals gain mastery or control over their own lives and democratic
    participation in the life of their community” (p. 726). Zimmerman & Rappaport
    believe that participation in organization decision-making not only is a central
    component for bringing about social change, it also helps the participants
    develop a sense of self-efficacy derived from their ability to bring about social
    change.
E   Take steps to provide on-going education and training in
    advocacy, voting, decision-making, leadership, and other skills to
    clients, community constituents, and staff members.
M   Find appropriate methods to motivate and mobilize clients,
    constituents, and staff members for skill development and political
    action.
P   Increase the participation of clients, constituents, and staff in
    local, state, and national politics.
O   Conduct outreach to local constituents, informal networks, and
    institutions in order to develop an adequate constituency base and to
    strengthen local networks.
W   Provide opportunities to staff workers for participation in organization
    decision-making in order to improve worker perceptions of personal
    self-efficacy and commitment to the workplace.
E   Evaluate service outcome, processes and quality on a regular
    basis with significant input from clients, constituents, and workers.
R   Conduct voter registration drives and provide voter education and
    training. Recruitment of new voters and organization participants.
Limitations of Empowerment Practice

   Staff members in organization or existing
    elites may not want to give up power.
   Conflict may occur due to gender, cultural, or
    class differences.
   It is difficult to empower mandatory clients.
   Decision-making roles may be largely
    cosmetic – advisory only rather than
    delegated power or community control
    (Arnstein, 1969).
Empowerment Outcomes

    The recruitment of volunteers who bring new skill to the organization.

    The acquisition of leadership skills by these new constituents.

    Clients and constituents find ways to resolve personal problems and develop an
     improved sense of self-efficacy.

    Strong linkages to community networks and institutions are developed.

    A stronger organization response to client needs is achieved.

    Constituents provide a strong base of support for the organization.

    Improvements in service effectiveness, quality, and client access are made.

    Improvements are made in the quality of the life of the community

    The organization and its constituents acquire political power.
Resources needed for cultural competent and
empowerment practice
   Commitments and leadership by administrators and board members.

   Training for board members, staff, and constituents.

   An adequate funding source that is committed to and promotes
    culturally competent and empowering practice.

   Tangible rewards and outcomes associated with participation in
    organization decision-making

   Use of appropriate cultural symbols such as music, dance, and
    celebrations.

								
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