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Canadian Journal of Public Health

, Volume 98, Issue 4, pp 337–340 | Cite as

Within the Eyes of the People

Using a Photonovel as a Consciousness-raising Health Literacy Tool with ESL-speaking Immigrant Women
  • Laura E. Nimmon
Article

Abstract

Objectives

This research examines if the process of creating and using a participatory photonovel can empower immigrant ESL-speaking women and also act as a tool to educate these women about a specific health topic.

Methods

Data were collected through a) two separate interviews with each participant, b) two focus groups, c) field notes during the meetings the author had with the women once a week, and d) photographs of the photonovel project.

Results

The women created a participatory photonovel about nutrition entitled From Junk Food to Healthy Eating: Tanya’s Journey to a Better Life (to view this photonovel go to: e]http://www.photonovel.ca). The findings demonstrate that the photonovel can be an effective health literacy tool for immigrant ESL-speaking women, that it created community among the women, that it helped the women feel important and that it shifted their consciousness about nutrition in Canada.

Discussion

More funding should be given towards participatory research to ensure that ways to address the health literacy needs of ESL-speaking immigrant women in Canada match their needs. This means researching ways to create health literacy materials that have visuals that are representative of the diverse population of Canadians and with language that can be understood. In order to ensure that health literacy materials are going to be effective, it is essential that the participants be involved in the process.

MeSH terms

Vulnerable population health literacy health promotion 

Résumé

Objectifs

Cette recherche consiste en l’étude du processus d’élaboration et d’utilisation d’un photo-roman participatif comme outil efficace d’émancipation des immigrantes allophones et d’éducation de ces femmes sur des sujets particuliers liés à la santé.

Méthodologie

Les données ont été tirées a) de deux entrevues distinctes réalisées auprès de chaque participante; b) de deux groupes de discussion; c) de notes prises sur le terrain pendant les rencontres hebdomadaires entre l’auteure et les femmes; et d) de photos puisées dans le projet de photo-roman.

Résultats

Les femmes ont participé à un photo-roman portant sur la nutrition, intitulé From Junk Food to Healthy Eating: Tanya’s Journey to a Better Life (De la malbouffe à une alimentation saine: le parcours de Tanya vers une vie meilleure). Ce photo-roman peut être consulté sur le site e]http://www.photonovel.ca. Les conclusions démontrent que le photo-roman peut constituer un outil efficace d’information sur la santé pour les immigrantes allophones, qu’il a permis de créer des liens entre les femmes, qu’il a aidé les femmes à se sentir importantes et qu’il a changé leur perspective de la nutrition au Canada.

Discussion

Un financement plus important devrait être accordé à la recherche participative afin de s’assurer que les méthodes visant à répondre aux besoins des immigrantes allophones en matière d’information sur la santé au Canada sont adaptées à leurs besoins. Il faut trouver des moyens d’élaborer des documents d’information sur la santé qui comportent des images représentant la diversité de la population canadienne, et ce, dans un langage compréhensible. Afin de s’assurer que la documentation d’information sur la santé sera efficace, il est essentiel que les participantes prennent part au processus.

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Copyright information

© The Canadian Public Health Association 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MA in Language and Literacy Education from the University of VictoriaVictoriaCanada

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