Culture Counts: A Guide to Best Practices for Developing Health Promotion Initiatives in Mental Health and Substance Use with
In Chapter 2 - Work with community partners
Partnerships can bring many benefits. They allow people to share resources, knowledge and skills. By sharing the work, partners
can produce a greater impact than they might have done working separately.
When developing health promotion initiatives with ethnocultural communities, partnering with a community-based organization
or agency already working with the communities can greatly improve the effectiveness of both the initiative itself and the
development of it.
Community-based organizations serving ethnocultural communities bring qualities, resources and knowledge that would be difficult
or time-consuming for someone who is not a member of the community to get, such as:
- credibility and trust within the community that will help encourage participation by community members.
- bilingual, bicultural staff or volunteers who can act as facilitators and liaisons between you and the community, overcoming
language and cultural barriers
- awareness of the community’s assets and needs.
Community-based agencies will usually be interested in partnering with other organizations to help their communities but may
be wary due to past experiences where the “partnership” turned out to be only a token gesture towards community involvement
in decision-making. If you are going to partner with an agency, make sure it is a true, equitable partnership in which everyone
shares both responsibility and recognition, and there is a genuine commitment to community participation.
“Sometimes mainstream organizations seem to base their knowledge of a community on what they have heard or read in books and
newspapers. They end up with stereotypes or information that is out of date and out of context. For instance, arranged marriages
are no longer the rule in our community here and are getting less favored-people meet and date over the internet. Our community
--Naga Ramalingam, SACEM (Society for the Aid of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) Minorities)
To learn more about partnerships