Jun 11 2009

Networks against breast cancer

by at 3:53 pm under Uncategorized

One in 10 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her life time. Breast cancer is a disease that has global reach and affects the very make-up of societies. In some countries, breast cancer can increase poverty for women and children and terminal cases can leave children orphans. Diffusion and innovation are key factors to consider when making any development plan and perhaps most integral when examining relationships and how they effect adaptation and adoption.

Breast cancer education in Ghana, Courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Breast cancer education in Ghana, Courtesy of Susan G. Komen for the Cure

Like Everett M. Rodgers states the very building blocks of development are often found within culture. Through my research, I plan to examine how the Susan G. Komen Foundation has created programs that work at a grassroots level in countries like Ghana, by adopting relational outreach strategies that were used in the United States. I’m also going to look at the leader of the organization Nancy Brinker, and how she has strengthened her network.
By “reinventing” the plan to transition into village culture, Susan G. Komen has been successful in educating women about the risks of breast cancer and changing the views of women and their families. Money raised by the organization in the United States is now being used globally to encourage governments to provide health care as well as dispatching it to villages in rural areas. Support groups have also been started for women who were disowned because of drastic measures that were taken to save their lives—which have made them physically undesirable.
While many women Susan G Komen is reaching out to have never heard of the risks of breast cancer, they must almost “reinvent” their approach. Women living in villages have learned the importance of sharing information with each other through relationships built by Komen volunteers and representatives.
I plan to look at each stage mentioned by Rodgers (pg. 170) and talk about how those stages were implemented and adapted by Komen in relation to the women of Ghana. Talk about any trade-offs that have occurred and how relationships bridged gaps that might have existed between the cultures of the Komen representatives and the women in Ghana.
A section on knowledge will include a look at the socioeconomics of the villages, the lifestyles of the women in the village, their views on healthcare and the disease itself and how women in these areas communicate. Persuasion will look at how the information is spread and shared among the women in the villages and how this has or has not been able to lead to decisions—also what might have hindered village women from taking on self health initiatives. As far as decisions, I’ll look at why women were persuaded to adopt self examination and holding each other accountable. I’m look at how a movement begun by representatives from Komen was then implemented by local women, and how this is making a difference in the cases of breast cancer in Ghana as a whole.
I’ll look at how the original plan has changed and how it looks different from the grassroots prevention and education plan that was used in the United States, and also how Ghana fits into Komen’s international outreach efforts.
In conclusion I hope to find what has made this plan adoptable from one culture to another and determine if the plan was flexible enough to deal with the complex culture. This would help to propose new ideas to be used by other organizations with development initiatives.

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