Twelve Palomas women completed a training for Health Educators (Promotoras) in Palomas on June 6-8. Border Partners and the Columbus, Luna County, Palomas Binational Health Council (COBINA) co-sponsored the event, funded also by the Ben Archer Health Center. The Office of Border Health in Juarez, led by Dr. Elisa Aguilar, conducted the training.
The concept of “health” was presented in a very broad-based context. Training considered the multitude of factors in a community that promote wellness for its members. In addition to attention to health problems and diseases, these factors might also include, for instance, the presence of health services, sanitation, environmental factors, such as the presence of dust in the air, and the community’s level of health-knowledge and health-awareness.
Border Partners co-founder Polly Edmunds, who also participated in the three-day promotora training, was excited by the evident commitment of the twelve Palomas women trainees who, “despite sweltering heat, persevered through three full days of training.” Polly also observed that the women themselves are “excited about the possibilities for change for their community.”
Trainers encouraged the participants to design and present community workshops that:
- empower the townspeople to develop the capacity to express their needs;
- identify and define their problems;
- design strategies of participation and
- organize effectively to address the issues that affect the community’s health.
Workshops that the newly-trained promotoras will design will help townspeople reflect on health risks that confront their state and community. Workshop participants will identify health issues that affect their community and learn strategies to counteract those health risks.
Health promoters can expose problems in a community and ask the proper authority to make changes.
Newly-trained promotora Chayo Covarrobias declared that her dream was to have a “healthy and clean community,” a sentiment to which most of group agreed. Benita Saenz added that she would like to see the day “when people drive through Palomas and want to visit because it is a pleasant place.” Others expressed that they would like a community characterized by greater employment opportunities and “less illness.”
“The trainers stressed the idea that change starts with yourself. It’s easy to blame everyone else. People need to organize,” concluded Polly Edmunds.