Identifying champions and sharing knowledge
The project focused on Arabic-speaking people and partnered with local agencies. The project’s community action group (called the ‘champions’) comprised of nine Arabic-speaking women to make sure that the project was community-led.
The champions agreed to:
- have informal discussions about cancer screening with friend/s, family and community members
- provide support to their friend/s, family and community members to access cancer screening services if needed (this could include driving a family member to a screening appointment)
- participate in and recruit community members for media opportunities
- provide feedback on the development of resources for the project.
The champions participated in five community-led meetings and later fed back the community members’ perceptions, feelings and opinions about cancer screening. Information about perceptions of cancer and cancer screening held by the community was documented and shared with program partners, local PHN staff and local health service providers.
The champions were also asked what the most relevant cancer screening messages for their community would be and were asked what sorts of resources would be needed and where the resources could be distributed, to continue work to increase awareness and knowledge of cancer screening in their communities.
In a peer education-based approach, the action group members were trained as community champions. Ongoing support and resources in Arabic were provided to increase their knowledge and understanding about bowel, breast and cervical cancers. The project coordinator provided training with a staff member from a partner organisation who spoke Arabic and acted as an interpreter. The coordinator also sought verbal feedback from champions after training and follow-up support sessions and this feedback resulted in tailoring the training and resources. The champions reported increased knowledge about cancer screening and local cancer services.
Community champions were asked to keep ‘record’ books and document information, such as discussions initiated with family and community members about cancer. They also participated in a focus group using an Arabic-speaking interpreter. Champions promoted key messages and provided support to over 82 Arabic family and community members in a range of local settings. They reported that messages were well received and that they had supported some community members to participate in screening.