Participatory action research with the German speaking Mennonites

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Babcock, Ruth C. A.
University of Lethbridge. Faculty of Education
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Lethbridge, Alta. : University of Lethbridge, Faculty of Education, 1998
German-speaking Mennonite people from Mexico are moving into Southern Alberta. They are mainly employed as farm labourers. Their low level of income makes it difficult to provide for the needs of their large families. Many also encounter difficulties because of their lack of English and literacy, unfamiliarity with Canadian ways and laws, and a lack of understanding and trust in the helping agencies and school system. By using the Participatory Action Research approach and te principles of Community Development, representatives of community health services were able to enter into a unique partnership with the Mennonite people to work toward meeting their identified needs. A family-centred approach was used, with special attention being given to cultural and religious traditions and values. Programs that were developed addressed the needs of the Mennonite people including English as a Second Language, literacy, nutrition, health, safety, dental, socialization, education, and German literacy for the children. A key finding of the research study was that a participatory action research approach did allow the Mennonite people in this study to find more effective ways of making the transition from life in Mexico to life in southern Alberta. Participants did take steps towards their goal of a better quality of life. As well, agency people found new ways of working with the Mennonite people and with each other. Finally, this study shows that as Mennonite people adapt to life in Canada changes do occur in their ways of interacting with each other and with the broader community.
vii, 167 leaves : ill. ; 28 cm.
Action research -- Alberta, Southern , Social participation -- Alberta, Southern , Community development -- Alberta, Southern , Mennonites -- Alberta, Southern , Dissertations, Academic