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Health Educ Res. 2011 Jun;26(3):542-55. doi: 10.1093/her/cyq057. Epub 2010 Oct 21.

Promoting critical consciousness and social mobilization in HIV/AIDS programmes: lessons and curricular tools from a South African intervention.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Sciences, Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94105, USA.


The development of critical consciousness is seen as a key stage in communities increasing levels of dialogue about priority problems and effecting structural change for health. However, relatively little research identifies concrete methods for programmes to build critical consciousness. We examined how a South African structural intervention used critical consciousness as a tool for prevention of intimate partner violence and HIV infection. We collected qualitative data in the form of in-depth interviews with managers, trainers, and participants of the Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equity intervention (IMAGE) in rural South Africa. The data were analysed through a coding structure developed in QSR NVivo. We draw practical lessons from IMAGE to guide other HIV programmes aiming to promoting critical consciousness and social mobilization. This research suggests that specific curricular tools can work towards critical consciousness and that mobilization efforts in future programmes can be strengthened by including individual and collective efforts by participants.

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