WORKING WITH COMMUNITIES OF FAITH
The Hispanic/Latino community has deep religious and spiritual roots. In times of crisis and need, Hispanics/Latinos turn to religious/spiritual figures for leadership and guidance. Religious/Spiritual leaders are gatekeepers, opinion makers and very influential individuals.
- The Hispanic/Latino community has deep religious and spiritual roots. In times of crisis and need, Hispanics/Latinos turn to religious/spiritual figures for leadership and guidance.
- Religious/Spiritual leaders are gatekeepers, opinion makers and very influential individuals.
- The voices of religious/spiritual leaders are needed to confront the stigma, prejudice and denial surrounding HIV/AIDS in their communities.
- Religious/Spiritual institutions allow organizations to connect to a captive audience and well-connected spiritual and/or social network within the community.
- We must work to encourage ministers, spiritual leaders and congregations to make the conversations around HIV/AIDS a more prominent part of the life of religious/spiritual communities.
- By building relationships with religious/spiritual institutions you will have the opportunity to reach segments of your community that you may not have been able to reach previously.
- A step by step conversation process is essential
- Establish trust
- Develop rapport
- Respect religious/spiritual traditions, norms and points of view
- Develop ties with key leaders within the community of Faith in which you are working
- Begin the discussion on the current health situation of the congregation and surrounding community
- Ask religious/spiritual leaders about the “do’s and don’ts”
- Through your relationship with the religious/spiritual leaders, gain a better understanding as to whether they will be more open to receiving information about health promotion, including HIV/AIDS
- Provide facts about health issues and slowly ease into conversations around HIV/AIDS
- Get approval for the production and distribution of materials you plan to distribute
- Work with religious/spiritual leaders in the introduction/design of programs focused on health and wellness including HIV/AIDS
- Be flexible with schedules, and be prepared to work weekends and some nights as that is when their activities usually occur
- Visit the communities of Faith as much as needed and participate in their activities
- Train spiritual/religious leaders on health related issues, including HIV/AIDS
- Dress appropriately
- Maintain frequent formal & informal communication with religious leaders