Community Participation as Means of Citizen Empowerment: An Evaluation of the Communication and Participation Process of Dengue Prevention Programs in Quezon City Communities

Abstract Jarabejo, J. & Nery, R.K. (2019). Community Participation as Means of Citizen Empowerment: An Evaluation of the Communication and Participation Process of Dengue Prevention Programs in Quezon City Urban Communities, Unpublished Undergraduate Thesis, University of the Philippines College of Mass Communication.

The Philippine government first experienced wide-scale decentralization in 1991 with the passage of the Local Government Code (LGC). In the decentralized government, the health sector specifically the Department of Health (DOH) saw the most change with its resources and responsibilities devolved to the Local Government Units (LGUs). This allowed for the managing and planning of health programs to be controlled at the community level. One of the endemic diseases addressed at this level is Dengue. Over the years, more and more studies have recognized the importance of creating community-based programs and encouraging community participation for the eradication of the disease. In the country, the potential for a strengthened community involvement was seen at this level through the Barangay Health Management Councils (BHMCs). Here community leaders and stakeholders are supposed to take part in the decisionmaking and implementation processes of their community’s health programs. Through the Integrated Model of Communication for Social Change (Figueroa et al., 2002). The Ladder of Participation Framework (Arnstein, 1969), and the model of Shared Decision-Making (Potapchuk, 1991), this study establishes and evaluates the communication and participation processes that take place in the communities’ implementation of Dengue programs. Specifically, communication and participation were indicated in each program’s stages, namely; assessment, conceptualization, and implementation. A case study approach was employed on a total of five (5) selected barangays from Quezon City. Five (5) focus group workshops and twenty-four (24) focus interviews were conducted with the barangay members who lead in the processes involved in their respective Dengue prevention programs. The qualitative approach used in the study uncovered the interaction between communication and participation which shaped the elements of decision-making, knowledge building, and dialogic communication towards citizen empowerment. The findings reveal that communication and participation processes go beyond the stages of assessment, conceptualization, and implementation. Dengue programs give as much importance in receiving the concerns communicated by its stakeholders, the same can be said in their process of shaping the perceptions that revolve around this health issue. The lack of mechanisms that foster dialogue and shared decision-making poses a great challenge to citizens’ involvement. By evaluating and detailing the processes of Dengue programs in the barangay level, this study contributes to the improvement of community-based, participatory health programs in the country.

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[[Category: <College of Mass Communication> Thesis]][[Category:< BA Communication Research >]]