Oromo Health Promotion Program

Project Summary.

This health promotion program is designed to provide health education and mental health support that meet the immediate needs of the Oromo community in Victoria. It is set up to help slow the spread of coronavirus and to reduce risk of depression via locally delivered mechanisms.

Needs Assessment 

COVID-10 and its impacts are real issues for our community. Some of the Oromo community living in Victoria reported feelings of loneliness, which were associated with increased psychological distress and a reduced sense of well-being. Some of the community members even find difficult to understand the basic concept of COVID-19. Our community members believe that well designed Health Promotion Program can reduce the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and its psychological impacts. Researches also suggested that interventions like social connections and health information are necessary. Advocacy for Oromia has conducted oral interview and consultation with the members of Oromo community to deliver health and mental health information, to deliver phone outreach support and to support individuals to access health services. 

Oromo Health Promotion Program

The Oromo Health Promotion Program is set up in response to the negative impact a lack of social connection has on social and cognitive development and how loneliness increases the risk of developing depression and other mental health problems. Community engagement and health promotion have a significant role in improving social connections, promoting community wellbeing, especially elders’ health. Therefore, mental health information sessions and individual-centred health support are highly needed in our community to assist our community members to understand how to prevent the spread of coronavirus and to reduce risk of depression and anxiety in the future. The project therefore provides an opportunity for Oromo community to participate in activities designed to improve social connection and to access health services. It also provides an opportunity for a public to address issues based on the themes of mental health, respectful relationships, and family support.

Aim:

The aims of the program:

Objectives:

Objective 1: to deliver translated health resources for 600 community members in three months

Objective 2: to provide three mental health sessions for 120 community members in three months

Objective 3: deliver phone outreach support for 40 Oromo elders in three months 

Objective 4: to support 40 individuals to access health services in three months

Oromo community are generally communal society. Due to lockdown and restrictions, community connections and support were disrupted. We have been addressing these disruptions through online communication strategies, such as Zoom Meeting and media communications that helped to share experiences. At the beginning, zoom communication was challenging for most of the community members due to lack of digital technology. Volunteers and good ambassadors of our community members provided their expertise to increase the digital literacy of our members.   We learned that every challenging environment could yield positive outcomes that helped to invent and learn new things. This Community engagement and health promotion have played a significant role in improving social connections and promoting community wellbeing during this pandemic period. As a result of delivering this project, we provided extensive translated information and education for the community, We improved our way of communication though various online communication strategiesWe improved our capacity for future useWe developed and purchased assets that will help to deliver further ongoing information and education for our community and We gained an experience and capacity to cope up similar challenges in the future. 
We have seen that our project didn’t completed according to our timeline. One of the unexpected challenges we have faced during this time was the disruption of our connections to deliver services according to out timeline. We have seen that our volunteers and committee members were unable to meet regularly. However, we designed new way of working group that manage activities independently on flexible manner. Accordingly, each working group provided their services and when time allowed come together to assess and follow up the ongoing activities together. In this context, flexibility was one of the strategies we have applied to ease the pressure and to complete this project.
We would like to appreciate the Victorian Government Culturally and Linguistically Diverse (CALD) Communities Taskforce for their patience. Without the offer of the grants, we know that we wouldn’t deliver such wide variety of activities, including information, phone outreach and individual support to our community.
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