Understanding Cultural Conditions

Understanding Cultural Conditions


In delivering TA, a good TA provider is
always paying attention to several kinds of contextual factors. And some of those contextual factors
concern the characteristics of the community with which they’re working.
It could be racial ethnicity characteristics. It could be SES
characteristics. It could be whether or not the community has, for
example, a mayor versus a town council form of government. It could be, for
example, whether or not the community has its own local newspaper to use. So any
good TA provider is going to really understand the community with whom they’re
working, inside and out. Because, obviously, not one size fits all and not all
communities are alike. And so regardless of who the sub-population
of who you’re working with is, if you can think about understanding
what the local conditions are and how they impact the work you’re
doing, I think that provides a much better
opportunity to be successful. And so it’s something we don’t often completely and fully
think about. We use words like “cultural competence.” We use words like
“context.” But then it’s like, what do they mean? And so for me it’s a simple thing of
understanding local conditions. And so when you understand local conditions, it
allows you to better understand how to provide the appropriate
services to any particular group. We try and work really hard in working
with states and local communities to be able to both articulate and convey
what those local conditions are, and then to plan around them. If you do that, I think you provide a
much better opportunity for quality training and technical assistance. I’m reminded of a time when I was asked
to provide some technical assistance to an
American Indian tribal group in the prevention of
alcohol use in children and families. And I was given some fairly reasonable
limits on the number of days that I could spend — mainly two or three —
in working with them. Well, one of the more
important issues, maybe the most important
ingredient in working with a tribal community, is that they need to get to
know you. There needs to be trust in the relationship built there.
Without that you’re nowhere. And two days, or three days, was simply
not enough time. And I probably should have been smart enough to tell the funding group
that this just isn’t gonna cut it when I started. But I wasn’t. And I think after three days of working together we got nowhere. Just because of that factor.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *