The Three Stages of the Promotor Model and the Theory of Change
The transformative work of Promotores begins with meaningful community relationships based on mutual empathy, trust, respect and understanding. The Promotor Model in California is a social change model. It can be implemented with any issue (i.e. diabetes, neighborhood safety, breast cancer) because it is the quality of the relationships, not a particular issue area, which has the potential to create community change. If the Promotor Model is allowed to function according to the theory of change, Promotores will:
- Build profound relationships over time based on mutual respect, empathy and understanding.
- Share information and local resources.
- Create opportunities for community members to participate in individual and collective actions.
Stage 1. Relationship Building
Through deepening conversations that take place over time, community residents recognize that the Promotor not only understands her life, but lives it too. Relationship building is a mutual process that requires Promotores and community residents to get to know each other. When you “get to know your primary care provider,” your doctor asks you questions about your health behaviors in order to better understand your medical history. When you “get to know your child’s teacher,” the teacher asks you questions about your child’s life at home in order to better understand your child’s readiness to learn. But when you get to know a Promotora, both people ask each other questions and listen and engage in mutual conversations about their own and their community’s needs. Both people share information, both people share resources, and both people provide each other with social support which contributes to changes in their own, and in each other’s, quality of life.
Stage 2. Information Sharing
Promotores share information and resources with the community in response to real community needs and reflecting the circumstances in which people live. This iterative self-discovery process increases mutual trust, support and understanding. However, in order for this model to reach its full potential, Promotor programs must be sufficiently supported and flexible enough to allow both Promotores and community members to be transformed.
Stage 3. Community Participation Through Individual and Collective Action
As the relationships deepen, community residents may become more willing to participate in individual and community events (e.g. a nutrition and diabetes class, a community meeting on neighborhood safety). When a community shares common interests and is personally invested in making a difference for the future, the parallel processes of self-discovery, reflection and empowerment gives rise to new Promotores who will discover their identities as community leaders.