The Ecological Theory of Development Applied to Vulnerable Populations, a Case Study: Mexico
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AbstractThe successful experience of a community action program based on the Ecological Theory of Human Development (Bronfenbrenner, 1977, 1986) is described. The objective of the program was to promote sexual and reproductive health in children and adolescents aged between 10 and 19 from groups of rural and indigenous people. An instruction model called Reflexive Information (RI) was drawn up. It included variables linked to micro (e.g. decision making), meso (e.g. family communication) and macro (e.g. community expression) levels in accordance with Bronfenbrenner’s theory. Group dynamics and community intervention strategies were used in the instruction given to the adolescents. Interinstitutional agreements were made in order to obtain both technical and human resources for field operations. The program began in November, 1997. More than 240,000 adolescents from rural areas located in 17 different Mexican states have been trained to date. The results show both the heuristic potential and strategic relevance of Bronfenbrenner’s model for the development of efficient community action programs that can be applied to vulnerable populations.