By Natasha Blanchet-Cohen, Concordia University
The Calgary Sexual Health Centre (CSHC) works in Alberta to normalize sexual health with a focus on healthy bodies, healthy relationships and healthy communities. Initially, the developmental evaluation (DE) project was based on the desire to enhance CSHC’s current work to reach newcomer populations. Often the topic of sexual health is not included in programs or services targeted to newcomers, thus leaving these members at risk. To this end, CSHC had initiated FAIR (Families Achieving Inclusive Relationships) – a one year project involving the hiring of staff from an ethno-cultural community where participants would enrol in the sexual health-training program and then become advocates and facilitators of sexual health in their own communities and organizations.
CSHC chose to work with DE because the knowledge and skills gained would enhance their internal capacity to serve these communities. There was also a commitment to transferring this learning to other sexual health providers and immigrant serving organizations.