Using Photovoice as Participatory Needs Assessment with Youth at a Latino Youth Action Center

Joan Scacciaferro, Samantha Goode, Deirdra Frausto, Truman State University

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Abstract The photovoice method allowed the youth participants (females attending programs at a Latino/Hispanic Center), as ‘experts’ on their own lives, to freely display their thoughts, needs, and concerns in an artistic manner. Through photography, this project not only promoted creativity but also offered a non-threatening platform for participants to convey true emotion and information about difficult subjects. After comparative analysis between all four participants’ pictures and responses, three common themes arose: the importance of family in their lives, the importance of technology in their lives, and the importance of the Center in their lives.

Introduction The photovoice process, as a community-based, participatory needs assessment technique, lets community members document their community’s needs and assets, discuss the importance of those issues, and communicate concerns to those in power. Participants are assigned cameras to record visual images of what they perceive as their community’s strengths and weaknesses. The use of cameras can be empowering and exciting and does not require participants to be able to read or write. Discussion and explanation of the pictures within the group of participants and then with those in power may bring about concrete solutions or action (Wang & Burris, 1997).

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