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Educational Materials To Match Three Cultures

FIGURING out how to reach women at risk was a challenge for Sarah Garcia, subcontract director of the AIDS education project for Educational Development Consultants in Newton, Mass. The job involved ``finding out what people really need and what they want and what is relative to their community,'' she says. Ms. Garcia worked with focus groups and staff members at the three contract sites (Bridgeport, Conn., Juarez, Mexico, and San Juan, Puerto Rico) to determine what emphasis to use in the materials developed for each location.

Here's what worked best for the different cultures:

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Bridgeport, Conn.

Poster: Women in Bridgeport responded most strongly to images of children. The poster features three children from families of outreach workers at the project. The caption reads: ``Why take the risk?'' The poster is a success, says outreach worker Yvonne Calderon, because everyone can identify with it. ``To each person it means something different, which is great.'' The Bridgeport staff also developed a cassette tape recording for the women to take home after the first visit.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Poster: San Juan women chose to portray a family - man, woman, child. ``The idea was to present the complexity of tenderness and tragedy,'' says Garcia. In the poster the woman and her baby are sitting on a bed; the man is standing nearby, with an intravenous needle in his hand.

Juarez, Mexico

Fotonovelas: The most effective design in Juarez proved to be pamphlets with comic-book style images and simple messages - a popular style of information dissemination in Latin America.

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