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Lideres Esperanza

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National Resource Center on Domestic Violence

Domestic Violence Evidence Project

Practices from the Field

Practice Name: LíderesOrganization Name: Esperanza United      Contact Information: Lillie MaciasAddress: P.O.Box 75177, Saint Paul, 55175Phone: 651.646.5553Fax: 651-646-5299Website:

Brief Description: Líderes (Leaders) is a peer-education, community-based, leadership development program that provides Latinas with leadership, presentation, and facilitation skills in order to conduct outreach and increase awareness about topics that specifically impact members of Latin@ communities. This approach is an innovative alternative for programs who are interested in creating, expanding, or increasing survivor involvement in community outreach. Facilitators, or Líderes, create individualized workshops to provide Latin@ community members with information about issues that affect their everyday lives. Líderes has been used in multiple settings, and the methods and outcomes described here are based on the experiences of intimate partner survivors in Minnesota and Georgia.

Practice Description
Program GoalsLíderes is a peer-education curriculum and development program that was designed to provide comprehensive leadership training to Latina women. As a result, women educate community members about specific issues that are of concern to Latin@ communities. The curriculum is based on an intersection of the Promotoras model of peer-education within Latin@ communities, evidence on leadership training, and practice-based experiences of the initial Líderes creators. The goal of the program is to provide women with the leadership capacity to create and facilitate talleres (workshops) in multiple group settings. The topics for these talleres (workshops) are community-generated, meaning that Líderes ask community members what they would be interested in learning. The topics are also survivor-driven. This allows the Líderes to engage their own personal interests and choose what they want to share with the community. Overall, the goal of this program is to reach out to women who do not already have access to formal leadership training, but are natural leaders and have espoused a personal commitment to support their community. For example, Líderes was adopted by a domestic violence organization in Georgia because of women’s desires to find a way to give back to their community.
Program OriginsThe curriculum was initially created in 2003 to train Latina women in the Twin City area of Minnesota who were interested in leadership and community engagement. Since then, trainers have implemented the Líderes program in New Mexico and Georgia specifically with survivors of intimate partner violence.
Program ComponentsThe curriculum of Líderes is unique from the traditional Promotora approach because it is trauma-informed and leadership-focused. The trauma-informed curriculum includes multiple exercises that focus on having women reconnect with their emotions, their bodies, creating a sense of safety, and utilizing culturally-specific methods. Women are also trained on how to deal with trauma triggers while in the community facilitating a workshop.There are four components to the leadership curriculum. In the first component, Líderes go through a session focused on raising their own critical awareness through self-reflection, learning about the components of leadership, and what is needed to be a leader. The second component specifically identifies leadership in action. Líderes learn how to actively engage with communities. Third, Líderes learn to gather information to create talleres that are of interest to them. In the fourth component, Líderes facilitate a mock community workshop and receive critical feedback. Building and practicing a presentation is a critical component to this curriculum.  Líderes then meet monthly with a coordinator to receive ongoing support about their experiences in the community facilitating workshops and discuss additional support and skills that they need in order to be successful. Most Líderes conduct 2 to 3 workshops a month.Participants in the workshops are typically community members who come from the Líderes’ social networks.  Talleres are also offered when the organization receives requests for community presentations. Typically, talleres can last from 1 to 2 hours depending on the content provided.
Target PopulationLíderes was initially developed for all women interested in engaging in a leadership training model to provide peer education to their communities. However, domestic violence organizations in New Mexico and Georgia implemented the program specifically with survivors of intimate partner violence. In Georgia, women were recruited from a support group that consisted of survivors who were beyond the initial crisis stage and actively working on raising their own critical awareness about domestic violence and other issues that specifically impacted Latin@ communities. Women who had previously received services from this organization were invited to participate in the training.
Target SettingLíderes was developed specifically for Latin@ communities. It is particularly beneficial for women in communities of color who are living with multiple intersecting forms of oppression and might not have consistent access to formal leadership and presentation skills training. The training can take place in a location where there are two private rooms available. One of the rooms can be used for the training and the other could have supervised childcare.
Practice Evidence
Evaluation MethodsLíderes was formally evaluated in a community-based domestic violence shelter in Georgia using a mixed-method design.  Evaluators used the multiple baseline single subjects design as their quantitative method and participant journals during the experience as a qualitative method.A unique element of the Líderes evaluation is the development of an adaption phase. Since the program was not initially developed for survivors of intimate partner violence, this participant-focused adaption was created to understand how particular components of Líderes could be adjusted to fit the needs, values, and resources of intimate partner violence survivors. In this adaption, evaluators provided women with an overview of the program and program goals. Evaluators then asked women what they would need in order to complete the program goals. The curriculum was adapted based on women’s responses. They measured the experiences of eight women at 1 week, 4 weeks, and 7 weeks during the intervention. They also conducted 3 and 6-month follow-ups. Evaluators used self-report surveys, facilitator ratings, and videos of the practice presentations to determine whether women met the anticipated outcomes. Future evaluation research is planned to document community-level change and participant experiences in the workshops.
Evaluation OutcomesResults from the formal evaluation were based on the experiences of eight women  who completed the training. Evaluators measured: knowledge of IPV, knowledge of IPV resources, knowledge of leadership, knowledge of leadership competency, self perceived leadership competency, leadership self-efficacy, leadership emergence (how participants influenced their peers), community organization sense of community, and empowering organizational characteristics (how participants think about organizations). After participating in the Líderes program, women reported a significant increase in the following outcomes: sense of leadership, knowledge of leadership, knowledge of leadership competency, and leadership emergence. However, leadership self-efficacy, knowledge of IPV, knowledge of IPV resources, sense of community, and empowering organizational characteristics did not significantly change as a result of the intervention due largely in part because participants began the intervention with already high levels of knowledge of IPV and a strong sense of community and positive perception of the organization. In other words, there was no room for improvement in these areas. An encouraging, but unanticipated outcome that was not present in the formal evaluation, was the desire for increased leadership participation in the larger organization. After training, women also reported a desire for greater technical skills such as powerpoint proficiency, computer skills, and English language classes.
Organizational Readiness & Future Implementation
Practice CostThis program can be implemented for about $10,000-$50,000.  Líderes are paid for prep and facilitation time for the workshops. On average, women are paid $100 per workshop. The coordinator is important for ongoing follow up with the Líderes, and their salary is included in the total implementation cost. All of the workshops are free for community members.  Food and childcare are provided during the training and workshops.
Preferred LanguageThe language that is used in the workshops should match the language used in the community. In Casa de Esperanza, all of the Líderes are Latina and speak Spanish. They serve recent immigrants.
Training RequirementsLíderes is a 24-hour training program. The training sessions can last  for six hours per week for a month or take place over the course of 6 weeks for 4hrs/week. Programs can adjust the time and length of the training based on the needs and availability of the participants.
Planning Requirements/Readiness ConsiderationsThe Líderes training is participant-focused. It is the developer’s intention that organizations adapt the program to the local issues of the community (and an adaptation guide is provided along with the curriculum). For example, it is important to understand that the experiences of Latin@s living in NY have a different experience being Latin@ in the US than those living in CA. The training curriculum should be sensitive to those differences. Organizations should also be prepared to support Líderes as community peer leaders for an extended period. This means that there should be space within the organization to ensure that community members feel comfortable sharing their opinions within the larger organization. Organizational staff should be ready to listen and support Líderes leadership capacity. 
Caveats/CautionsIt would not be appropriate to have women currently in crisis be trained as Líderes. In order to implement the Líderes curriculum, an organization should value collaborative leadership and actively practice an empowerment-based approach to leadership. Trained Líderes should feel a part of the larger organization, able to grow into other leadership positions, and the leadership should actively support their work. Organizations need to be truly empowerment-based and challenge the necessary hierarchies in order to support and develop leaders. If the organizational context is not empowering, then the organization might not get the expected outcomes.
Training ToolsThe complete Líderes curriculum including the complete training is available for organizations upon request.
Supplemental Materials & Additional ResourcesEvaluation surveys and tools are available for organizations upon request.

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