Creating safe spaces to prevent unintentional childhood injuries among the Bedouins in southern Israel: A hybrid model comprising positive deviance, community-based participatory research, and entertainment-education

Anat Gesser-Edelsburg, Yousif Alamour, Ricky Cohen, Nour Abed Elhadi Shahbari, Rana Hijazi, Daniela Orr, Liat Vered-Chen, Arvind Singhal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background Despite several intervention programs, the Bedouin population living in the Southern District of Israel has the highest mortality rate among children and adolescents from unintentional injuries. Our research questions asked: (1) How does increasing the involvement and participation of Bedouin community members influence the issue of unintentional injuries among children? (2) How does reframing of the technical issue of safety into security influence community involvement and cooperation? Objectives 1) To identify effective and efficacious positive deviance practices through community-based participatory research with adults, children, and professionals in the Bedouin community. 2) To create wider and deeper connections and cohesion between and among diverse Bedouin communities by seeding and sparking opportunities for social networking and cross-learning. Methods The study used a qualitative multi-method approach to generate a hybrid intervention model for reducing unintentional childhood injuries among the Bedouins. To frame the issue of unintentional injuries from the lived perspective of the Bedouins, we employed the Positive Deviance (PD) and Community Based Participatory Research (CBPR) approach. Drawing upon theatrical traditions, entertainment-education (EE), was employed as a way to narratively engage and persuade the Bedouins. Results Our research resulted in: (1) the emergence of several PD ideas and practices for preventing and avoiding children's injuries; (2) the actual creation of a safe and secure playroom for children at a neighborhood mosque; and (3) the creation of cascading and cross-learning social networks between and among members of the Bedouin community spread across various locations. Conclusion This study helped in reframing the technical issue of accidents and safety into the notion of sacredness and security, enhanced the association between emotions and cognition by means of experiential and EE methods, and stimulated creative thinking and the emergence of new culturally and contextually relevant ideas and practices through the PD process. It demonstrated the synergistic power of using a hybrid model that combined the rigor and vigor of different health communication approaches to address a significant disparity in the burden of child accidents faced by the Bedouins. Our study generated solutions that emerged from, and directly benefitted, Bedouin children-those, who face overwhelming risk of injury and death from preventable accidents.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0257696
Pages (from-to)e0257696
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
AGE has received a grant from Beterem Safe Kids Israel to fund this research (University of Haifa internal # 43079). The funder provided support in the form of scholarships paid by University of Haifa towards the present study, for authors YA, RC, NAES, and RH. DE and LVC are employed by the funder, however they did not receive specific salary towards the present study. DE and LVC supervised the study on behalf of the funder, provided professional feedback regarding the Positive Deviance safety practices that the Bedouin participants generated during the research, and read the manuscript last version. The specific roles of these authors are articulated in the 'author contributions' section. The funders did not have any additional role in the study design, data collection, and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Gesser-Edelsburg et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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