Today’s youth face enormous complexity and challenges in their communities. The challenges they face are complex and are continuing to rise. PEP Africa believes that creativity is one of the essential leadership qualities that can support and enable our youth to lead themselves into a better tomorrow.Today’s youth face enormous complexity and challenges in their communities. The challenges they face are complex and are continuing to rise. PEP Africa believes that creativity is one of the essential leadership qualities that can support and enable our youth to lead themselves into a better tomorrow.Today’s youth face enormous complexity and challenges in their communities. The challenges they face are complex and are continuing to rise. PEP Africa believes that creativity is one of the essential leadership qualities that can support and enable our youth to lead themselves into a better tomorrow.Today’s youth face enormous complexity and challenges in their communities. The challenges they face are complex and are continuing to rise. PEP Africa believes that creativity is one of the essential leadership qualities that can support and enable our youth to lead themselves into a better tomorrow.
Providing experiences that create lasting memories and impressions. These experiences make a powerful anchor reminding people of the campaign messages. Messages are brought alive through powerful role play and metaphor. The audience interacts and sets the course of the play. Ideal for groups of 50 – 250 persons
Practitioners and policymakers have spent decades trying varied approaches to preventing problem behaviors among youth and helping youth navigate the transition to adulthood. Most of these efforts, however, have had only modest success, and some have backfired. In many instances, providing information has been the first strategy tried. If only youth knew that unplanned pregnancy results from having sex. If only kids knew that contraception exists if only children learned about the effects of the drug. Yet, research finds that information alone does not change behavior. Communication is essential and necessary, but it does not seem to be sufficient. For example, the DARE program, which provided students with information about drugs, was largely unsuccessful at preventing substance use.
Similarly, providing services alone has not proven to be sufficient – necessary, but not enough. Service take-up, engagement, and retention have proven to be exceedingly tricky challenges. Scaring youth has been another systematic approach. Scared Straight programs exposed at-risk youth to adult prisoners, believing that this experience would be so traumatic it would motivate participants to abandon antisocial behavior. Nope. It not only does not work, but it also backfires! The U.S. Department of Justice now discourages the use of Scared Straight programming.
For example, punitive approaches are also common, systematically suspending or expelling students with minor behavior problems in school and three-strikes laws. These approaches have also had adverse effects more often than positive ones. For example, a 2009 analysis examining 361 evaluation studies of interventions for youth involved in the juvenile justice system determined that programs employ a “therapeutic intervention philosophy.” That is, programs utilizing therapeutic counseling, skill-building, and case management approaches all produced improvement in recidivism results of at least 12 percent. By contrast, programs oriented toward surveillance, deterrence, or discipline all yielded weak, null, or negative results.
With so many first-instinct approaches failing to meet their objectives, a new approach needs, and evidence accumulated confirmed the success of Positive Youth Development (PYD). PYD is an approach that builds on that research and experience, promising the new direction we are looking up to. Often, positive youth development approaches arose from grassroots initiatives, where practitioners independently came up with PYD strategies. Over time, evaluations have indicated their efficacy. No one says that this is easy work, but a PYD approach seems to be relatively successful. When a positive youth development approach adds to other programs, youth are more likely to be engaged, and the impacts are more likely to be visible in the long term. So, what is positive youth development? The Federal Interagency Working Group on Youth Programs provides the following definition:
Positive youth development recognizes, utilizes, and enhances youths’ strengths; positive outcomes for young people by providing opportunities, fostering positive relationships, and furnishing the support needed to build on their leadership strengths. But let us break this down. First, PYD is intentional. That is, it is purposeful and deliberate. PYD may, and should, seem warm and casual, but it is a planned out and thoughtful approach that involves training staff and monitoring whether PYD practices implementation is on a day-to-day basis. Importantly, researchers find that getting youth involved in pro-social activities, such as volunteer work, reduces the likelihood of engaging in problem behaviors. How this happens is not specified in any case. It could be volunteering as an individual (perhaps in your organization!), working on a community project, or doing a group activity with other youth. Importantly, PYD is an approach. In other words, PYD is not a specific curriculum or a particular program. A positive youth development approach implementation can go across different types of programs, systems, and settings. It can take on various forms, and it can co-exist with varied programs – an apprenticeship program, a clinic-based program, an employment program, for example.
And PYD engages youth does not “lecture” or “teach” but seeks to engage youth in learning. For example, by meaningfully involving them in a project, they become committed and dedicated to the project. They go beyond just doing things and include being emotionally involved and cognitively involved – caring and thinking about what the program offers. PYD also recognizes youth as young people with promises (not just problems). The working assumption is that all youth have strengths and that youth can contribute positively. PYD draws on the powers that youth offer in ways that are a good use of time. Not busy work, but meaningful projects or work that enhance youths’ strengths. For example, an older participant might mentor a new participant, and both participants would benefit from this. Importantly, PYD is not a “one-size-fits-all” sort of approach. Everyone’s unique strengths are likely to vary a lot, and it may take some effort to find out what they are. Is a youth artistic, musical, mathematical, or interpersonal? Maybe they have I.T. skills that could be an asset to your program? Whatever their strengths, the goal is to recognize, use, and enhance those strengths. It is essential, of course, to prevent problems. However, the PYD strategy involves building strengths, knowing that youth with greater forces generally have fewer problems.
In other, for young people to reach these positive outcomes, it is essential to provide opportunities. This include:
And, of course, a critical component of this approach is the positive relationships that it fosters. Many would say those positive relationships with caring adults are the “secret sauce” that makes PYD effective. Many children have not experienced responsible and respectful relationships with adults, and it is essential to provide that.
These PYD elements represent approaches to providing services rather than a specific program or curriculum. The PYD elements integrate into any existing program, and there is no single, correct way to implement a PYD approach. Workforce development providers can incorporate the aspects of PYD into their local program settings by infusing programs for young adults with PYD elements, training staff to feel comfortable with the PYD approach, and preparing young adults to surmount workforce realities. Although the Integration of PYD practices into programs such as workforce development can take time and effort, the benefits of implementing these practices can be far-reaching. PEP Africa understands the role youths could play in development to ensure social and intergenerational sustainability. We recognize that working with youths could be part and parcel of most of our world’s programs.
Working with young people is an experiential learning journey. We inspire, educate, activate, and celebrate young people’s achievements as agants4change. We encourage young people through “soft power” music and dance, innovation, performing arts and roleplay, meaningful dialogue, sports, and life skill lessons. We use creativity, drive, and the energy of people to bring people together. We work in juvenile facilities, schools, colleges, hard-to-reach communities to provides opportunities for young people to acquire competencies. We do this through non-formal and informal learning in our activities.
1) Young people/youths identify their strengths and gaps as they collaborate, research, and connect to the end they want to see. They explore their strengths and set clear intentions for their future. 2) They learn valuable skills that enhance critical and creative thinking and the principles of deferring judgment as a fundamental building block to creativity. 3) Young people/youth experience risk-taking and the importance of leaving their comfort zone while holding what we call “Safe Space.”