and Youth Best Practices
Income Generation, Dignity and Citizenship, Rio de Janeiro,
This initiative empowers young black youth (aged 14-21 years) from
low-income families by training them as Afro-Brazilian Beauty Specialists.
The objective of the initiative is to generate alternative sources
of income for young black girls, thus reducing poverty levels from
communities on the periphery of Rio de Janeiro. The process not
only provides the women with technical skills, but also builds up
their self-esteem as a minority group.
Resources were provided by the "Solidarity Community Program
Support Association (AAPCS)" and the federal government. The
program, which runs for 6 months, has expanded its trainee-base
from 30 in 1996, to over 900 in 1999. Students train for 720 hours
and cover courses in world issues, critical thinking, administration,
aesthetics, black culture, gender and ethnicity. In addition, the
modules provide opportunities for discussions on women's reproductive
health, chronic diseases such as HIV/AIDS, education, sanitation,
Girls graduating from the program are absorbed into the mainstream
labor force in salons in Rio, or in their own neighborhoods, thus
meeting the needs of the Afro-Brazilian clientele. The process of
inserting qualified persons in the market has been forged ahead
by the creation of new partnerships with associations, beauty parlours
Results have shown that with the increasing employment opportunities,
the girls are able to support their families, re-enroll in higher
education, afford better housing in well-serviced neighborhoods,
and increase their self-esteem. As a result, the girls gain a renewed
sense of citizenship, identity and self-awareness.
The program continues to expand by holding workshops in other poor
communities, thereby reaching more youth.
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Gender Sensitive Park Design, Vienna, Austria
In this initiative, women sociologists and planners adopted principles
of environment behavior research by studying how park designs in
the Fifth District of Vienna affect girls' behaviour in, and perceptions
of public space. A public participatory process involving the girls,
local and external experts resulted in a gender sensitive re-design
of Einsiedler Park and St. Johann Park. The results of a 'Gender-specific
Park Design' competition provided input for a new comprehensive
The strategy adopted incorporates the girls' interests in games,
sports activities and leisure preferences in the use of public spaces.
This develops a sense of ownership for public and social outdoor
spaces, and results in a more balanced distribution between male
and female users of public parks.
Both park visitors and planning agencies are encouraged to be more
sensitive to girls' use of open spaces by introducing appropriate
design elements such as those propagated by Crime Prevention Through
Environmental Design (CEPTED) techniques. These design considerations,
such as, proper lighting of park trails, increased visibility, clear
open spaces, multi-functional play areas etc, have improved many
park users? sense of safety, particularly adolescent girls and the
In the study, the design considered adjacency and proximity of
different park users to accommodate girl's needs. For instance,
the girls play areas frequented by immigrant children, was placed
next to the younger children's play structures so that the older
girls could watch over the younger ones as they played.
The City Administration, in May 2000, planned to redesign a total
of 22 parks in other districts in Vienna following these "gender-specific"
guidelines. The Office for Planning and Housing Construction Methods,
which addresses specific women's needs, is the authority in charge
of supervision of the park design projects.
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Take Back the Park, USA
"Take Back The Park", initiated in 1987, represents a
creative departure from previous youth programming in that it was
the first project of its kind in New York City that gave young people
- all high-risk youth - a lead role in motivating peers and adults
in reclaiming community recreational space from drug dealers. Since
its inception, "Take Back the Park," has every summer
been mobilizing one or more New York City neighbourhoods to reclaim
a local park that has been taken away from the community by drug
dealing, vandalism, and/or substance abuse. The program mobilizes
and trains community coalitions, including representatives from
youth, police, parks department personnel, community-based agencies,
tenants associations and community boards in collaborative community
planning. Skilled and experienced youth work with neighbourhood
young people to design and co-ordinate "Take Back the Park"
activities, conduct neighbourhood needs assessment surveys, and
develop networking between community youth and community police
officers. Participating youth are provided with 25 hours of youth
leadership and community organizing skills training, including topics
such as program planning, outreach, community problem-solving and
strategies for addressing drug trafficking and substance abuse.
All "Take Back the Park" efforts remain in action today.
More information Click
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Improving the quality of life for socially excluded children,
Kolkata (City of Joy a.k.a Calcutta), with a population of 13.2
million, is one is one of the largest cities in the world. It's
the capital city of the Indian State of West Bengal. More than a
100,000 children living in streets, red light areas and slums were
left unattended and stayed away from schools. These vulnerable children
were involved in menial labour, exposed to sexual exploitation and
never had access to formal education. The purpose of the educational
initiative that started in 1989 is to enroll all out-of-school children
(in the age group (5-14 years) into local formal schools (Government
Sponsored/Municipal Corporation Schools/ Private run Boarding Schools).
Priorities include protecting children in vulnerable situations
by providing them with shelter, protection, care and counselling
with the involvement of railway authorities, police and the local
public. The initiative has not only reached out to 15,000 deprived
urban children but has been able to enroll 8,000 children into formal
schools while reuniting them with their respective families.
The initiative also aims to sustain the effort of the social reintegration
of children through local resource mobilization and community participation
to create a sustainable environment for the children to be retained
in schools. Community-based preparatory centres, coaching centres
and residential camps for children living in slums and squatter
settlements, help ensure that children remain in schools, away from
forced labour. Stakeholder participation comprises community representation
in planning and implementation. Sustainability is ensured by forming
apex committees with representation from Youth Club members, community
volunteers, ward councillors and parent-teacher committees.
Over the years, Children In Need Institute (CINI ASHA), has created
a model in the field of education by evolving its own Bridge Course
method (accelerated method of teaching/learning) for out-of-school/
drop-outs/never been to school-children. The children are reintegrated
according to age and appropriate levels in one year's time. CINI
ASHA has designed a package of the Bridge Course curriculum and
training module in collaboration with UNESCO for training approximately
400 community volunteers to date. CINI ASHA, has also been a pioneer
in designing modules and conducting training for NGO representatives
in counselling street children in collaboration with National Institute
of Social Defence. The innovative strategies have been replicated
by NGOs and the Government at the national level.
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Adopt a Brother/Sister Programme, Chile
The "Adopt a Brother/Sister" program of the "National
Foundation for Overcoming Poverty", is an innovative programme
aiming to reduce the gap between the quality of the education imparted
on children living in poverty and children from higher socio-economic
sectors, and at the same time give university students the opportunity
to make a social contribution by volunteering as mentors of disadvantaged
children. The program was launched in 1999 and at present well over
700 university students from 30 universities are participating in
the program reaching out to approximately 1000 children from 43
municipal schools in 19 municipalities.
Stakeholders are involved in the selection process, in order to
reach out to children who can really benefit from this program.
Firstly, the municipal director of education identifies schools
situated in socially vulnerable environments and lacking existing
social programs. Teachers in the targeted schools then identify
needy students and forward a tentative list of names to the local
coordinator of the program. Finally, The coordinator then shortlists
potential beneficiaries based on interviews involving the children
and their families.
Through meaningful and affective links between mentors and children,
the program empowers children and improves their interpersonal skills,
thus further developing their cognitive abilities. Furthermore,
tutors establish close relationships with the children?s families,
thereby improving family ties through a modeling process on how
to influence the children in a positive manner. These efforts help
strengthen trust and improve access to information about possible
social networks, hence increasing social inclusion. The intervention
aims to promote social equality and therefore social mobility through
better education and access to resources and opportunities. The
university students have on their part benefited from the experience
as evidenced in the change in their attitudes towards poverty and
their renewed sense of civic responsibility.
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Mathare Youth Self-Help Slum and Environmental Cleanup
The Mathare Youth Sports Association started in 1987 as a self-help
youth sport and community service project in Mathare valley, Nairobi?s
largest slum settlement. Uncollected garbage and contaminated water
in blocked drains are major causes of disease, disability and deaths
in Mathare. MYSA has successfully responded to this problem by linking
environmental clean up with sport. Youth football teams participate
in environmental clean-up projects that earn them points in their
league. Each completed garbage collection project, for example,
earns a team 6 points while a match victory earns the team 3 points.
MYSA has acquired garbage/tipper trucks and tractors and periodically
clears all the accumulated garbage. The association has grown to
a membership of 24,000 youths aged 11-18 years participating on
over 800 boys and 250 girls teams playing over 10,000 matches a
year. More recently, a girl?s league has been established with great
success. Mathare United Football Club, an offshoot of MYSA has featured
among the top Kenyan soccer teams and represented the country in
The Mathare slums have high rates of HIV/AIDS infection. Since
1994, over 300 young boys and girls have received intensive training
and are able to reach out to over 100,000 youth with critical information
on AIDS prevention. Under the Gender Partnership Project started
in 1996, over 3,500 girls are now members. Half the part-time staff
are girls who earn wages on weekends to pay for their own school
fees. Under the Leadership Awards Project MYSA also pays the school
fees for over 50 top youth leaders.
MYSA projects outside the Mathare slums include providing lunch
for jailed kids at the Juvenile Court and renovating the cells and
toilets. In 1998 MYSA set up a self-help sports and community service
programme for 30,000 refugee children at Kakuma Camp in northern
Kenya. MYSA is run for and by the youth of the Mathare slums. Most
of the several hundred elected MYSA officials, staff, trainers,
leaders, volunteer coaches and referees are under 16 years old.
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The Alberta Teachers' Association Safe and Caring Schools
The Alberta Teachers' Association's (ATA) Safe and Caring Schools
(SACS) Project is a not-for-profit, comprehensive, violence-prevention
and character-education endeavor designed to encourage socially
responsible and respectful behaviour. It addresses root causes of
violence and crime through social development. The SACS Project
takes a holistic approach emphasizing the critical role played by
parents, teachers and other important adults in a child's life and
by stressing the significance of the entire community in nurturing
children and youth. The Project, which has a strong research base,
is collaborative in nature involving dozens of organisations and
agencies with like aims. It focuses on the development of knowledge,
skills and attitudes in relation to living respectfully and responsibly,
developing self-esteem, respecting and valuing diversity, preventing
prejudice, managing anger, dealing with and preventing bullying
and harassment, and managing and resolving conflicts peacefully.
The Project empowers vulnerable children and youth and fosters
inclusive, caring and supportive behaviour among their peers and
the adults who are viewed as important role models. Over 500 volunteer
facilitators are trained to deliver programmes locally which builds
capacity and sustainability at the school and community levels.
They use more than 46 resources in print, video, workshop and internet
formats, developed by the Project for students, teachers, parents
and other adults.
Evaluations show reductions in violent and disruptive behaviour,
increased academic achievement, and enhanced feelings of belonging
among students, deeper appreciation for diversity and more caring
toward others. The Project has been identified by a team of researchers
as the "flagship" in school violence prevention in North
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Othandweni Project, Johannesburg, South Africa
Othandweni was a feeding scheme initiated in 1995, which later
changed to a non-profit organisation. In 1995 Othandweni conducted
a needs assessment test so as to identify the gaps in service delivery
to street children/youth in the city. Two areas were identified
for implementation of two projects, namely the Street Youth and
Health Care. Othandweni aims at empowering the street children/youth
of Johannesburg through four projects: Basic Care & Human Rights,
Health Care, Sport & Recreation and Entrepreneurial Training.
Othandweni reaches out to an average of 600 people monthly through
its four projects.
Othandweni follows a developmental approach and its focus is to
fill the gaps in the service delivery system. In line with the 1994
democratic elections in South Africa, children and youth voted through
ballot so as to determine the name of the project. The biggest challenge
was to gain the trust of the street both male and female. Initially
all the staff stayed within the community and this helped to build
relationships. When Othandweni was established it was evident that
there was need to co-ordinate services to the street children and
youth. The original networking meeting has since developed into
the regional Johannesburg Alliance for Street Children, the provincial
Gauteng Alliance for Street Children and the National Alliance for
Street Children. Through the alliance a network is available which
makes it possible for Othandweni to refer the children to the projects.
The projects vary, for example some projects focus specifically
on children under 16 and foster care placement.
If other stakeholders have children in need of health care, they
are referred to Othandweni. The stakeholders are now a united force
lobbying for the rights of street children globally. Through these
efforts new policies and guidelines have been tabled, both locally
and nationally. Social amenities have considerably improved since
1994 and there are a wide range of health services available to
the homeless community. There are also additional training options
available to the street youth and guardianship programmes for those
who are in conflict with the law. In addition Othandweni piloted
the first training programme for girls in June 2001-July 2002. The
revised financial policy by the Department of Welfare now makes
it possible to include programmes such as Othandweni.
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The Youth of the willow Project, Brazil
Pinhais is a suburban community near the city of Curitiba, with
a total of 120,000 inhabitants. Pinhais, caters for 76% of all the
water supply of Curitiba and the surrounding region. Large part
of the poor population built their shacks near the rivers and as
a result, a lot of litter created pollution of rivers, and much
of the vegetation was destroyed. The general aim of the initiative
is to influence and change the environmental practices in the community,
thus creating the basis for sustainable ecological and social solutions.
The objectives of the initiative are to increase the forest cover
of water-willows (salix viminalis) as a means to replenish the dwindling
tree population on the banks of a local river. The main approach
is to encourage the youth to plant willows in the water catchment
areas while at the same time raising awareness on use of willow-wood
as an alternative to rainforest-wood for production of furniture.
The water-willow is also used in handicraft-production providing
income for young people from poor background.
The local authority has supported the project by providing the
necessary machinery and tools needed to work with the willow trees.
As a result of this initiative, 625 families were relocated; 50,000
water-willow plants were planted; 100,000 native plants were planted;
400 young people returned to school; and 200 young people, have
been employed. In addition, people living on the riverbanks have
been able to change their fuel consumption behavior.
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Prince Mohammed Programme, Saudi Arabia
Prior to the inception of PMPQ&E there was a complete absence
of a body responsible for guiding, counseling, training and qualifying
Saudi graduates for specific jobs availed by various organizations.
The purpose of the Prince Mohammad Program for Qualifying and Employing
Saudi Youths (PMPQ&E) is to create a mediatory body, which matches
the knowledge and skills of Saudi graduates, from all levels of
education, to the existing employmet requirements. In addition,
PMPQ&E guides, counsels and directs these graduates to jobs,
which fit their qualifications and acquired skills/knowledge.
The program has, since its inception successfully established a
fund financed by through contributions and donations by various
benefactors to train Saudi youths. In addition, there are contributions
to summer training programs, which are conducted on yearly basis
in collaboration with the Chamber of Industry and Commerce.
In less than two years, PMPQ&E has been able to train, qualify
and facilitate recruitment of 3,471 Saudi nationals into various
professions. On average, 70% of the trainees were gainfully employed
and the skills / knowledge they acquired were adequate from the
employers' point of view. In addition, PMPQ&E set up 4 branches
for the program in the Eastern province; established 2 women's branches,
which train, qualify and help recruit Saudi women in specific jobs
required by the employers. The Program has designed and maintains
an extensive database, which archives information on both job seekers
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Northern rural areas of the West
Bank, population 31,000 and per capita income of US$900 are among
the poorest and least served communities in Palestine. The main
economic activity of the area comprises small shops for basic goods.
Since late 2000, under severe movement restrictions, unemployment
and poverty has risen sharply to 70%. The growing poverty adversely
affects children and youth, which comprise 70% of the population
and they have limited access to higher education or vocational training.
The IT4Youth program uses an integrated model to introduce computer-based
information technology to young people in rural areas of the Palestinian
West Bank. The program involves both school-based and community-based
interventions to improve the learning skills and employment rate
of its participants, thereby leading to an increased quality of
life. The pilot IT4Youth covers a cluster of 11 West Bank villages
and communities between Nablus and Jenin, and targets youth aged
10 through 24 in schools and through a regional community center.
It provided for the construction/ renovation, and equipping of computer
labs in 14 schools and a regional IT center that will be turned
over to a Joint Community Services Council at the end of the project.
The IT4Youth project successively mobilized resources
on local, national and international levels, and across public,
private and non-profit sectors. The local partners (school administrators,
village councils and regional heads) participated through mobilizing
technical, financial and human resources, providing space for building
the center and school labs, facilitating the training of teachers,
and maintaining and sustaining the center and labs. They were also
instrumental in their role of networking with the private sector
for sponsorship of trainees, job placement, marketing and advertising
in exchange for in-kind donations, and providing technical advice
and commitment to the sustainability of project.
With 300 computers installed in 14 schools, the
program has succeeded to develop annually over 4,000 IT-proficient
Palestinian youth in a rural setting, 250 teachers, and parents
and community members. The fully equipped regional IT center in
Silet al-Daher provides an average 50 youth daily with Internet
access, computer games, educational programs and vocational training.
Youth managers organize the club activities and mentors volunteers
to work with younger members. In addition, IT vocational trainees
are placed to do internships in the community to get experience
in new skills. The program has succeeded in engaging youth in technology
through active teaching techniques in computer basics, internet
skills and more advanced computer applications, in addition to facilitating
leadership and mentoring in the regional IT center.
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EnREDando jóvenes para el Desarrollo
(Involving young people in Development). Argentina.
Argentina had a population 37,031,802 in 2000 and
this is expected to grow by 12 % to 41,473,702 people by 2018. In
the provinces of Jujuy, Misiones, Buenos Aires and San Juan, policies
related to youth development were lacking especially in terms of
skills development. It was especially difficult for young people
to gain space and participate in the community’s institutions. This
led to massive exodus of young people to urban centres and resulting
in the premature ageing of small communities.
The NET Programme aims to involve young people
in local development by developing their capacity to undertake needs
assessment and to appropriately respond to issues that are identified.
The programme builds the capacity of young people by training them
to plan and manage different projects that improve the quality of
This programme is a synergy between different tiers
of government as well as among different sections of the organized
communities. It consists of an open examination of local development
project proposals, an offshoot of the educational process in which
groups of young people belonging to community’s organizations from
different cities and towns participate. Successful proposals are
given seed funding after proving that they will be financially sustainable
in the long run.
The training process involves non-formal education
that has its basis on two different approaches: attending training
sessions and a long distance process of education. The financial
support accorded to the programme is directed towards the execution
and management of the individual projects of each community.
The main aims of these projects are focused on
promoting and establishing youth networks; building of human capacity
to plan and manage development projects; encouraging and promoting
communication between young people and their communities as a strategy
to build participation; and maintaining an information system on
the capacities possessed by various youth and members of the community.
Among achievements in the three provinces of Argentina:
Misiones, Jujuy and Buenos Aires: approximately 300 groups of young
people have participated so far in the programme while a further
1,000 young people have been trained; close to 6,000 young people
have been directly involved in various programmes that range from
health education to social and cultural programmes. Close to 34
municipalities have collaborated and helped sustain the programme.
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Juntos Construyendo una Vida Mejor(TAC),
Chile has a population of 15,665,216 (July 2003 estimates)
with a gender ratio of 1:1 and a total land area of 756,950 sq km.
The Republic of Chile has one of South America's strongest economy's
developed with substantial foreign investment and a very strong
export sector. The country is rich in resources and it is now in
the process of adding value to its own resources, moving away from
a commodity based export sector. Its GDP per capita is US$3,913.
Valparaíso, or "Valpo," is city of 300,000
inhabitants, and the second largest city in Chile. This port city
is known for its sinuous cobbled streets, zigzag roads, and steep
footpaths. Juntos Construyendo una Vida Mejor (TAC) is community
organization operating in Cordillera Hill of Valparaiso. Since 1990
TAC has been working to promote social inclusion children. This
area is characterised by a strong cultural identity, social cohesion
and has some of Chile’s unique social and physical cultural heritage.
Before the advent of TAC’s community programme, social ties were
weak and community participation in local development was lacking.
In addition, the Cordillera Hill neighborhood was also characterised
by deterioration and loss of public spaces, lack of waste management
systems, and a general lack of trust for community leaders.
The main aim of TAC is to utilize the existing
social structures to develop a community programme where the community
ties would be reconstructed or strengthened as a precursor to mobilizing
community members to improve their social and economic welfare.
The community development initiative acknowledges leadership as
a process of mediation between ‘different worlds.’ This has seen
the active promotion of participation by more than 40 partners:
Universities, Schools, Churches, grass roots organizations, Civil
Society Organizations, Public Services, Volunteers, Inhabitants
of the sector, children, youth, professionals, students, and artists.
The validity of this consolidated process is highlighted
by the tangible results within the neighbourhood: community gardens,
murals, public places rehabilitated; inclusion of young people;
and the impact on other communities. Some of the social interventions
have been in the areas of education, government and academics. This
has been possible due to the formation of a pro-active civil society.
There is heightened awareness of the environment through the improvement
of the surrounding areas. Over 10,000 community members have been
involved in strengthening the community bonds and promoting local
identity and ethics such as tolerance, solidarity and integration
of common differences. The most important indicator of success has
been the development of trusting relationship between community
and public organizations and creation of local spaces in order to
develop active and dedicated citizens.
Due to the legitimacy and permanence of TAC in
Cordillera Hill, the initiative has been able to impact in a positive
way in public policies related to local and regional issues, such
as Educational, Environment, Infancy and Housing policies. This
community practice has been selected because it is a model of (re)construction
of social fabric ties in a physically and socially deteriorated
neighbourhood of Valparaiso. In addition, it presents a process
of progressive ownership of public spaces and constitutes an inclusive
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