Decreasing the main sexual health threaths young people face only happens if young people practise healthy and safe sex. Too often, sexuality education is either absent, inaccurate, or a biology lesson which does not relate to the realities of young peoples lives. Since sexual development is an integral part of adolescence it should also be approached as such. That is what Dance4Life does with our curriculum called the Journey4Life. A highly attuned youth empowerment program that places emphasis on three things: personal growth, meeting an individual’s needs, and giving power back.
OUR JOURNEY OF SELF-DISCOVERY
The Journey4Life curriculum is designed for youth aged 10 to 24. It uses the holistic approach of positive youth development, and contains activities to build young people’s social emotional competences so they become empowered to make healthy choices about their lives and feel confident about their future. The Journey4Life consists of 12 Encounters of 90 minutes each. The journey begins with an inspirational invitation, followed by progression from ME (building confidence), to ME and YOU (creating gender equal attitudes), to ME and SOCIETY (critically assessing and challenging social norms). It ends with a huge celebration of the transformation that each participant – we call them Agent4sChange – has achieved. Rather than a standardised educational curriculum, the Journey4Life enables self-discovery to meet each young person’s needs. Overarching activities to facilitate reflective and critical thinking within the Journey4Life are journaling, mindfulness, storytelling and creative expression.
TRAINERS AND CHAMPIONS4LIFE
The curriculum is delivered by young people called Champions4Life who we train in both general SRHR content and how to facilitate personal transformation. They empower young people rather than educate them; they lead a process of experiential learning and serve as role models. They are able to create a safe space to facilitate sharing and learning through discussions and active participation.
The Journey4Life takes young people on a journey of self-discovery, transforming them into confident individuals with gender egalitarian attitudes, and the ability to critically question and challenge existing social norms.
The first part of the journey is a warm and inspiring welcome to a learning space that is safe for sharing and expressing oneself creatively.
In the following sessions you will work together on asking some crucial questions such as: Who am I really? What do I stand for? What do I believe? What are my dreams? This part of the journey is strongly focused on building the confidence and skills to explore their own motives and decisions.
Me & You
With the third stage of the Journey4Life, the process shifts from the young person as an individual, to the relationships in his/her life.
Me & Society
Me & Society is the stage of the journey where the participants get to explore the society they live in and how they relate to it.
These are the very final sessions of the journey which aim to acknowledge the achievement of the participants who completed the program and became Agents4Change by completing their community action.
- Is an experiential, peer-led approach with proven success in building confidence
- Consists of a minimum of 12 sessions delivered in the course of three to five months. The curriculum targets 10 to 24-year-olds but is customised age-appropriately based on the context.
- Is a transformation model that tackles the key determinants that influence intentions to change behavior: from ME (building self-confidence), to ME and YOU (creating gender egalitarian attitudes), to ME and SOCIETY (critically assessing and challenging social norms).
- is delivered by trained Champions4Life, who empower young people rather than educate them; they are facilitators of transformation.
- Is aimed at changing behavior of young people; for example delaying sexual debut, practicing contraception and accessing health services.
- Is delivered by at least two peers per 20 to 40 participants. New research shows that programs that are delivered with greater intensity or for a longer duration are more efficient than shorter programs because they allow for more in-depth discussion of and reflection on cultural and gender norms that have a powerful effect on individual behavior and capacity to change.
- Is about personal growth and meeting young people’s individual needs, enabling them to shape their own journey. Currently, most SRHR curricula do not pay enough attention to empowering young people and building agency. Which means more often than not the inner work that is needed to develop personal leadership is neglected in SRHR.
- Is delivered in close partnership with expert organizations who create enabling environments and provide youth-friendly services.