Positive Deviance Pilot Project
Positive Deviance Pilot Project
The Positive Deviance Pilot Project aimed to establish a cadre of youth mentors and peace ambassadors in at-risk communities to serve as role models and catalysts for change. Mon Repos, Morvant was selected based on the prevalence of various social problems that existed in the area including high youth unemployment, crime, poverty, social and location stigma, and drug use. The area was also chosen due to a lull in gang violence, which made it a relatively stable community in which to work.
The project adopted an approach that was different from other crime prevention programmes in Trinidad and Tobago by addressing the socio-cultural factors that encourage young people to be attracted to gangs and criminal activity. It started with a baseline mapping exercise, which identified values and assets in the community, and mapped the crime situation in the area in order to build a picture of the characteristics and values of youth aged 15-25 and the various social problems they face.
The objectives of this Pilot Project were to:
1) Reduce the number of young people ages 15-25 who are attracted to gangs and violence in the community of Mon Repos, Morvant, thereby diverting them away from a life of crime
2) Engender in youth a civic-minded purpose and drive
3) Develop at-risk youth into youth mentors, peace ambassadors and role models.
Results and Phase Two
The Pilot Project produced significant results. Whereas the youth started the programme semi- engaged and unable to speak positively about the future, by the end they were enthusiastically participating in workshops and openly sharing their perspectives. In addition, 53% were enrolled in academic and vocational programmes with the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), MIC Institute of Technology and the University of Trinidad and Tobago. 80% of the participants graduated into Phase Two and 53% have completed training to become certified mediators. Notably, one young person was employed by the UNDP.
Phase Two of the project was designed using results from Phase One, including the feedback from the participants themselves. Phase Two aimed to continue the development of the original cohort into Youth Mentors and Peace Ambassadors with a focus on capacity-building and skills training. Workshops were held on topics such as IT Skills, Interview Skills and CV Writing, NGO Development, and 5 weeks of Mediation Training and Certification. The young people were also trained in designing and facilitating their own workshops in preparation for their mentorship roles in other communities.
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