Who are we aiming to support and why-the target group
This program is aimed at supporting a group of young women, aged between twelve and sixteen to overcome personal challenges. As it stands, these women have exhibited signs of social disengagement. This disengagement impacted not only on these women’s emotional wellbeing, it has invariably impacted on their social wellbeing, including their school performance. Some of the reasons for such disengagement include but is not limited to bullying, family disadvantages, such as loss of parent, drug abuse and more. The purpose of this intervention is ensure that these women are provided with tools and motivation so as to re-engage with the community and maintain school attendance.
Changes that the initiative seeks to support
The initiative being proposed here is what Rogers (2008) calls complex intervention. Complex in the sense that it is both recursive and emergence. It is recursive because the cause/effect relationship may be mutual multidirectional and multilateral, Rogers (2008) citing Patton (1997). Changing behavior can be on such problem. There are no assurances that participants will not regress. The project involves different people with different life histories and attitudes.
The intervention is emergence in the sense that the specific outcomes and means to achieve them emerge during implementation, as explained by Rogers (2008). This is due to the notion that the intervention is a wicked problem. Wicked in that what is being dealt with maybe a symptom of other problems, there is no right and wrong or true and false and failure may not be tolerated , Rittel and Weber (1973).
Process or Sequence of change
The process started with the recruitment of 10 women in years seven to ten, aged between 10 and 12. These women were judged to be suitable for the intervention because they exhibited signs of disengagement from the community. The program was to run weekly basis for three hours per session. Two schools were picked to host the program, with sessions run by an arts professional. The classroom is set out to provide a safe environment, which allows for better interaction amongst participants. The women have access to mentors as well.
Tools provided include artwork materials such as pushes, canvases, table easels, aprons and oil paints. The main activity required participants to reproduce easily recognizable impressionistic masterpieces. Which allowed for novices to produce own art works that reflected own abilities. Which led to the women absorbing creative skills and aesthetic experience, leading to women to make connection with their surroundings. This in turn taught the women listening, observation and painting skills. Such skills would lead to self self awareness and confidence.
Apart from artwork activities, participants have access to two to three adults with whom they can freely interact. The adults are composed of a policewoman, youth worker and a mental health-worker. Interaction with these individuals leads to participants gaining trust with authority and better mental health care and a better understanding of law.
The classes also include a meditation session, that focuses on mindfulness and increased calm and emotional regulation. This is expected to lead to self-care and capacity to manage fear, anxiety and stress. The expectation is that this would improve self-confidence. It is hoped that the program lead to change of behavior and hence re-engagement with the community
According to Rogers (2008) assumptions are informed by beliefs and knowledge. In this project, it is assumed that all the women in this program have an interest in art. While the fact may be that some women do not like art at all. This may be due to the belief that local people in the area like expressing themselves through art. It is also assumed that they will get some support from the community outside the center. Another major assumption is that attendee will continue to practice meditations after the end of the program.
At this stage, there is no support provided for the community surrounding these women. They are still living in that same environment that is causing the disengagement. This might greatly impact on the outcomes of the initiative. Avenues for interaction with other women after the program is also not assured.
Rittel, H.W. J. and Webber, M.M. (1973). ‘Dilemmas in a General Theory of Planning’,
Policy Sciences. 4 (2): 155-169.
Rogers, P. (2008) Using Programme Theory to Evaluate Complicated and Complex Aspects of Intervention. Evaluation. Sage Publications, Vol 14.