Teenagers Plus Community Based Organization

Wednesday, Jul 24th 2024

Rites Of Passage Experience (ROPE)

Since 2008, Teenagers plus (Tiplus) CBO unveiled an adolescents life skills training program aimed at equipping them holistically with necessary skills into young adulthood.

The program now in its 3rd year has seen over 200 adolescents between the ages of 13 – 16 enter into the 30 session continuous life skills program with quarterly follow-ups on progress every school holiday. It aims at creating a mentorship chain whereby older mentees induct ‘fresher’s each year and continue with own program while peer educating those behind assigned them to mentor and oversee. The aim of this strategy is to;

  • Promote leadership among the youth.
  • Create a generational mentorship forum.
  • Increase information sharing and behavior change communication among the teenagers
  • Enhance bonding and community dialogue on issues affecting the youth such as early pregnancies, HIV/AIDS, Sexual Reproductive Health, Career guidance & choices etc.

The program started in 2010 and was held at Divine Mercy Church facility culminating with the ‘katiba age group’ of 30 graduates in the pioneer class. The initial class had 18 boys and 12 girls which increased the following year (2011) to a total of 73 children an over 100% increase. The naming of each age-group is crucial as it allows the teenagers relate to historical event/s taking place during these periods. They tie this information to their own passage of rites thereby creating an opportunity for narration to future generations. This year for instance, the age group OLIN for “ Operation Linda Inchi” coincided with the period the country was involved in security operations across the border while the previous age group ‘’Katiba” marked the historic promulgation of a new constitution of our country.

The program targets both boys & girls graduating from grade 8 each year; awaiting to join junior high 1 and is both multicultural and interdenominational.

It is an integrated life formation program covering all aspects of personal development aimed at equipping the adolescents with life skills to support their physical, social and emotional transition period as well as preparing them for secondary school life ahead.

Issues of Culture, Health, Peer pressure, Drugs & Substance and authority are taught in a, Spiritual environment for holistic impact on the child.

Follow-ups are done every school holidays up to Form 3 to ensure maximum developmental support and completion of the Adolescent Health Curriculum the approved training tool used during this process.

Boys also undergo ‘the cut’ as a rite of passage. The duration is 9/10 days fully residential, offering a practicum experience of life away in new environment. This serves to prepare the adolescents of secondary school life as they adapt to building new relationships outside own families hence promoting autonomy which is one if the main challenges facing teenagers during transition.

Teenagers Plus teams up with university students from various tertiary institutions to create a mentorship outfit for the adolescents’ life skills program. The rationale is to support the youngsters identify their areas of career interest to focus and build on. Some of the processes we employ for this process include but are not limited to SWOT analysis, Keiser temperament sorter and other forms of profiling. The results are discussed between the mentee and mentor with an aim of helping narrow down the most likely career path the youngster should pursue.

Parents’ involvement
The success of this program depends on team work efforts between the mentee, guardian and Teenagers plus CBO. For sustainable behavior, our hypothesis is that parents should be involved in this formation process to bridge the natural gap occurring between parents and their teenage children in ways of relating, role modeling and association. The organization also uses the opportunity to demystify any fears parents may harbor relating to the topics covered for age-appropriacy and values. Our take is that, when parents are involved, then we can expect whichever skills the teenagers learn can be re-enacted within home settings with fewer parent-child struggles experienced during adolescence.

The family is the seed to the larger society and therefore, Teenagers Plus CBO is only honored to be involved in nurturing these seedlings to ensure a healthy cohesive and peaceful community in the days to come.

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University of Nairobi