Nahj has developed materials and training for different age groups in an innovative approach where older youth (aged 18-25) are trained as “promoters of community well-being” and mentored to form groups of younger youth (aged 12-15) in their neighborhood or village and to hold weekly meetings with different purposeful activities. The trained youth create an environment for the younger youth to think deeply about critical questions, to raise their awareness about their role in society and to discover their talents and use them for the common good. They focus on the following components:
Group discussions based on study material that is drawn from organizations working in the development field in different parts of the world and has been translated into Arabic. The material consists of several books and includes inspiring stories about youth from different cultures that encourage the youth to think about their own talents and goals. Some texts and exercises focus on enhancing language skills while others focus on scientific thinking.
Service projects are chosen and carried out by the group based on the needs they see in their communities. The service projects gradually become more complex as the capacity of the youth to plan, carry out and evaluate such projects are built. Once in a while, all the groups, in consultation with the local CBO and other stakeholders, carry out a collective service project that is more visible to the community and has a greater impact.
Useful and meaningful complementary activities such as sports, arts, crafts and outings. These activities are selected to emphasize a concept or a morale in the story that the youth read. In addition, the activities help the youth to work as a team and discover their talents and capabilities. Such activities are selected with care ensuring that they are collaborative and meaningful and aim at building certain skills through practice.
The concept of creating youth groups that serve as an environment of mutual support, combined with the different components of the program, address the fundamental issue of disempowerment in a creative and practical way. The project is owned by the community, adaptable to local requirements and cost-effective. Furthermore, it is envisioned that the youth benefitting from participation in the youth groups eventually become “promoters” themselves and continue the work with the younger generations. From what we have seen from our initial efforts with this program, we are convinced that it will lead to a new generation of youth, constructively participating in the affairs of their communities and of society at large.