Since its establishment in 2005, Naseej developed a human-centered “conceptual framework” formed of four working ‘concepts and approaches’ stemmed from ‘social justice and rights’ values and principles. Naseej is the first Foundation in the Arab Region that systematically work and advocate for the adaptation and application of these values and approaches through its various types of projects and activities which are implemented directly and in partnership with youth workers, activists and civil society organizations in a number of countries and across the region.
Justification and interconnectedness of the four concepts and approaches:
Young people are Naseej main targeted audience. And as “young people grow up in communities, not in programs, we believe it is crucial that all efforts to promote ‘positive youth development’ focus on the overall context / surrounding environment as well as be inclusive of all relevant stakeholders of where that development occurs.” Hughes & Curnan, 2000 (http://www.cydjournal.org/2000Winter/hughes.html).
“Positive Youth Development” (PYD):
The ongoing process in which young people are engaged in building the skills, attitudes, knowledge and experiences that enable them to become productive members and prepare them for the future.
In general, there are many youth programs but not many of them aim for ‘positive youth development’. There are the prevention/reform programs which aim at fixing specific youth problems and/or behavioral issues. Yet, the ‘Positive Youth Development’ does not aim at fixing youth but rather at helping them to develop and grow to their fullest potentials.
We can also look at youth programming and their goals from another perspective that can be summarized by the fact that there are mostly two reasons for working with young people:
- because we want them to be …
- because we don’t want them to be ...
And as youth grow and develop within communities not programs, the “community youth development” concept emerged to emphasize the interconnectedness of ‘youth development’ and the ‘development of communities’ they live and grow within.
“Community Youth Development” (CYD):
It is a simple but profound approach. Its simplicity is rooted in very basic values and assumptions that have far-reaching implications. The implications create complexity because CYD is essentially a paradigm shift. The CYD approach holds an appreciative, holistic, relational worldview, rooted in justice and compassion. This serves as the basis for all action, as Gandhi said, "to be the change we want to see in the world."
CYD emphasizes on the importance of empowering youth and adults - being main assets within their communities - and encouraging them to work together and through equitable partnerships to create positive change in their communities.
“Asset-based Community Development” (ABCD):
ABCD challenges needs-based approaches to community development by presenting a community driven process based on the principle of identifying, appreciating and mobilizing existing - but often unrecognized - community assets and building upon them to create new opportunities and positive. These assets include social, human, relational, cultural, natural, produced and financial strengths within the community. The new opportunities could, where needed, utilize external parties’ support and resources yet not as a beneficiary but as equitable partner. ABCD enables communities to develop and strengthen their internal abilities and strengths as well as their role in decisions that influence them and their lives. ABCD is a life style; it’s a comprehensive perspective towards life and living and thus must not be only linked or applied to development work and programs.
And so to enhance communities’ human assets capabilities, of youth and all other segments, including their abilities and role in decision making, development effort need to include various types of interventions rather than the service-based ones.
“Services, Opportunities & Support” (SOS) Approach:
SOS identifies three types of interventions essential for all development work:
- Provision of Services that strengthen individuals and structures’ capabilities and positively influence their communities and environment
- Provision of Opportunities for both informal instruction and active learning, as well as opportunities for new roles, responsibilities and decisions
- Provision of Support on the emotional, motivational, technical and strategic fronts
Community Youth Development is:
- Fostered through relationships with all stakeholders,
- Cultivated by competent and able implementers,
- Influenced by the place and the evironment, and
- Triggered by youth praticipation.
Our concern is not (and never was) the promotion of big philosophical terms as much as it was and still is in the concepts and approaches that directly contribute to the promotion of the values and principles of social justice in the context of the work of civil society work; at the level of individuals, groups and/or institutions. Thus for years, these four concepts and approaches occupied a good bulk of our effort in an attempt to promote and deliver them to others working in all developmental areas and at all levels. Such efforts did not attempt to impose a system or a trend on others but rather included the development, innovation and implementation of a series of programmatic plans, standards and mechanisms through a variety of activities that gradually evolved; on the internal work levels (administrative and programmatic) and in relation to the targeted groups and partners.
The ‘conceptual framework’ Naseej now has, is the result of 10 years of work, experimentation and accumulation of field experience - professional and intellectual -. We have strong confidence that this framework is an essential and necessary base for all civil society’s stakeholders, the development of their work and their ability to create real and positive change, regardless of their area of specialization or programming tools.