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EMPOWER THE BOY INITIATIVE

Neglect of the boy child: bridging the gap.

Photo of Anne Marie Nzioki
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The Empower The Boy (ETB) mentoring program is a community based mentoring model in Kenya serving primary school boys age 11-14. The program gives special attention to boys identified by school administration to be at risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses. By partnering with the schools, and working closely with school administrators, we identify, and serve the boys most at risk for educational failure.

The ETB initiative aims at:

  • Helping participants in the program to achieve academically, by addressing the school dropout rate
  • Choosing safe environments to sharpen life skills in order to decrease radicalization rates.
  • Developing leadership and a strong work ethic in our participants, and in so doing, reversing the cycles of unemployment and generational poverty. This heralds the beginning of a new path toward stability and wealth
  • Building men who stand up for themselves, their families and their communities.


PROGRAM IMPLEMENTATION  (MENTOR-MENTEE MEETINGS)


Each meeting begins with a check-in round. A mentor models the check-in by sharing his teenage experience on that week’s topic. One of the most important tenets of ETB is the mentor doesn’t teach, lecture or tell boys what to do. He just tells his story and talks about the feelings he had when he was a teenager, the mistakes he made, the lessons he learned and the long-term consequences of his actions.

This approach gives the boys permission tell the truth about the challenges teenage boys face, make their own decisions on how to deal with those challenges, and begin to take responsibility for their choices and the consequences of their actions.

Every school holiday, the groups participate in a fun, physical activity like foot ball. Playing together is an important program component that deepens the connection between boys and mentors.

The schools will form Boys’ Lives Enriched Clubs – BLEC and a patron (a teacher) will be sourced and trained by life enrichment institute. He/ she will be considered as an associate mentor of the program. The patrons will be meeting monthly to deliberate on the issues. The program will seek to partner with association of professional counselors to help the emotionally needy cases.

PROGRAM SAFETY

Potential mentors are interviewed and carefully screened, and must pass empower the boy background check for quality assurance.

All mentors are required to attend an 8-hour mentor orientation, and receive ongoing feedback and training from ETB staff before and after the weekly sessions.

The group-mentoring model allows ETB volunteers to monitor and evaluate the mentor’s interactions with the boys. All group leaders are trained to spot signs of predatory behavior. We frequently discuss predatory behavior at group sessions and instruct boys and mentors to immediately report ANY concerns or inappropriate behaviors to empower the boy staff. Every meeting has at least one ETB staff member.




Explain your idea

The program works through once-per-week small group mentoring sessions and through bi-monthly workshops. The workshops bring together the entire community of mentees for training in one of our five outcome areas – work ethic, academics, life skills, safety and leadership. There will be a lot of emphasis on personal development and strategic living (goal setting, strategic planning and execution in all aspects of life). The weekly sessions help develop camaraderie and positive peer pressure, reinforcing the training. In the first phase of the program, the coordinator of the program visits the schools with a group of mentors for a two-hour mentorship meeting for the boys. In these meetings, the coordinator introduces the program and the expected benefits and general inspirational talks. In the second phase, the boys will be invited to a one-day leadership and mentoring session to be held in a specified venue to be held every term. The continuum phase of the program involves fortnightly meetings which combine learning, fun, leadership opportunities, peer mentoring and self-esteem building exercises. All meetings are facilitated by one or more Empower the Boy volunteer mentors. The group meetings range in size from 4 to 40 boys with an average ratio of 4 boys to 1 mentor. The meetings follow a program designed to help pre-teen and teenage boys cope with typical problems and issues at home and school, and bring awareness and intention to the important choices all boys face in their adolescent development.

Who Benefits?

The mentorship program gives special attention to boys identified by school administration to be at-risk of educational failure, dropping out of school, juvenile delinquency or gang-related offenses. By partnering with the schools, and working closely with school administrators, we will be able to identify, and serve the boys most at risk for educational failure. The boys will benefit from: A community of mentors and role models who listen, encourage and believe in them. A community of men who model integrity, accountability, compassion and respect. A community where boys are empowered to speak their truth, and encouraged to take responsibility for their choices. A community where boys feel supported listened to and valued. A community where boys see their peers facing similar challenges, and realise that they are NOT ALONE in their struggles.

How is your idea unique?

Over the years a lot has been done to lift the girl-child, however, the boy-child has been left lagging behind in the process. With many advocacy programs working towards empowerment of the girl child and upholding her dignity and rights, we realise that there is a long term impact of neglecting of the boy-child associated with vices such as drug and substance abuse, gang violence and dropping out of school. ETB works towards bridging that gap by thinking about the boy child too. Both genders are fundamental to the success of any society.

Idea Proposal Stage

  • Piloting: I have started to implement my solution as a whole with a first set of real users.

Tell us more about you

Empower The Boy (ETB) mentoring program is currently in the process of being registered in Kenya as a community based organisation. It has been running as a corporate social responsibility of the Life Enrichment Institute a skills training organisation for personal mastery, excellence and peak performance which result in success headed by CEO and Founder Mrs. Joyce Thairu. I am a member of the ETB team.

Expertise in sector

  • 1-2 years

Organization Filing Status

  • No, but we are a formal initiative through an accelerator, hub, or other entity.

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