The mission of NEPI is to find solutions to extreme poverty and crime among youth (street youth, war affected youth and former combatants), build youth capacity and strengthen social, political and emotional empowerment of youth in Liberia.
WHAT WE DO:
1. We do Sustainable Transformation for at-risk street youth
a. Cognitive Behavior Therapy
b. Cash Transfer
2. We lead the way in evidence-based crime and violence reduction program
a. We identify youth crime and violence at the national and community levels
b. We develop a high impact program that creates quality evidence to address crime and violence
c. We help practitioners, policy, and decision-makers turn the evidence into better programs and policies.
3. We influence public policy and high impact program design with the change our intervention creates in society. We strive to reduce organized crime and violence and in the long run, create a society free from youth crime and violence.
Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT):
CBT is a behavior change intervention that teaches youth new ways of thinking about harmful thoughts and behaviors and crucially has them practice new skills and behaviors in real-life settings. It is a short-term approach that tries to reduce self-destructive beliefs or behaviors and promote positive ones. Its premise that the relationship between thought and behavior goes two ways: the therapist tries to help the at-risk youth become more aware of their automatic thoughts: inaccurate or negative thinking about themselves or others. Shifting automatic thoughts allows them to respond to everyday situations in a more effective way. Changing thoughts through lectures or counseling can influence behaviors but practicing new behaviors can also change how a person thinks about himself and reacts to events. The CBT focus on youth cognitive and social skills necessary for entrepreneurial self-help, which raise youth aspirations and equip them to reach their goals. The program runs for 8 weeks, with sessions taking place three times a week, each of the sessions lasts for four hours. Two transformation trainers lead sessions with 20 participants and deliver training through a series of practical lectures, visual aids, and demonstrations.
On days when the group did not meet, forty-five minutes follow-up visits, and one-on-one counseling activities are conducted with program beneficiaries to provide advising and encouragement. Using this approach, program beneficiaries are encouraged to practice new skills of self-control and discipline. The participants practice making and executing modest plans, improving their dress code and hygiene, and managing their anger. Trainers work to persuade the participants to be a part of mainstream society, show them that it is possible, and walking them through the steps, for instance, participants have homework assignments to learn to be like a regular person and realize they are accepted visiting banks to open bank account, supermarkets, and mobile phone companies, and to reintroduce themselves to families and community leaders. By doing that, positive experiences reinforce the new behavior and image, and setbacks are processed in the group sessions.
The cash transfer will occur one week after the completion of the training cycle in the behavior change therapy, in a lumpsum payment of $200. All project participants are eligible. It is purposely done after the behavior change intervention because it is both a treatment in itself helping them improve their lifestyle, save, or start a small business or finance their education. It also serves as a measurement tool to test whether spending decision is affected by the therapy. We emphasize to the project beneficiaries that the grant is unconditional.
Policy & Advocacy on Youth Crime and Violence
NEPI work to influence public policy and high impact program design with the change our intervention creates in society. We strive to reduce organized crime and violence and in the long run create a society free from youth crime, and violence perpetrated by young people in operating countries in Africa and the world. As part of our overall strategy for social change, we will advocate for policy change and legislation that prevent youth crime and violence. We will continue to transform the lives of youth who have been exposed to or are victims of organized crime and violence, changed the social norms and attitudes that tolerate and condone organized crime and violence, engaged youth in prevention efforts and ensuring that there are adequate services and support. We will prioritize multi-sectorial solutions built around evidence on policy and systems reforms that lead to long-term, sustainable change.