ACA Presentation Licht 2013


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ACA Presentation Licht 2013

  1. 1. U.N.I.T.E. YOU AND I TEACH EACH OTHER Uniting Law Enforcement and Youth through Environmental Engagement Erica Licht United States Fulbright Fellow Lagos, Nigeria 2012-2013
  2. 2. Overview • United States Fulbright Fellow in Lagos, Nigeria • September 2012 – June 2013 • Research on the efficiency and social value of environmental education as an alterative to incarceration • Background work and research interests in urban environments with a high rate of violence and large population of young adults • Developed and directed U.N.I.T.E. Youth Justice and Environment Program • 3 target communities: 30 per site, 90 youth total • 4 month duration; weekly sessions • Developed and hosted Justified Nature radio show on UNILAG FM
  3. 3. Objectives of U.N.I.T.E. • Break down barriers between youth and law enforcement • Create shared experiences in the natural environment • Teach environmental experiential learning principles applicable to urban daily life • Develop outlets for future improved communication and collaboration between youth and police • Engage community beyond participant group
  4. 4. Brief Overview Total Population of Nigeria: 168 million Total Population of Lagos: 21 million Total Population of Young Adults (below age 30) in Lagos: 14.7 million ~ 70% total *CIA World Fact Book, Nigeria Population Bureau
  5. 5. Various socio-environmental spaces of justice: Recreational room with a Ghandi quote, Ikeja Boys Correctional Center Barbed link wire fence at Kirikiri Prison Sign posted at Ilupeju Police Station
  6. 6. Emulating the Environment
  7. 7. The Environment Dictates Our Actions
  8. 8. U.N.I.T.E.
  9. 9. Bridging Justice and Nature UNITE Criminal Justice Education Environmental Education
  10. 10. Criminal Justice & Environmental Education Criminal Justice Experiential Education Natural Environment Life Skill Curriculums
  11. 11. U.N.I.T.E. Community Sites • Ojota • Organization Partner: Ogudu Senior Grammar School • Site Partner: Mrs. Bridget Unegbu, School Guidance Counselor • Youth: Secondary School Students, Age 14-17 • Meeting: Wednesday, 2:00-3:00pm. • Ajegunle • Organization Partner: Gifted Generation, NGO • Site Partners: Churchill MacHenry & Onyedika Efobi • Youth: Young Adults, Age 20-27 • Meeting: Thursday, 3:00-5:00pm. National Youth Council Hall, Chidi Street Ajegunle. • Lagos Island • Organization Partner: Central Lagos Island Police Station, Adeniji Adele • Site Partner: CSP DPO Monday Agbonika • Youth: Community Youth, Age 22-35 • Meeting: Saturday, 3:00-5:00pm. Central Lagos Island Police Station, Adeniji Adele
  12. 12. Sustainability • Program tied to three local NGO’s • Seeking funding to ensure program’s needs are met • Curriculum documented, and adaptable to further communities and countries
  13. 13. Components of U.N.I.T.E. • Community Building – through discussions, team building activities, and personal development. • Yoga – Inside the police station, with youth, police officer, and superintendent participating • AVP – Alternatives to Violence Project – group discussions and exercises around communication and conflict transformation • Environmental field excursions – incorporating group dynamics, yoga, and sharing of meals. • Community Forums – to engage peers and community stakeholders in dialogue.
  14. 14. Community Building: Gathering in a Circle
  15. 15. Breaking Down Barriers Between Youth and Police Officers
  16. 16. Building Trust
  17. 17. Communication
  18. 18. Interactive Exercises
  19. 19. Equalizing Power
  20. 20. YOGA
  21. 21. YOGA
  22. 22. YOGA
  23. 23. Environmental Excursions
  24. 24. Benefits of Nature • Equalizing platform – strips people of their titles, power, roles and responsibilities • Exposes raw personality – by removing: • constraints of the social/urban environment • including social media and technology (Phone, Facebook, etc.) • social responsibilities • including roles of being a mother/father, daughter/son, family member or member of a peer group • Provides the space for adequate personal space – for breathing, relaxation, physical movement and agility • Demonstration • Of Harmony, co-existence and balance – seen and found in nature • Preservation of the natural land – and infuses a lessons in maintenance and protection • Youth are able to develop hard skills in the context of the removal of social distractions and the platform of adequate and clean space. • Leadership – of a peer group • Communication – with others • Responsibility – of taking care of yourself and the environment • Interpersonal skills – it is just YOU and the GROUP • Challenging yourself – new/”scary”/different experiences – outdoor activities, climbing, camping, being in a remote area
  25. 25. Bringing Nature “Inside” • All of these benefits demonstrate the effectiveness of utilizing nature education in youth community and justice programming • In communities • In juvenile/adult corrections
  26. 26. Environmental Excursions Balance Exercise
  27. 27. Environmental Excursions
  28. 28. Ogudu Police Station Meeting and Tour with DPO Police Tours
  29. 29. Ajegunle Police Station First Youth Group Visit for DPO
  30. 30. Benefits of Youth-Police Interaction • Youth: • Learn how the police function and what their “real” policies are • Learn about the legal system • Share experiences of living in the community • What their interactions are like with police • What their expectations are of police • Police: • Share what their views are of youth • Hear from the voices of youth • Present their intended procedures and legal practices as dictated by policy Outcomes: • Police surprised by the degree of negative views by youth of police • United by their common interest in promoting community peace and safety • Agreement in wanting assist each other in promoting the above process • Through communication • Forums and dialogues – planned and sustainable • Community vigilante groups – community policing groups • Community events of joint support
  31. 31. Community Forums
  32. 32. Community Forums • Address the “community” importance of reducing community violence • Youth and police share their experiences in U.N.I.T.E. • Recognition (through speeches and attendance) of program and efforts by dignitaries • Participation from audience of peers, elders and stakeholders • Stakeholders: Religious, Civil Society, Tribal, Political Leaders and Members • Inclusion of community voices in continuing the process of joint police – youth – community relations
  33. 33. See External Video
  34. 34. Successes • Youth-Police Relations • Positive interaction and relationship building between youth and police • Creating an equal platform through emulating nature • Successful visits of three program groups to local police stations, and meetings with Superintendents • Community Buy-In • Forums with attendance of 100+ • Youth Skills Acquired: • Job readiness and civic skills and practices of organization, communication and leadership. • Personal skills including stress management and relaxation.
  35. 35. Impact • Youth participate in positive programs and personal development that deter them from crime and theft • Youth develop realistic understanding of the justice system, legal and societal repercussions for their actions • Youth develop appreciation for the natural environment and become local stewards • Police and youth develop positive means for interaction and become a cohort for addressing community violence • Police Officers curtail community actions and procedures to youth needs and benefits • Police acquire better practices for stress management
  36. 36. Potential for Implementation in U.S. • Community Programming: UNITE style program in target urban communities : In cities with a high rate of youth violence and history of stressed relations between youth and police; such as South Bronx, NY and Oakland, CA, etc. • Inside Correctional Facilities: Corrections officers take part in joint sessions combining dialogue, yoga and AVP • Re-entry Programming: Connect with green job training programs and green building sector
  37. 37. Please visit:
  38. 38. Thank You.