Celebrating East African Writing!
Prevention of crime among the children and the youth in our community is not an easy task, in fact it is just like fishing. Traditional fishing requires that you use a peculiar type of bait made from a concoction of traditional leaves mixed with pepper. The fish gets drunk and staggers drowsily while floating on water so that the fisherman could just swim and grab them with easy access.
Similarly, safe communities commence with initiative among individual master minds that influence others just like the sophisticated old school fishing bait to have a huge catch. Community participation and mobilization is really fundamental towards sensitizing the youth and the children to have self-initiative in the utilization of their available resources.
Instead of one becoming idle or eating popcorn while watching television the whole day and cooking up evil schemes, youths can form groups and children’s clubs that help in bringing a positive impact in their society. They can set up a community group fund in this case; each member could contribute daily from as little as ten shillings and open their own bank account and use that money to promulgate their own projects. It really works out for the better when they, for example, meet to pick up refuse and dispose it effectively in nearby garbage dumps or even taking it themselves to the incinerators.
There is an African adage that says little by little fills up the measure. Hence, doing simple tasks like putting up stones, building corridors, verandahs and pavements to prevent mud during rainy seasons goes a long way in improving the environment’s sanitation. Creatively wise children and youth could channel their angers to these activities as opposed to social ills. Morocco, a young articulate Emcee was once rapping about his scriptural version of rewinding the hands of time and he was expounding on putting elevators on the tower of Babel so that youths could reach heaven.
Consequently, for the latter to reach self actualization they can have their own income generating activities while doing intersectional collaboration concurrently. They will definitely have to labor towards upgrading their own living standards be it in slums in connect code with water, housing and sewerage systems, agriculture, telecommunications, roads and transport infrastructure and social services.
Policy makers, community based organizations and non governmental organizations can only chip in where they see initiative hence the youth can create strong partnerships and for instance collect garbage and afterwards approach relevant affiliate organizations who undertake such services for small reasonable payments.
They can effectively put in good use the youth enterprise fund by coming up with economically viable businesses, organizing for social gatherings where there is a hip-hop music, graffiti, break dancing, acting, poetry and face painting accompanied by social advocacy programmes. This tremendously demonstrates the spirit of pulling together to curb crime. Of course such opportunities will promote young entrepreneurship and talent through selling their merchandise including movies, DVDs, CDs, T-Shirts, bags and other accessories.
Knowledge is power, hence, education is the best tool young people can acquire. They can empower themselves by seeking to help a youth who slaps another one so an ambulance could check in quick by ensuring that they get anger management classes. Extremely ferocious mobs will need to be taught group decision making skills and how they can solve a conflict and reach a consensus. For example a peace keeper in a youth committee will call for a few moments of silence when there is a dramatic increase in tension and angers flare out of control. The ones with guns and ammunition will be asked to surrender them to the nearest local authorities.
On sexual crime prevention, child abuse and rape in the society, the children and the youth need to reach out and be given background information on the subject and equipping them with some basic protective tools. One reference work on the subject of child abuse quotes a convicted molester as saying “Give me a kid who knows nothing about sex and you have given me the next victim”.
Another contributing factor to crime in the society is alcohol and drug abuse and the youth’s role is to seek those who need help so that they could assist them to stop the addiction, rehabilitation, counseling and introducing them to support groups e.g. the Alcoholic Anonymous Youth Groups. I have seen youths attending seminars, presentations and workshops on practical ways of keeping alcoholism in check; drinking so much water, eating well, spacing one’s drinks, not drinking too much and being in the company of one’s own driver.
Simple techniques like youth cautioning their peers against being drunk and driving while at the same time talking on their Nokia’s is recommended. The youths can take lessons on the side effects of drugs like bhang, cigarettes, khart (miraa) etc. The anti-drugs campaigns can be extended as far as on the importance of preventing accessibility and availability of such drugs to children and youth at large. Community policing is yet another important strategy since the latter can help the police in bringing to book community’s notorious local drug traffickers.
© Kevin Ovita Teddy 2009 [Wasanii Mtaani Network]
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