The pedagogy of the oppressed
Parts of the programme are inspired by the ideas of the Brazilian teacher Paulo Freire (1921-1997), who is one of the central international figures in dialogue pedagogy. Freire wrote the book "Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, and his teaching method is an instrument to mobilise young people through literacy and awareness raising.
Freire wanted to make education a liberating development process, which would make the world more recognisable to the student. He wanted to "live the culture of silence", and through his pedagogical method, give people who were oppressed the ability to "regain the story of themselves", as he put it.
Involvement and decision making
Over the course of the programme, the adolescents themselves are largely involved in shaping the programme. The animator's job is to facilitate a good environment for dialogue within the group. The adolescents identify problems within their local community that they would like to address. They then describe and define the situation themselves and reflect on the root causes. Finally, the group devises a plan for how they will address the situation together. What can they do to combat these challenges, even in situations where the starting point is difficult?
Utilising cultural forms of expression
Music, dance and drama are important elements in many cultures. In public school, there is little room for these forms of expression. In SF’s Adolescent Empowerment Programme, singing and drama play important roles in the pedagogic approach. The adolescents create performances depicting their current situations and dilemmas that are typical of life in the village. These plays are often shown in public and contribute to the project being anchored in the local community and knowledge sharing.
The animators have a very important role and are most often young women who are recruited locally. This is important to start a safe and productive dialogue in the group. They have completed basic education and often upper secondary education. As animators, they receive their own training, and each month they receive one to two days of follow-up and further education.
At each center, a support group is established consisting of adults from the village, often parents and local leaders. These individuals have local influence and trust to support the participating adolescents. These support groups play a large role in the success of the Adolescent Empowerment Programme.