PROJECT YERI!

Brief Summary of YERI

YERI is a social inclusion project targeting the disenfranchised and vulnerable street youths with the aim of providing evidence-based psychosocial and economic interventions addressing their perceived disparity, anger and distrust towards the mainstream society and government. YERI is a fall-out of the mayhem caused by the hoodlums during the hijacked peaceful #ENDSARS protests.

Background to the project

In October 2020, uncoordinated protests broke out simultaneously in different parts of the country. These protests were as a result of police brutality on youths in the country and they quickly gained momentum as many youths had personal experiences to share and more grievances to air. The protests put two categories of the Nigerian youths on display; the middle class and elitist set who aired their grievances in a peaceful and well-coordinated manner, and the lower class youth who have since been tagged ‘hoodlums’ due to their use of aggression and violence to register their displeasure at a system that has highly marginalized them. These ‘hoodlums’ were said to be responsible for the violence, lootings, destruction of government properties and the complete breakdown of law and order which was experienced at the tail end of the #ENDSARS protests.

The violent attacks of the hoodlums on both humans and properties adversely affected a cross-section of the Nigerian population as no one or nothing in their path was spared. Nigeria as a country is yet to fully recover from the economic losses caused by these events. Law Enforcement agencies seem to have also had their morale dampened as their operations have been minimal since the protests. It is against the backdrop of the #ENDSARS events that YERI is borne. YERI is premised on the school of thought that the destructions that happened in the wake of the protests could have been minimal or completely prevented if Nigeria as a society, tackled early enough, the problem of social exclusion as evidenced by the alarmingly high rate of youth unemployment, drug abuse and crime. 

Goals and objectives

  • To promote social inclusion of the vulnerable and disenfranchised youths by reducing youth unemployment rates through provision of opportunities and vocational skills
  • To improve the level of trust of the youths in the Criminal Justice System and the Government
  • To promote synergy and seamless collaborations among existing government organisations and bodies
  • To promote positive mental health practices and well-being in the society
  • To reduce the rates of drug use, abuse and crime in the society.
  • To improve the overall security of the Nation

The YERI 6-pronged intervention approach

YERI would be adopting an innovative and holistic method of intervention that we refer to as “the 6-pronged approach”; where each prong represents the different constituencies or stakeholders that would be at the fore of this project. These six (6) constituencies would be responsible for the different aspects of the interventions intended for the youths while also being subjects of some form of intervention themselves and honing their existing working relationships. The six constituencies are:

  • The Criminal Justice System i.e. the Law Enforcement Agencies and the Correctional systems
  • The Healthcare service System i.e. the Primary Healthcare system, the State health system, the Tertiary health system, the ministry of health
  • The Social welfare system i.e. the state social welfare departments, the Local Government system, Non-Governmental Organisations etc
  • The Government i.e. the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary
  • The Media i.e. mainstream media and the social media.
  • The Community System i.e. the Community associations and Unions, Community Leaders, Religious bodies etc