Saturday, 2 June 2007

Transforming youth gangs into civil society organisations in Central America

Sarah Dobbe of CIDIN recently wrote a paper on "Transforming Youth Gangs. The Possibilities of Transforming Youth Gangs into Civil Society Organisations" (November 2005).

The main research question she asks is: "How can youth gangs in Central America be transformed into civil society organisations, and what lessons can ICCO learn from this analysis?" The report answers this question through answering the following sub-questions:
  • What are the processes behind the formation of youth gangs and the occurrence of gang violence?
  • What are civil society organisations?
  • How do youth gangs differ from civil society organisations?
  • How can these differences between youth gangs and civil society organisations be reduced?
  • What recommendations can be made to ICCO with regard to transforming youth gangs into civil society organisations?
The study is structured around 4 chapters: Chapter 1: Introduction, research questions, methodology; Chapter 2: Fiction meets Reality (perceptions of youth gangs); Chapter 3: How to continue (transformation of youth gangs into CSO's); Chapter 4: Recommendations.

Section 2.2 analyses some of the important processes behind the formation of youth gangs and the occurrence of gang violence. Section 2.3 describes how youth gangs are perceived with regard to violence, and what implications this has on gangs, youth and gang violence. The popular views on youth gangs and gang violence are contested by describing alternative ways to look upon gangs. It is also described where these popular perceptions originate from.

Chapter 3 looks at how youth gangs differ from civil society organisations (CSO's) and how these differences can be reduced. The most important existing intervention strategies are analysed in the light of reducing these differences, and their potential in facilitating the transformation of youth gangs into CSO's. Section 3.3 suggests what is needed to make the transformation happen; the author also provides some recommendations to ICCO.

Read the report.

The synopsis was prepared by Justine Anschütz to help make ICCO sponsored 'research' more accessible

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