Persévérance scolaire des jeunes autochtones

Accompaniment : supporting implementation of School Persistence for Aboriginal Youth’s projects

17 November 2015

The impact of the financing, provided by the Fonds pour la persévérance scolaire des jeunes autochtones (FPSJA), have been identified by the evaluation of the 22 projects financed. The report produced by the researcher Natasha Blanchet-Cohen and her team, from Concordia University has increased the knowledge of the strategies to be adopted by the organisations to enhance the management and implementation of further PSJA projects as well as the accompaniment that can be provided.

Though he is lodged within the aboriginal community, Sebastian is a little disheartened; he has some difficulties to get youth on board with the project ‘’Storytelling on Stage’’, which had work really well in other reserve. In addition, the premises dedicated to the project has been reallocated to the new education committee. Sylvia, the accompanist of the project, made a suggestion to approach the village elders to get their support and advice; her guess is tat it could help with the success of the project.

After a first meeting, Sebastian accept Melinda’s offer (an elder) who proposed to support him through the process with her nephew Simon (16 years old). Seven months later, a group of 9 youth (12 to 17 years old) inspired by a storytelling adapted it, with Sebastian, Melinda and Simon’s support. They modernised the story, included three slam performance and were accompanied by the large drum rhythm. Frederic (the principal of the school from next town) was invited to the show by Sylvia and Sebastian. After the show he proposed to the group to perform at the school; they proudly accept the offer.

The evaluation report revealed that the accompanist’s active listening, combined with the sensibility and awareness to answer to the real needs and community interest, facilitate the implementation and the success of the projects. The following testimony by a promoter of a youth aboriginal project illustrate the importance of the accompanist support (translated) « Well, I don’t think that I could have evaluated as precisely my resources if [the accompanist] did not ask questions, or if he would not have suggested ideas. If he would not have emphasized the importance of analysing and evaluating our resources, I am not sure that we would have done [the project] this way. »

It is frequent that a project schedule is jeopardized for different reasons; among other things, the employees turnover, lack of space, the length of time necessary to create interpersonal relationship with youth, and also with the community residents.

The evaluation also focused on the school the partnerships as well as local capacities reinforcement and durability of the projects. These subjects will be discussed in future articles, which will be published within the next few weeks.

Visit the web page « Projects Evaluation » to download the evaluation report and discover the principles and practices of accompaniment as well as the winning factors for the implementation of projects in school persistence for aboriginal youth.