The InterAction Collection

Youth 2 Youth

Utilise what works in your own culture

Jul 4, 2021

Tara Gretton

Introduced by Tara Gretton

Terre des Hommes Switzerland is a development aid agency. The organisation supports the economic, political and social self-determination of people in developing countries. It works with local partner organisations in ten countries in Africa and Latin America and primarily supports young people.

Where possible, they work together with local partner organisations. The focal points of the work are:

  • Prevention of violence
  • Education and income
  • Health.

In the regional programmes in Southern Africa, Central America and South America, Terre des Hommes Schweiz has, since 2008, been training employees and young people from partner organisations as facilitators (multipliers) of the solution-oriented approach.

Terre des Hommes holds the “Youth2Youth” training programme for facilitators (multipliers) in two modules spread over one year. In these modules, the participants practice solution-oriented work. There are specific methods for solution-focused discussion, which encourage participants to recognise their abilities, set realistic and achievable goals and find creative solutions.

Irene Bush, a Consultant for Psychosocial Support and Art Therapist, worked with Terre des Hommes for over 20 years. Together with Therese Steiner, a Child Psychiatrist and Psychotherapist, they developed and implemented the Youth2Youth Programme. This programme delivered Solution Focused Training to workers and young people. As a result, by 2020, the Solution Focused Approach (SFA) was well established as a mindset in the organisation.

In this case study, you hear from Irene and Therese and three workers who received the first programme of solution-focused training: Drucila Meireles, Abubakar Mutoka and Mlungisi Nyathi.

Through this conversation, they take you on a wonderful journey. Each worker talks of their first experiences and reactions to the solution-focused approach and how they went on to use it in their everyday lives, with their work colleagues and in their direct work with young people in Southern Africa. The difference that SFA has made in their and other people’s lives is palpable. Their stories are truly inspiring, with their focus on Youth2Youth support: how young people lead the provision of what Terre des Hommes offers to other young people. Mlungisi said the SFA has ‘improved the vibe’ of young people as they focus on what they want by inviting them to notice their existing strengths and capabilities.

In explaining their success, you will hear how they:

  • Started with a board, with a head of the organisation that was open to new ideas and could cope without knowing the exact outcome.
  • Involved youth from the outset in the programme and decided that ‘they’ (the young people) were very interested and that the programme was what ‘they’ wanted.
  • Realised that culturally they are solution-focused already and can weave cultural stories, proverbs and games with their solution-focused mindset and practices.

Take some time and ‘go with the flow’ of this conversation between these wonderful people who touched my heart with their commitment to the Youth in South Africa and enjoy wherever it may take you.

Many thanks to the team:

  • Irene Bush – SF Art Therapist and Consultant in Switzerland
  • Terese Steiner – Child and Youth Psychiatrist in Switzerland
  • Abubakar Mutoka – Technical Advisor for youth participation and social support, Tanzania
  • Drucila Meireles – Technical Advisor for youth participation and Psychosocial support, Mozambique
  • Mlungisi Nnyathi – Technical Advisor for youth in Zimbabwe and South Africa
Tara Gretton
Tara Gretton
InterAction Contributor
SFiO Contributor

Tara Gretton is the founder of ‘Solution Revolution’, is an accredited Solution Focus practitioner, consultant, trainer and social worker. Tara has extensive experience of using the Solution Focus approach with children, young people and their families across Bath, Bristol and Wiltshire in schools and in the community supporting them to achieve their best hopes.