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Aban Aya Youth Project

Overview of the Curriculum

The Aban Aya Youth Project (AAYP) is a program designed to reduce rates of risky behaviors among African American children in 5th through 8th grade. AAYP is an Afro-centric social development curriculum instructed over a four-year period, beginning in the fifth grade. The number of lessons varies each year. The name of the intervention is drawn from two words in the Akan (Ghanaian) language: ABAN (fence) signifies double/social protection; AYA (the unfurling fern) signifies self-determination. The purpose of this intervention is to promote abstinence from sex, to teach students how to avoid drugs and alcohol and how to resolve conflicts nonviolently.

Curriculum Sessions

AAYP compared three interventions designed to reduce the rate of growth of violence among African American adolescent boys from grades 5-8:

  • The social development curriculum focused on reducing risky behaviors, such as violence, substance abuse, and unsafe sexual practices. The program taught cognitive-behavioral skills to build self-esteem and empathy, manage stress and anxiety, develop interpersonal relationships, resist peer pressure, and develop decision-making, problem-solving, conflict resolution, and goal-setting skills. The social development curriculum consists of 16 to 21 lessons per year from 5th through 8th grade. The lessons are designed to be taught in a typical classroom period, and last approximately 40-45 minutes each.
  • The school/community intervention included the social development curriculum, plus parental support and school climate and community components. Each participating school formed a local task force consisting of school representatives, students, parents, community members, and project staff, which proposed changes in school policy, developed school-community collaborations, and conducted program activities.
  • The health enhancement curriculum served as the control condition and consisted of the same number of lessons as the social development curriculum. The curriculum focused on promoting healthy behaviors related to nutrition, physical activity, health care, cultural pride, and communalism. All interventions were taught by trained university-based health educators.

Unique Features of the Curriculum

Based on literature suggesting that interventions targeting African American youth should emphasize cultural pride and strengthen family and community ties, the intervention promotes African American cultural values and uses culturally appropriate teaching methods. The interventions include the Nguzo Saba principles, which promote African American cultural values such as unity, self-determination, and responsibility; culturally based teaching methods (e.g., storytelling and proverbs); and African and African American history and literature.

Ordering and Training Information

Ordering: You may order the program materials through Sociometrics Corporation:
Program Archive on Sexuality, Health, and Adolescence (PASHA)
Sociometrics Corporation
170 State Street, Suite 260
Los Altos, CA 94022-2812
Tel. (650) 949-3282
Fax (650) 949-3299
Email: socio@socio.com

More information is available at www.socio.com/srch/summary/pasha/full/passt24.htm

The Program Archive on Sexuality, Health, and Adolescence (PASHA), funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the Office of Adolescent Health in the Department of Health and Human Services, is a collection of effective program replication kits designed to reduce teen pregnancy and STI/HIV/AIDS in adolescents.

Training: While there is no formal training program required for implementing AAYP, training is an essential component in prevention programs. A training program for implementing AAYP is available from Dr. Jamila Rashid, PhD, MPH, Project Manager for the AAYP team. Contact her via email at: dagram50@yahoo.com or by phone at: 678-591-7654. The training provides an opportunity for instructors to enhance their knowledge of the prevention conceptual framework used to develop the curricula and increase their competence in the instruction of the cognitive-behavioral skills that are taught in the curricula. Training costs are $1500 for a one-day training session, which includes training materials. Travel expenses are additional. Subsequent technical support is available to those who receive training at $100/hour.

Evaluation Fact Sheet

Intervention

The Aban Aya Youth Project (AAYP) is a program designed to reduce rates of risky behaviors among African American children in 5th through 8th grade. AAYP is an Afro-centric social development curriculum instructed over a four-year period, beginning in the fifth grade. The purpose of this intervention is to promote abstinence from sex, to teach students how to avoid drugs and alcohol and how to resolve conflicts nonviolently.

Behavioral Findings

At study conclusion, there were no significant intervention effects for girls. For boys, however, AAYP significantly reduced the rate of increase in violent behavior (by 35% compared with controls), provoking behavior (41%), school delinquency (31%), drug use (32%), and recent sexual intercourse (44%). AAYP also improved the rate of increase in condom use (95%) as compared to the health education control condition.

Research Design

AAYP randomly assigned 12 schools to one of three conditions – a classroom curriculum, curriculum plus school and community-level interventions, or a control group that received a health-oriented intervention.

A total of 552 African American boys from 12 metropolitan Chicago schools participated in AAYP from 1994 to 1998. The selected schools were required to have a high percentage of African American students (>80%), total enrollment exceeding 500 students, moderate turnover rates (<50%), and grades K-8 represented. In addition, the school could not be on probation, slated for reorganization, or a specialized school (i.e. a magnet school). The participating 5th graders were recruited in 1994-1995 and were followed until grade 8. The students were 49.5% male and averaged 10.8 years in age.

Self-report data were collected from participating students at the beginning of 5th grade at pre-test in the fall of 1994. Post-test self report data were collected at the end of grades 5 through 8 in the spring of 1995, 1996, 1997, and 1998. Survey measures asked students about their violent behaviors over their lifetime and in the past 3 months (90 days). Together these measures comprised a violence scale that consisted of seven violence-related items: 1) carrying a gun, 2) carrying a knife, 3) threatening to beat up siblings, 4) threatening to beat up someone else, 5) threatening to cut, stab, or shoot people, 6) cutting or stabbing someone, and 7) shooting someone. Each item was scored on a scale of 0 to 3 (0 = never; 1= yes for lifetime, but not in the past 3 months; 2 = once in the past 3 months; 3 = more than once in the past 3 months). Item scores were added to produce violence scores ranging from 0-21.

References

Flay, B. R., Graumlich, S, Segawa, E., Burns, J. L., Holliday, M. Y. (2004). Effects of two prevention programs on high-risk behaviors among African American Youth. Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, 158(4), 377-384.

Segawa, E., Ngwe, J. E., Li, Y., Flay, B. R., & Aban Aya Coinvestigators (2005). Evaluation of the effect of the Aban Aya Youth Project in reducing violence among African American adolescent males using latent class growth mixture modeling techniques. Evaluation Review, 19(2), 128-148.