Psychosocial Assistance for Youth: Toward Reconstruction for Peace in Angola


*Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Michael Wessells, 17028 Little River Drive, Beaverdam, VA 23015 [e-mail:].


Following decades of war, Angolan youth are at risk of continuing cycles of violence and need support in developing positive behaviors and social roles. Accordingly, a community-based program, conducted in Angola 1998–2001, taught youth life skills, provided peer support and peace education, educated adults about youth, and engaged youth as workers on community development projects. The main results included increased adult awareness of the situation and needs of youth, improved youth-adult relations, reduced perceptions of youth as troublemakers, reduced fighting between youth, increased community planning, and increased perceptions that youth make a positive contribution to the community. The results suggest that a dual focus on youth and community development contributes to peacebuilding and the disruption of cycles of violence.