In the country of ubuntu ("humanness") it might be surprising to have Be Nice as the number one challenge, but it is indeed. Psychology of scarcity pushes human beings into a focus on the urgent needs of today, at the expense of long term thinking. This impacts negatively on commitment to activities like study, that only have long term benefits, but also on behaviour. Integrity, honesty, trust worthiness and law obedience have strong long term benefits, but don't help to eat today.
The psychology of scarcity is very strong. Deprive any person of primary needs, like food or shelter, and the psychology of scarcity kicks in very quickly. Getting out of it is much harder, especially when you grow up in a community where scarcity is common. Behaving differently from what you see around you is very hard, even if all your basic needs are provided.
The highly successful KIPP Schools in the USA also recognised the crucial importance of behavioural change. We are using their slogan "Work Hard, Be Nice" in our programme.
Ashoka, a network of top social entrepreneurs around the world, takes it a step further. Based on experience of 700 member-organisations in youth empowerment, they see development of empathy in children, as the most important challenge to prepare them for success in life.
We live in a society where violence is normal. With the help of the Alternative to Violence Programme we try to address this problem and try to instill a mindset of "violence is the problem, not the solution".
The main elements of our be nice programme are:
embrace difference, be different
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