Appendix: Naja Project|
Naja, a Kiswahili word meaning "safe," is a rites-of-passage/prevention program for African-American girls, ages 10 to 14 years, who live in one of the nation's poorest neighborhoods. The girls are older sisters of children enrolled in Head Start. The two-and-a-half-year program, funded by the Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, recruits 100 girls who are divided into smaller units called "jamaas," or "families." Adults provide initial direction, then prepare girls to assume leadership roles. Girls progress through three levels of programming, focusing on positive relationship skills; healthy values and perceptions of themselves, their gender, and their race; and effective communication, conflict-resolution, and critical-thinking skills.