Title

In search of a new model on an educative adolescent's rites of passage : a comparative study of adolescents' rites of passage in Kenya and the Vermont Wilderness School in the United States

Publication Date

1-1-2006

Degree Name

MA in Intercultural Service, Leadership, and Management

First Advisor

Karen Blanchard

Abstract

In this study, the researcher drew the attention of the Gikuyu tribe memebers and other interested parties to review or re-examine the Gikuyu community's traditional practices with a particular focus on Irua, the Historically Gikuyu of Kenya (HGK) adolescents' rites of passage. The study compared the Gikuyu art of informal instruction with the art of mentoring and rites of passage practiced by the Vermont Wilderness School (VWS) of Vermont in the US as an adapted model from the traditions of American Indians. Therefore my research question is: What new (or future) rite of passage might be created for Gikuyu adolescents in Kenya by comparing the adolescents rite of passage adapted from Native American and developed and practiced in Vermont Wilderness School (VWS) and those historically practiced by the Gikuyu in Kenya (HGK)? The sub questions are: a) What is the significance of the rites of passage in practice to the people involved? b) How are the programs and activities organized, implemented and managed? c) How are issues or concerns that affect the adolescents' rites addressed? d) What strategies have been used to address them? e) What achievements have resulted through adolescents' rites? f) What are some of the challenges of practicing adolescents' rites? g) What future have the programs for both the Gikuyu and Vermont communities? The study used qualitative research approach to acquisition data working, from an assumption that language is the main tool of imparting knowledge, skills, and value of interpersonal communications in human development. Based on this assumption the study was informed by the constructivism theory of human development, and suggested alternative way of dealing with gaps in cultural tradition as practiced by the current generations.

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