With the MYI evaluation, we were able to gain a brief glimpse through firsthand accounts into what life for a youth is like in the interconnected reservation communities of Maskwacis. As an area with high rates of interpersonal violence, this program sought to slow the spread of violence using the Cure Violence model. With a strong cultural heritage, the evaluation also looked into how Maskwacis youth, staff and stakeholders maintained their cultural identity in this changing world and promoted it alongside anti-violence techniques.
The evaluation of the Maskwacis Conflict Resolution Program: Maskwacis Youth Initiative (MYI) lasted from November 2013 until March 2019. MYI worked with young adults aged 14-24 at medium- and high-risk of gang involvement and violent behaviour, and was based on the Cure Violence model’s three-part strategy of reducing violent behaviour: interrupting violent incidents, outreach work, and community mobilization. The program operated in the four Cree First Nation reserves that make up Maskwacis (Montana, Ermineskin, Samson and Louis Bull), all of which have high rates of interpersonal violence.
The RRC’s evaluation included a pre-, mid- and post-test design to establish the viability of MYI as an intervention program that prevented gun and physical violence, violent victimizations, and gang-related criminal activities. The first three years addressed performance monitoring and process-related evaluation questions, while year four addressed outcome questions and captured additional quantitative and qualitative data from participants, program staff, and key stakeholders. The final year assessed how well the program processes demonstrated successful achievement of its objectives and outcomes.