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Being active against gender-based violence in schools

2021-08-25

Violence is one of the biggest problems that children face, harming their physical and mental health. Many children in Romania, Moldova, and Ukraine report being victims of violence that takes place in and around schools.

Terre des hommes (Tdh) teams in these three countries will collaborate on a unique project – ACTIV – to bring positive changes in schools by addressing gender-based violence. We will work with children on their attitudes and behaviours and engage teachers in building strategies to prevent and combat violence.

  • 25 schools in 3 countries: Romania, Moldova, Ukraine
  • 250 students will carry out campaigns to combat gender-based violence in schools
  • 375 teachers will promote respect, non-discrimination, equal treatment

Gender-based violence (GBV) can be physical, sexual, and psychological and it is caused by unequal power relations between men/boys and women/girls and the existing stereotypes in society. Schools are unfortunately a setting for GBV and provide many opportunities for it, but also for its prevention.

Through our ACTIV project, we aim to change the school climate and reduce GBV by addressing its structural causes such as social norms, stereotypes, and the lack of institutional intervention procedures. Students, school staff, parents and communities themselves will be agents of change and play a key role in creating a culture of gender equality and equity. Teachers will transform the school climate into an environment that promotes respect, non-discrimination, equal opportunities and treatment, while students will carry out campaigns to combat gender-based violence in schools.

We will involve children from communities with limited access to education and health, taking into account the dropout rate, the number of cases of violence, differences in school results between students, participation and involvement of parents in the educational process, and the ability of teachers to use non-formal educational methods.

How will we make the change happen?

A better understanding of social norms and stereotypes

A first step is to better understand the social norms and stereotypes that underlie violent practices and attitudes. In each country, we will analyse the situation in the selected schools by organising consultations with children and teachers. The project will involve 250 students (while ensuring gender parity), aged 11-15 years, from 25 schools – 15 schools in Romania and 5 each in Moldova and Ukraine. Schools will be selected from vulnerable rural communities, including Roma and with limited access to basic social services.

Children’s solutions to gender-based violence

Children will take part in all stages of the project, by identifying and co-creating solutions as well as implementing concrete actions. Child Advisory Boards will be set up in each school and they will meet monthly to develop and implement initiatives to combat GBV. Parents, school staff and community members will participate in the presentation of these initiatives and in awareness raising campaigns that will help them understand the important role everyone plays in reducing gender-based violence in schools.

Improving teachers’ capacities

375 teachers will participate in the analysis of the situation and benefit from our training. They will strengthen their knowledge about social and gender norms and aim to develop positive attitudes regarding gender equality. This will empower them to transform the environment in the 25 schools targeted by the project into a space that promotes respect, non-discrimination, and gender equality.

Project duration: 2 years

Partners: Terre des hommes Romania, Terre des hommes Moldova, Terre des hommes Ukraine

Donor: The project benefits from a grant of 194,067 euros from Active Citizens Fund Romania, a programme funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants 2014–2021. The content of this article does not necessarily reflect the official position of the EEA and Norway Grants 2014–2021. For more information visit www.eeagrants.org. More details about Active Citizens Fund Romania can be found at www.activecitizensfund.ro.

Working together for a green, competitive and inclusive Europe.

Total budget: 194,067 EUR

For more information, please contact: Elena Cofaru, elena.cofaru@tdh.ch