» How to stop School-Related Gender-Based Violence
13.04.2017 - Education Sector

How to stop School-Related Gender-Based Violence

© DFID Zambia

Gender and education focal points from 12 Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) countries met for an orientation workshop on how to prevent and respond to SRGBV in their region.

Across the African continent, gender-based violence, unintended pregnancy and HIV continue to be serious issues that are preventing young people from achieving their full potential. These issues are interconnected, with many of the same root causes and consequences - poverty, unequal gender and social norms and lack of access to education, including sexuality education.

Bringing the Global Guidance to the ESA region is a priority for UNESCO and its partners

Since its official launch in New York in December 2016, the UNESCO/UN Women Global Guidance on addressing School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV) is being successfully used as a key resource to strengthen the capacities of education ministries and their partners to end SRGBV.

The launch of the Global Guidance in the ESA region took place on the 20 March 2017 in Harare, Zimbabwe, hosted by the UNESCO Regional Office for Southern Africa, in collaboration with Zimbabwe’s Ministry of Primary and Secondary Education and UN Women. The launch was followed by a three-day orientation workshop with representatives of ministries of education and other stakeholders on how the Guidance can be used in the Eastern and Southern Africa (ESA) region.

SRGBV is a major obstacle in ensuring a quality education for all

School-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) violates children’s fundamental human rights and is a form of gender discrimination. It also negatively affects school performance and can lead to school drop-out, especially when the school environment is not perceived as safe for learners. SRGBV is therefore increasingly recognised as a major obstacle to the achievement of a quality education for all children, and particularly negatively affects gender equality in education.

“It is important to note that sexual violence affects both boys and girls in all countries regardless of the levels of economic development,” said the Zimbabwe Child President Mbavari (Head of the Zimbabwe Junior Parliament) who attended the event, adding that there was need for the educational curriculum to incorporate strategies to deal with SRGBV.

Ensuring that all stakeholders understand how to address SRGBV is critical

With support from the Senior Programme Specialist from the UNESCO Section for Health and Education, Ms. Joanna Herat, the participants were provided with an overview of the Global Guidance focusing on the Eastern and Southern African context. Participants explored in detail the recommended responses to support victims of gender-based violence in school, and the most effective approaches to prevent this violence from happening. The workshop was an opportunity for all country teams to work together and to develop draft action plans to address SRGBV and its related issues.

The regional launch of the Global Guidance and the following orientation workshop on addressing SRGBV represents an important step towards ensuring that communities, governments and civil society organizations are sensitized on the issues of SRGBV and empowered with tools and strategies to eliminate it in all forms thereby allowing children to reach their full potential.

Links:

·  Global Guidance on addressing School-Related Gender-Based Violence, 2016
(French version
here)

·  Infographic on addressing SRGBV (French version here)

·  UNESCO website on SRGBV




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