Voices against Violence curriculum mobilizes efforts to address the pandemic
In Pune, western India, at the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts’ (WAGGGS) World Centre, more than 50 national trainers and youth leaders from the girl guiding movement across the Asia-Pacific region gathered for the first regional “Training of Trainers Workshop” on delivering “Voices against Violence,” a unique non-formal education curriculum that will teach young people how to stop violence against girls and women. At the end of the week-long training session from 12 to 18 December, where seven facilitators provided support in running the workshop, participants will return to their countries to conduct national trainings among Girl Guides and Girl Scouts.
“By running this tailor-made curriculum in my country, it will definitely help to clear some of the myths and harmful beliefs that are deeply rooted in the girls,” said Thammy S.H. Chong, a youth leader from Malaysia who participated in the training. “I truly believe violence against girls and young women can be stopped and prevented. We just have to start working toward it.”
Developed by UN Women and WAGGGS—the largest voluntary girl guiding movement of 10 million members dedicated to young women and girls— and in partnership with Zonta International, the “Voices against Violence” curriculum will provide approximately 800,000 young people aged five to 25 years with tools to address violence. The curriculum aims to educate young people about the root causes of violence, involve them in prevention and teach them about accessing support if violence is experienced. Upon completing six training sessions, which are designed with content appropriate to different age levels, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts earn a “Voices against Violence” badge and go on to take community-based action.
At the workshop in Pune, trainers discussed various forms of violence, explored common myths and practices that perpetuate harm, learned to conduct national or local campaigns that challenge harmful attitudes, and learned about child protection policies and working with survivors of violence. They also addressed country-specific challenges faced by young women and girls and how to adapt the curriculum according to these contexts.
The training in Pune is the first of four workshops taking place in different regions, where the curriculum will be delivered to 200 national trainers as part of the global roll out of the programme in more than 12 countries. By the end of 2016, youth leaders will be trained to deliver the curriculum to young people in Brazil, Burkina Faso, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, India, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malawi, Nigeria, the Philippines, Rwanda, the United States and Zambia.
From the Philippines to Malaysia, to Japan and Sri Lanka, the “Voices against Violence” pilot programme, developed under the framework of WAGGGS’ global advocacy campaign “Stop the Violence: speak out for girls’ rights”, has contributed to education about girls’ rights; a cyber-safety programme that reached 5,000 internet users; a campaign against dating violence; and a letter-writing project asking male family members to end violence.
“Girls and young women need to believe that they deserve all the respect, and it’s their right to live free of violence or the fear of violence,” said Azza Nasr, a trained facilitator who travelled from Egypt to help train other youth leaders at the workshop.