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Building Violence Free Schools: Voices and Evidence from the Global South

Thu, March 29, 11:30am to 1:00pm, Hilton Reforma, Floor: 4th Floor, Doña Sol

Group Submission Type: Panel Session


Children are being gravely affected by a proliferation of violent and protracted conflict in the middle in many contexts around the world, particularly in the middle-east, West and Eastern Africa, and Central America. Where social and physical environments of the home and the community are hostile, schools can provide a safe space for children and adolescents and space for peace building and formation of protective bonds. However, patterns of violence often replicate or even originate in school settings. Two major international surveys carried out in 79 countries with children 11-16 years old in 2003-2011 suggest that on average 32.4% of boys and 27.2% of girls were bullied, and 10.7% of boys and 2.7% of girls were in a physical fight more than 4 times in the last year. Two out of five school principals in Southern and Eastern Africa acknowledged sexual harassment occurred between pupils in their primary schools. Physical and humiliating punishment in schools is permitted in 60 states, as of Sept 2017.
It is therefore crucial to put effective programs in place to promote peace and prevent violence in and around schools. Evidence from the North points to the importance of an ecological model of violence prevention which works at the level of the individual, family and community which can be supported through schools and good education policy. Unfortunately, there is limited rigorous evidence on the impact of school violence prevention programs outside of global north. Furthermore there is often limited participation of local practitioners communities on the design or adaptation of programs relevant for their context. It is essential that the voice and proposals of local practitioners from the south are included in program design, with special importance given to the voice of the most marginalized such as girls, indigenous and ethnic groups, and remote rural populations.
Save the Children has been attempting to address this gap by conducting a process of consultation, research and evidence review across school violence prevention programs in different regions of the global south. This panel will present a range of evidence, voices, and approaches developed by Save the Children with practitioners and communities, beginning with a global summary before diving deep into case studies across 5 countries in Africa and the Middle East.
a) A systematic literature review and consultation with practitioners in the South on the most effective approaches to reduce violence in and around schools
b) Evaluations of two projects to protect schools from military use and attacks in DRC and the Palestinian Territories
c) The adaptation of positive discipline approach with teachers in Rwanda
d) A midline evaluation of community and school based approach to gender-based violence prevention in Sierra Leone and Cote d’Ivoire

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