Uniting against school-related gender-based violence | FutureLife-Now! takes part in UNESCO’s “Connect with respect” training in Lesotho
Posted by Letswalo L Marobane on 15 September 2023, 11:25 SAST
Participants at the training
MIET AFRICA’s partnership with UNESCO is resulting in fruitful collaborations, including the participation of FutureLife-Now! in the capacity training UNESCO provided in Lesotho on its Connect with Respect initiative. UNESCO conducted the training for Ministry of Education and Training (MoET) officials in Maseru from 10 to 14 July, with the FutureLife-Now! in-country teams from Lesotho and Malawi also attending (as did the youth development manager and the regional technical assistant). South Africa’s Department of Basic Education, which has recently joined Phase 2 of the FutureLife-Now! Programme, also sent two officials to participate.
UNESCO believes that schools, and the learning processes they provide, afford an ideal and unique opportunity to deliver interventions that prevent violence, in particular gender-based violence (GBV), which is all too common in schools and societies across the world. Its Connect with Respect: preventing gender-based violence in schools, which is a “classroom programme for learners in upper primary and early secondary school (ages 12-15)”, is one such intervention. The MoET sees the programme’s classroom approach as the perfect tool for addressing school-related GBV.
The training to teachers will change not only the learners’ behaviour but also prevent the deep-rooted school-related GBV. Teboho Moneri (speaking on behalf of the permanent secretary for Education and Training)
An aspect of Connect with Respect that meshes well with FutureLife-Now! is that it does not focus only on the girl-child, as many programmes do, but it is cross-cutting and inclusive.
Expanding on the nature of the programme, UNESCO’s Dr Remmy Shawa explains that Connect with Respect is a curriculum-based approach to prevent school violence, using the issue of GBV in schools, which is a common problem, as an entry point. The resource is designed for delivery in schools with learners aged 12 to 15, and it can be integrated into an existing curriculum or delivered as a standalone programme.
MIET AFRICA’s Aussie Ndlovu giving a vote of thanks
The trainees had a fruitful week, saying they had gained an appreciation of the importance of respectful relationships—on the part of learners and teachers—as crucial in the school environment, as they positively influence learner motivation and academic outcomes, and can also lead to a reduction in risk-taking behaviour (such as the use of alcohol and drugs).
Aussie Ndlovu summed up the synergies between the two programmes:
Connect with Respect fits well with the FutureLife-Now! Programme, which is aimed at creating an environment where young people can make responsible choices and take positive action regarding their health, education and life, that benefit themselves, their peers, families, schools and communities.