CHOICES AND CHANGE.
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Merundoi takes war on gender based violence to schools

2013-01-28

The Ministry of Human Services and Merundoi Incorporated have taken the fight against gender based violence to several city schools in an attempt to ‘nip the problem in the bud’.
The two agencies have embarked on an enlightenment programme to show cause and effect of the problem. They said they are seeking to help youths understand the issue and the manner in which it should be dealt with.

Durwin Humphrey, Project Manager at Merundoi Inc. said that the programme which is being funded by United States Agency for International Development, is designed to deal with gender based violence and its effect on the community. He stated that the agencies are targeting the schools and dealing with issues that may affect children when they are exposed.

Since Merundoi’s focus is on public education with an aim of bringing about behavior change, Humphrey said that the programme should influence the students and, “plant the seed that would encourage them to stay away from gender based violence.”

While gender based violence itself seems to be on the rise in the society, the project manager said that the goal is to deal with the issue before it reaches the crisis stage. Humphrey pointed out that the programme will encourage students to branch out and look at their life skills and how they deal with various issues that may, in the long run, contribute to gender based violence.

The programme is based mainly on discussions, but the children will also get the opportunity to watch plays, drama and then ask and answer questions on the matter. Discussions fall on various issues that contribute to gender based violence, including actions that can be taken to prevent or soothe violent situations between the two sexes.

What Humphrey highlighted as the driving force behind the activities is the change and awareness which the programme is intended to promote. He added that apart from the five schools they have already visited and have attained positive feedback, during this week, more schools will benefit from the program.

Minister of Human Services Jennifer Webster has continuously indicated her concerns in relation to the growing number of gender based crimes. She has also pointed out the negative impact the issue could have on youths living in a home with domestic violence.

The Minister highlighted the need for supporting and monitoring families facing such problems. She said, “The home is the first and most formative frame of reference on which a child models his or her life.”‘It is imperative that values and virtues are instilled in the lives of children since it is of paramount importance that they are given equal opportunities and treatment.”

Apart from the home it was highlighted that training and awareness could be taken to the schools where students could learn about dealing with the issue on a more collective basis. They would have the opportunity to ask the experts burning questions while witnessing first hand scenarios that can possibility befall them.

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