Children can defeat violence by recognizing it!

2022-06-28T16:38:12+02:00April 22, 2022|News, Y4L2|

"I learned how to recognize violence, as there is more than just the obvious form" a student told us during ActionAid’s educational workshops about violence as part of the project Youth4Love2. From January to April, 20 workshops were held in 2 schools in Athens, with the participation of 106 adolescents. The themes on which the children worked were human rights and discrimination, forms of violence, school violence, stereotypes, power and abuse, cyber bullying and protection, gender identities and network creation against school violence. "Personally, it is very uncomfortable for me to go to the family if I am a victim of violence," said another child during the workshops, pointing out that children often feel they have nowhere to turn to in such incidents. The workshops were experiential, allowing children to really work on themes, through role-playing games, group work, simulations, creative expression work, and brainstorming. From the very first meetings, they studied the phenomenon of violence and its forms, while discussing how they feel about it and what can cause it. In an experiential way they recognized the points that unite a group and detected the role that each and everyone plays in it. After all, are there specific roles in a team? Is there anyone who would call troublemaker or, in the end, are there other factors that contribute to a riot? What is the role that each and every individual plays in the balance of the team? Stereotypes were another chapter that they studied in detail, as they seemed to accompany us from our childhood. Speaking of fairy-tale heroines such as Snow White, Rapunzel and Cinderella who were all sweet, beautiful and obedient women, who after difficulties, were rewarded with a handsome and strong prince, the children went into the process of thinking: "Is there a man who is not afraid? " with a student answering "the prince!". Similarly, during a role play, they hypothetically talked about a person working as a bartender with most children imagining him as a man, heterosexual, handsome, tall, fit, with tattoos, only to discover shortly afterwards that the bartender was a trans man. A boy from the group was impressed and remarked that "in the end, no matter how much we criticize the stereotypes, we keep them unconscious". In closing, a child told us "As a department we could not communicate and after the program I realized that we started to get closer, to communicate better." Education on such topics is very important in schools, first of all for children to better understand themselves and others and then to be able to recognize what violence means and what are the stereotypes that influence our behaviors and perceptions. By working in groups with children, teachers and parents, we can tackle school violence and bring about change.

Violence among adolescents through their own eyes

2022-01-12T14:03:48+01:00November 19, 2021|News|

How are we going to prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents? The project Youty4Love 2 aims to do exactly that, with the cooperation of Italy, Belgium, Greece and Romania and by focusing on five local communities. The goal is to promote the adoption of positive behaviors on preventing and addressing peer violence among youth, families, educational professionals and community members. Starting with the students and in order to learn more about their experience on youth violence in schools, ActionAid Hellas made 4 focus groups in Greece with the participation of 40 teen-participants. What is impressive is that the majority of the teenagers, reported physical violence and especially among boys, ranging from a push to a kick or even a knife assault. Something also important to note down is that none of the students who participated, seem to understand the severity of the incidents they described. So what exactly happen in schools regarding physical and verbal violence? “One day at school a group of boys started beating one boy, with no reason”, “two students right outside our school had a disagreement and after that they started beating each other”, “during a school excursion, where I was not present, I heard that a schoolmate took out a knife at two other persons of the school…because they had a fight at the past, the one boy got angry and started beating my friend hard, because of his anger”. Is physical violence and verbal abuse connected? It seemed quite difficult for the children to understand and report psychological violence and verbal abuse and unfortunately the majority of them either think of verbal abuse as a common practice or they connect it to the physical abuse: “…I saw a group of boys who pushed another boy and were making fun of his weight…they thought that something like that would make them macho”, “he was alone in a corner and in front of him there was a group of schoolmates who were making fun, because of what he was, about his identity. I never understood why. He was just different.” The last experience has a common understanding with the perception of the racist abuse as another child shared: “I saw a group of children isolated in a corner of the courtyard a boy who had recently come to our school. This child had come from another country and the children who made up this group of friends insulted him, with very ugly characterizations and they started beating him. This story went on for about 6 weeks and then that particular child decided to leave." Regarding the role of gender towards violence, the children, follow stereotypical beliefs, as they seem to believe that boys mainly use physical power and girls fight through words. But what does violence mean to the children who participated? Some of the words or phrases they shared are the following: “Bullying, different, something that does not pair with everybody, tensions, advantageous position based on unknown criteria, inequality, disturbance of normality, bad

The International Day of Non-Violence (2 October)

2022-01-12T14:04:17+01:00October 1, 2021|News|

The International Day of Non-Violence is observed on 2 October, the birthday of Mahatma Gandhi, leader of the Indian independence movement and pioneer of the philosophy and strategy of non-violence. According to General Assembly resolution A/RES/61/271 of 15 June 2007, which established the commemoration, the International Day is an occasion to "disseminate the message of non-violence, including through education and public awareness". The resolution reaffirms "the universal relevance of the principle of non-violence" and the desire "to secure a culture of peace, tolerance, understanding and non-violence". Introducing the resolution in the General Assembly on behalf of 140 co-sponsors, India’s Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. Anand Sharma, said that the wide and diverse sponsorship of the resolution was a reflection of the universal respect for Mahatma Gandhi and of the enduring relevance of his philosophy. Quoting the late leader’s own words, he said: "Non-violence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind. It is mightier than the mightiest weapon of destruction devised by the ingenuity of man". more info: Video by The Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement -

Transnational Partner Meeting Bucharest

2021-12-03T09:53:42+01:00September 15, 2021|News|

Youth for Love 2 has taken off! After a virtual kick-off meeting in May, the partners were able to meet physically in Bucharest, Romania. The meeting allowed for in-depth discussion of the project’s goals and objectives, and the development of future activities. We were also very happy to welcome some students online, who gave us their insights and feedback for the new version of the Youth for Love webgame, to be launched in February 2022. Each partner will now prepare for the first activities in their local communities. First on the agenda: focus group conversations with teachers, students and parents on their perception and knowledge of peer violence. These conversations will help the consortium to develop tools and workshops tailored to the needs of each target group. The workshops will be carried out in the first semester of 2022.


2022-01-12T14:06:38+01:00September 1, 2021|News|

To prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents The findings from Youth for Love 1 show that teenagers experience violence in their day-to-day life both at school as well as in the places where they meet outside. Many students don’t perceive their school as safe, especially hallways/schoolyards, toilets and classrooms. Other unsafe places for them are on the way to and from school (43%), in the school classrooms (32%) and in the school toilets (34%) and according to 80% of the students interviewed youth engage in violence mainly in groups. Within the community there are several actors including youth associations, sport organizations, private/public service providers, authorities and other stakeholders that engage in preventing and addressing peer violence. However, less than half of the students interviewed are aware either of people or services whom they can report episodes of violence outside the school (Italy 42,7%, Romania 38%, Belgium 16%, Greece 41%). The percentages of teachers aware of external people and services is even lower: in Italy 13,7%, in Romania 17%, and Greece 20,6%.   Peer violence is a pervasive and widespread phenomenon that can have consequences at individual, family and community levels. Moreover, the prevention of youth peer violence is a critical aspect of meeting a wide range of youth, social, family, health and employment policy objectives.    Based on this evidence the “Youth 4 Love 2” project aims to prevent, detect and address peer violence among adolescents (14-18 years) in 5 local communities in 4 European countries (Italy, Belgium, Greece, Romania), by promoting the adoption of positive behaviours for preventing and addressing peer violence among youth, families, educational professionals and community members at large who will be involved in community-based initiatives developed and led by youth to prevent and address peer violence.   Whereas Youth for Love 1 had a more specific focus on School-Related Gender-Based Violence (SRGBV), in this second edition of the project partners have chosen to have a wider focus on peer violence by addressing violence and discrimination in their interdependencies through a strong community engagement approach for building collective power against different forms of discrimination and power inequality with an intersectional lens.  Adopting the Whole School Approach, starting from the centrality of students' well-being, it will therefore work at multiple levels promoting the role and collaboration of different stakeholders including young people, parents, education professionals, civil society organisations, authorities and members of the broader community. This approach acknowledges that schools are important to reduce and prevent peer violence because they can involve many young people at one time. Nonetheless, school-based interventions need to be integrated by broader violence-prevention initiatives conducted at the community level to address the risks factors that stem from outside the school environment.    At European level, the project aims at:  Developing and testing an integrated educational programme for the prevention and management of peer violence in 5 local communities across Europe.  Informing and training 190 school professionals to strengthen their competences in preventing and managing peer violence and become the school’s focal point on peer violence.  Engaging 50 parents or tutors in a specific training programme to strengthen their role in the prevention and management of peer violence at school and community level


2022-01-12T14:06:08+01:00April 13, 2021|News|

Thanks to the Youth For Love project, young people, teachers, institutions and organizations from four European countries have drawn up some recommendations against stereotypes and gender violence Preventing gender-based violence during adolescence is still an open challenge. Despite the indications of the European Parliament, the Council of Europe, UNESCO – and despite the numerous legislative initiatives undertaken in various European Union countries to combat violence and abuse – specific tools and policies for young people continue to be lacking. With this awareness, the European project Youth For Love started two years ago to develop, implement and evaluate an integrated educational program in high schools in four European countries (Italy, Greece, Belgium and Romania). The work promoted at the European level has led almost 600 students, 160 teachers and 15 associations to develop policy recommendations addressed to schools, local authorities, and the Ministry of Education. Specific procedures to prevent and tackle gender-based violence in the school regulations, reference teachers and spaces for discussion on the topic, affective and sexual education courses, active involvement of students in the co-definition of policies and activities are just some of the priority actions for the school environment. Other proposals involve the entire educational community at the territorial level: awareness campaigns, adequate and regular funds for educational projects, reference schools for the topic, as required by the National Guidelines for the Respect Education program.

Gender-based violence during lockdown

2021-01-28T17:45:16+01:00January 28, 2021|News|

We do not yet have comparable EU-wide data but some countries have already provided initial figures showing a spike in domestic violence during lockdown. For example, France saw a 32 % jump in domestic violence reports in just over a week. Lithuania observed 20 % more domestic violence reports over a three-week lockdown period than over the same period in 2019. Read the full article here (EUROPEAN INSTITUTE FOR GENDER EQUALITY)


2020-08-28T17:27:43+02:00February 27, 2020|News|

The 3rd transnational meeting for Youth For Love was held in Hasselt (Belgium) on February 6 and 7, 2020. On February 5, UCLL planned some extra activities related to the project. The main aim of the meeting was to summarise activities carried out by the consortium so far and to plan the project's next steps and activities. On Wednesday, February 5, we all gathered at the Family Justice Centre in Hasselt. The Family Justice Center (FJC) is the final piece of the chain approach to domestic violence in Limburg (province of Belgium). From now on, a team of professionals, including therapists, nurses, prosecutors, police, and other social service providers, are all under one roof. Being so, they can tackle domestic violence in an integrated and joint manner. Dries Wyckmans (FJC) showed us a presentation about how the FJC works. How domestic violence occurs, how they support the victim and their family and how they want to do more in the future to prevent domestic violence. Afterwards, all the partners could ask some questions, and we held a group discussion about some topics related to the project Youth For Love.  In the evening, we came together in Het Regenbooghuis ("The Rainbowhouse") in Hasselt. The Rainbowhouse is a contact point for sexual and gender diversity and the warm home of the Limburg rainbow community. They support the affiliated rainbow associations, raise awareness, inform and form volunteers, the associations and the Limburg community. The Rainbowhouse is also the physical location where all associations can go for their activities. Where LGBT people, transgender people and sympathisers can meet each other in a relaxed atmosphere. Leopold and Margot from the Rainbowhouse explained to us what they do as staff members. As a group, we had a nice discussion and comparison of themes such as same-sex marriage, discrimination, rights in the different European countries. Since the rainbow house is also active in secondary schools with their educational packages, they were invited as stakeholders at the project meeting. The rainbow house was very enthusiastic about the Youth For Love project, which has given us a solid ambassador. On Thursday, February 6, we started our project meeting at Vrijzinnig Punt in Hasselt. High on the agenda was the discussion of the project's progress and financial aspects, the diagnosis and impact of the evaluation and the students and teachers support program. As a part of those support programs, we had the chance to do workshops with both teachers and students in a local school, Het Inspiro College in Houthalen. On Friday, February 7, we continued our project meeting. We discussed the Peer to peer program and the communication and dissemination plans and brainstormed with our stakeholder network to determine a strategy and receive recommendations. Therefore, we invited some stakeholders as Leopold and Margot from the Rainbowhouse and Kimberley and Emma, both staff members of the department for equal opportunities from the City of Hasselt. It was a very inspiring project meeting that gave us a clear view of the current

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