Program Goal / Need: The pilot initiative, which was funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), aimed to reduce school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV. Since the pilot ended in 2008, international organizations in Malawi and other countries have incorporated Safe Schools materials into their initiatives that address SRGBV.
Program Description: In both Malawi and Ghana, DevTech worked closely with civil society and community organizations in efforts to develop an integrated set of interventions to reduce SRGBV. The Safe Schools interventions targeted students ages10 to 14 years. Program tools or outputs included the Doorway series of three training modules for students, community counselors, and teachers. During the pilot, 359 teachers and 80 peer leaders received training on providing the Doorways program to students, and 240 community counselors and teachers were trained in basic listening skills; children’s rights and responsibilities; and methods to prevent, respond to, and report SRGBV incidents. In addition, community networks were established in Malawi and Ghana to prevent and respond to school violence. Safe Schools staff collaborated with the respective ministries of education and teachers’ unions to consolidate existing versions of the Teachers’ Code of Conduct into one Code of Conduct that addressed SRGBV and was acceptable to all stakeholders.
Program Results: Four years since the close of the program, the non-profit organization YouthNet and Counselling (YONECO), a grantee under the original program, continues to use the Doorways training manuals to address school violence in Malawi. Save the Children and Plan International have also adopted Safe Schools training materials in several countries, including Haiti and Senegal. In addition, USAID has translated the Safe Schools training materials into Arabic, Russian, French, and Spanish, and has posted them on its website. In 2011, USAID showcased the Safe School program’s significant achievements in the September 2011 issue of its premier publication, Frontlines. In March 2012, Safe Schools was mentioned in USAID’s new Gender Policy.