Press Release September 2015: Ending GBV Through Empowerment

©NH PRODUCTIONS TT

©NH PRODUCTIONS TT

Ending Gender-Based Violence through Empowerment

Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago

September 14th 2015

“Gender Based Violence (GBV) is the general term used to capture violence that occurs as a result of the normative role expectation associated with each gender, along with the unequal power relationships between the two genders, within the context of a specific society.” (Violence Against Women and Girls, SS Bloom 2008).

Women, girls, men and boys can be victims of GBV. However, it has been widely acknowledged that the majority of persons affected by gender-based violence are women and girls, as a result of unequal distribution of power in society between women and men.

Following the launch of PSI-C’s Preventing Gender Based Violence in Trinidad and Tobago Project – MAKE IT STOP on May 22, 2015, programmatic focus turned to the Youth Empowerment component of the Project.

After a consultative process involving a six person Technical Advisor Group (TAG), a seven modular Youth Empowerment Curriculum (YEP) was completed April 2015. The YEP is designed to be delivered over twelve weekly, ninety minute sessions,  and seeks to provide young persons (18-24) years with the knowledge, skills and abilities to develop and sustain healthy familial/ intimate partner relationships.

PSI-C believes that by providing young people with strategies and tools to strengthen their communication and conflict resolution skills, this will contribute to a reduction in GBV/IPV/DV prevalence in Trinidad and Tobago. The focus of this YEP is to provide young people with the necessary tools and skills to recognize and alleviate gender based violence, particularly intimate partner violence, in their lives. An exploration of harmful gender norms and understanding the root causes of GBV is an essential part of this process.  On completion of the curriculum participants would be better prepared to debunk/reject the societal norm that violence is accepted and expected in intimate partner relationships. We also aim to encourage young men and young women to seek support services if and when abuse, in any of it forms, enters the relationship and before violence gets out of control. Through this training we aim to create an environment of social support and empowerment for the young people who participate.

The Youth Empowerment Curriculum is designed to be delivered by a team of trained facilitators.  The facilitators underwent an extensive training in July of this year, and the curriculum was then pilot tested with a group of 13 young people in August.

Here is some of the feedback we received from our youth participants:

Facilitators:

  • “They always made themselves available to talk with and express our feeling or opinions freely.”
  • “They listened to our stories and what we had to say, also let us give our opinion on the situations that came up, and also guided us in what we should do about situations.”
  • “I was given plenty space to speak”
  • “They allowed each person to speak without disturbances.”

When asked to identify the sessions that were the most informative, about half the participants identified managing anger and unhealthy relationships.  This was followed by gender and sex (the difference between them and the impact they have on expectations, roles and behaviour). Other impactful sessions included: personal values, personal and sexual boundaries as well bystander intervention.

In terms of practical skills, here is what was identified as the most practical ones that were learned during the workshop:

  • Bystander Intervention (speaking out)
  • Learning to control anger (expressing emotions, learning to respect other people’s opinions)
  • Practicing good communication (listening, expressing emotions)
  • Respecting human rights
  • How to help those in troubled relationships
  • Defining personal goals

Final adjustments are currently being made to the curriculum based on the feedback that was received during the pilot session.

We are currently seeking to partner with youth organizations and community groups to deliver the curriculum.

For further information please feel free to contact Sharon Mottley, Program Assistant at smottley@psicarib.org

Since 2005, PSI-Caribbean (PSI-C) has worked to empower individuals by providing them with key health information in ways they can understand and linking this to easy, affordable access to life-saving services. Headquartered in Trinidad , with sub-offices in Jamaica and Suriname, PSI-Caribbean has managed country programs in Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, St Kitts and Nevis, St Lucia, St Maarten, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname and Trinidad.

PSI-Caribbean’s initial work focused primarily on HIV prevention by promoting condom use and availability among youth at risk and more recently among other groups including males and females at risk and members of the military through its branded ‘Got it? Get it.’ campaign. The organization has since expanded to address sexual and reproductive health, gender-based violence prevention efforts and the growing burden of non-communicable diseases in the region.

 

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