Students receive training in violence prevention

| 14/07/2017
CNS Local Life

Year 8 students getting taught through the programme

(CNS Local Life): The Ministry of Education, with the support of the Cayman Islands Red Cross, has been piloting a programme that aims to empower youth with information on topics like violence, gender and sexuality. “It’s Not Your Fault”, a violence-prevention programme from the Canadian Red Cross, trains staff and, most importantly youth, to be able to identify what abuse, exploitation, neglect and maltreatment look like and how to get help.

The curriculum was adapted and localised with the help of community stakeholders, and students from John Gray High School (JGHS) and Clifton Hunter High School (CHHS) were trained as peer educators to help deliver this pilot programme, stated a government press release. The initiative was sponsored by Help for Children, a global foundation supported by Hedge Funds Care & Private Equity Cares.

On 18 May, 26 Year 10 students from JGHS and CHHS, 14 support staff, two Ministry of Education staff and Carolina Ferreira, the Cayman Islands Red Cross (CIRC) deputy director, all underwent the intensive two-day training on the It’s Not Your Fault programme, at the CIRC.

This training prepared them to be able to deliver lessons to Year 8 students in both of the high schools. This is a unique approach by having youth as leaders in violence prevention, said the release.

The programme’s topics covered learning about the rights of the child, emotional maltreatment, neglect, understanding discipline, physical abuse, sexual abuse, exploitation, cyber exploitation and how to intervene. The aim of the programme is that through understanding, adults and youth will be better able to support themselves and others struggling with these situations.

The training provides a safe space to ask questions and get answers based on facts and situations specific to the Caymanian context. The peer educators, who received instruction on how to talk about specific topics, are also being trained on violence, power, gender and sexuality.

On 1 and 7 June 2017, the newly trained team of peer educators and support staff delivered the It’s Not Your Fault programme to 339 Year 8 students from both government high schools in Grand Cayman. Camila Ferreira, programme manager for at risk youth in the Ministry of Education, said she was very happy with the response to the pilot: “Research suggests that people are more receptive to receiving information, and as a result change their attitudes and behaviours, if they believe the messenger is similar to them and faces the same concerns and pressures.

“For this reason, we chose to pilot a programme that uses the peer educator methodology, so that our own students could be armed with and disseminate this incredibly important information regarding child abuse and violence (information and prevention) as well as resources for getting help. The task was not an easy one, it required a lot of work, but our students stepped up to the plate and did a fantastic job.”

Lisa Evanoff, of the Canadian Red Cross, said she was very impressed with the students who took part in the programme. “The John Gray and Clifton Hunter high school students were incredible to work with. They were respectful, participatory and engaged throughout the two-day training,” she said.

“They were thoughtful and insightful in their responses around violence and prevention. They showed incredible concern about the ways children can be hurt and demonstrated passion to educate and create safe environments.”

Help for Children only provides grants for proven methods that have shown efficacy in the prevention and treatment of child abuse. Youth serving as positive influences and leaders in violence prevention will be a key factor in this programme’s efficacy and the feedback received so far has been positive, stated the press release.

The peer educators and support staff educated Year 8 high school students throughout last month. Parents are now encouraged to have conversations with their children to help them process the lessons received.

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Category: Education, High School, Schools

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