Gender-based violence (GBV), which includes consent and sexual harassment , are overlooked and frequently go unreported due to poor systems, lack of knowledge, or lack of understanding of the full scope of the issue. As a result, people are unaware of far reaching physical, psychological, and emotional damage that a victim of GBV goes through. More measures need to be taken to educate people about GBV in order to end it.
In Malawi, GBV presents a very real barrier to young women and girls who wish to pursue greater opportunities. While one of the options for young people to pursue furthering education is at Technical, Entrepreneurial, and Vocational Education and Training (TEVET) colleges, girls represent only 27 percent of enrolled students. Recent reports show that one of the reasons for the high drop-out rate and lack of interest in TEVET colleges is the extent of violence that is particularly targeted at the female trainees.
Over the next year, we’ll be working with TEVET colleges across the country to raise awareness about GBV at TEVET colleges and for each college to create and implement effective reporting systems.
Selected teachers and students will learn about participatory, arts-based techniques and use those skills to develop awareness campaigns about GBV on their school’s campuses. Some of the activities they may use include music, poetry, and participatory theatre, which have been a successful tool for engaging with people in an open and collaborative way. Ultimately, there will be a change to the reporting systems and more people will be aware of GBV, so that they know where and how to report issues and what they can do to end GBV.
Our big goal with this project is to bridge the gaps in the system and spread awareness to create a conducive environment for all to be free and safe to learn in.