Tackling gender-based violence before it starts

As part of a project addressing gender-based violence, we’re helping children in Vanuatu to develop healthy gender relationships.

 

This project is funded by the Australian Government through

 

 

Addressing gender-based violence

Our Pacific and Timor-Leste Reducing Gender-Based Violence Project operates in Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Timor-Leste. It addresses the attitudes and behaviours causing gender-based violence using World Vision’s Channels of Hope for Gender approach.

Channels of Hope for Gender explores gender issues from a faith perspective. This reflects the strong influence of faith in this context, with 83-96 percent of people across the three countries identifying as Christian.

We work with a range of people, including faith leaders and their spouses, community groups and leaders, police and other partners. Through workshops and activities, we support them in learning about gender issues and how to create change in their own families and communities.

An important part of ensuring long-lasting change is instilling positive gender attitudes and behaviours in the next generation. In Vanuatu, we are doing this through an innovative Sunday school curriculum.  

Introducing gender issues to young boys and girls

In Port Vila, we have developed a Channels of Hope for Gender Sunday school curriculum – with funding support from the Australian Government and its Gender Action Platform.

Known as Gudfala Laef (Bislama for “good life”), the curriculum introduces gender issues to children aged five to 12. It’s based on songs, kastom stories and interactive play.

“We are trying to ensure the children are hearing the right messages and learning positive skills early on so that as they enter adulthood they might have a different way of thinking or be less acceptant of violence inside relationships,” explains Abigail Howe-Will, Gender Manager for World Vision Pacific and Timor-Leste.

“If we teach the children at this young age, that teaching will shape them, they will grow up, they will be good parents in the future, and they will still model that out to their children,” says Joyce, a World Vision development facilitator. 

Joyce, a World Vision Community Development Facilitator, takes children through a Gudfala Laef lesson.

Our Sunday school gender curriculum

Development facilitators like Joyce piloted Gudfala Laef in 2016. They refined its five modules by trialling it in three different congregations.

Each of the 17 lessons has a “thought of the day” for children to understand. For example, in learning about character, conduct and actions, one of the key messages is: “We will act with honour and dignity towards one another, as Jesus did.”

In one activity, children write down hurtful experiences they’ve had on pieces of paper, which they then fold into paper planes. Their examples often include mean things somebody said to them.

Then, all the children throw their planes. After the fun and laughter, the teachers gently point out what’s left. Their message is that mean things on top of each other just add up to one big mess!

Leading the way for the next generation

In Port Vila, 24-year-old Guilaine will run Gudfala Laef at her parents’ church.

Guilaine already leads several positive initiatives for the younger generation in her church community. For example, she recently started “Girls’ Night Out” – a fun and supportive event for Sunday school teachers and teenaged mothers.

Guilaine sees the Sunday school curriculum as an opportunity to prevent violence before it starts.

“So then when [children] understand their role and their potential and their ability, their value in life, then they can do better things and violence can stop,” she says.

From June 2017, project staff are training over a hundred Sunday school teachers like Guilaine to deliver the curriculum in their own congregations. 

 

 

Guilaine is among the Sunday school teachers receiving training to run our gender curriculum for kids at their own churches.

Rolling out our Sunday school gender curriculum 

101

Sunday school teachers

are being trained to deliver the curriculum

1,150

children

across Port Vila will get to experience it

60

children

have already participated in trial lessons