“Our experience shows that with our violence prevention programs, we can reduce by 40% violent behaviors in schools .”
We are halfway through 2022. What is the situation in Uganda with regards to Covid’s impacts?
Uganda is fully open now and a national campaign to vaccinate is still ongoing so we can say that the country has been recovering from Covid. Nevertheless, as a collateral effect of the various lockdowns, we are experiencing an economic crisis, high levels of crime, violence, teenage pregnancies, and school dropout. On top of that, 45% of Ugandan youth take drugs which is extremely worrying since young people represent 80% of Uganda’s population. Actions to support youth are absolutely key.
What are the main objectives set up for this year for NVPU?
Globally our goals were to enroll 10 new partner schools in our network and train 20 Master Trainers who will train in return 200 teachers. Once trained, the teachers will be able to implement “SCHOOLS FOR PEACE”, NVP’s
violence prevention program, with 1,000 students. We also planned to empower 2,000 youth in the communities with skills oriented towards entrepreneurship to promote positive activities and fight crime and violence. Our experience shows that with our violence prevention programs, we can reduce by 40% violent behaviors in schools.
What were you able to achieve in terms of violence prevention so far ?
Since beginning of the year, we were able to enroll 5 primary and 5 secondary schools with whom we started working on the various levels (1,2,3) of “SCHOOLS FOR PEACE”. We trained 21 Master Trainers, 122 Teachers and 1,653 students in 10 schools in Eastern and Western Uganda. Our objective is to build the capacity of our partner schools to develop effective violence prevention and management systems. These include nonviolence education, policies, committees, reporting and tracking systems.
2022 marked the broadening of NVPU’s outreach to the Western side of the country. What are your first impressions and the challenges you identify?
Over the last 10 years, we have been active in Central and Eastern regions, so we are very pleased that our work is growing across Uganda and that more schools are embracing a non-violent school model. Schools in the Western area of the country are very interested in our approach as they felt in need of support to tackle violence since there are no global policies or strategies implemented. We would love to support even more schools, but we need to work with the financial constraints of a non-profit organization so any sponsorship is welcome!
On top of the educational work in schools, NVPU is also very active with families and community leaders to promote societal change. Can you tell us more about that?
NVPU is indeed very active in schools but also with families and communities because we believe in a holistic approach involving all parties raising children who will be tomorrow’s citizens and parents of other kids.
Fighting violence within family circles is key as what happens in schools is often the reflection of situations coming from the family or the community. As an example, NVPU developed an educational booklet for community leaders on non-violence promotion through awareness, advocacy and engaging the legal framework within their communities. To promote and raise awareness on these issues, we also ensure radio talk shows reaching 6 million people every week. The programs are based on prevention messages but also on victims’ assistance encouraging them to ask for help and stand up for their rights.
NVPU is starting to work with Uganda’s universities. Do they experience specifical issues NVPU can support them with?
Violence remains one of the issues that Uganda’s universities struggle with, the most common one being physical violence through student riots but also sexual harassment from both fellow students and lecturers. Over the past month, NVPU has been holding dialogues with student leaders of Uganda’s major universities specifically on issues of sexual violence. NVP’s Global Education department developed a module on sexual harassment prevention called “STANDING TOGETHER” devoted to young adults and adults. As an organization promoting societal change, we envision strengthening the work with universities to reinforce their management capacities to tackle violence issues and specifically sexual harassment prevention.