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"School Without Violence" programme in Serbia

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School Without Violence Programme – Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for Children

The goal of the programme is to prevent and reduce violence against and among children and to create a secure environment for learning and development. Experiences from implementation of this programme are included in the Ministry of Education Special Protocol on the Protection of Children and Students from Violence, Abuse and Neglect within the Education System.

The programme gives members of the school community (teachers, staff, parents, students) practical knowledge on how to prevent and solve problems of violence when they arise. The programme aims not only to increase their awareness of and motivation for action in this field, but also to influence their attitudes on zero-tolerance towards violence and to teach them communication skills on constructively resolving disputes if and when they occur.
Schools are establishing procedures and creating internal and external protection networks for ongoing prevention and intervention in this area. This programme primarily targets children, teachers and adults working in schools, as well as parents and the local community.    

Schools in Serbia – Situation Regarding Violence

The Institute for Psychology at the Belgrade Philosophy Faculty conducted a study in 54 schools in Serbia as one of the components of the School Without Violence programme. The results of the study suggest that violence is ubiquitous in schools in Serbia. The study covered 32,617 people, 28,931 students and 3,686 adults. 65% of students said that they had been affected by some kind of violent behaviour at least once, while 24% said that they had been affected more than once. Verbal violence (teasing and name-calling) was most common, followed by other types of violence like gossiping and intimidation. According to the results of the study, physical violence was the third most common form of violence after verbal and social abuse. It is almost impossible to distinguish between children acting violently and children who have been affected by peer violence. Girls and boys, old and young, are equally guilty of violent behaviour, with the difference that the former tend to practise social violence more and the latter physical violence.

Implementation of the programme started in October 2005. Currently, 196 schools, more than 12,5% of schools in Serbia, are implementing the programme (involving more than 135,600 students and 12,500 adults employed in 64 towns in Serbia).

The School Without Violence programme was launched by UNICEF with the cooperation of the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, the Council for Child Rights and the Institute for Development of Education, while the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry for Youth and Sports of the Republic of Serbia came on board in 2008. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed both between UNICEF and all the partners, and also between UNICEF and each school in the programme.

The application process is open all year round. Once schools submit their application, they are selected according to the geographical distribution of the programme, available resources and the capacity of the school and the local community to implement the programme. Implementation of the programme in a school takes around 18 months.  
       

Programme monitoring is organised at several levels:

• Steering Committee: The chairman is the Minister of Education and the members are representatives of ministries and institutions supporting the programme.
• Technical Team: Members of this team are members of the Steering Committee, experts, as well as NGO, youth and media representatives. The Technical Team runs programme activities and is responsible for the selection process of new schools in the programme.
• Team of Mentors: Mentors are specially-trained experts who guide the process in schools. They are responsible for education, management, support and monitoring in cooperation with the School Team.
• School Team: Formed at school level and is responsible for implementation, evaluation and support of the programme in schools.     

Components and Programme Implementation

1. Research – researching violence in particular schools and presenting results to children, parents, teachers and local communities.   
2. Training – training of teachers and adults working in schools on: skills of constructive communication, open dialogue between children and adults in schools, conflict management, preventive role of school rules and restitution, positive discipline, creation of internal and external protective networks etc.
3. Peer participation – working with children on recognising and uncovering violence, peer protection, building mutual trust and reducing violent behaviour between peers, organising local campaigns for promotion of non-violence.  
4. Family/media/local community – promoting mutual cooperation, encouraging the public to forge partnerships, and promoting an active approach to reducing violence in the community. 

Results

• 58 schools received certificates for successful implementation of the programme (26 in February 2008, 32 in March 2009). They are ready to continue with programme implementation independently and have integrated the majority of programme components into their annual school syllabus and everyday life.
• All schools involved in the programme have raised awareness of violent behaviour in their schools. They are taking serious steps towards implementing the main principles of programmes titled “Zero Tolerance Towards Violence – Always React Immediately”, “Don’t Meet Violence with Violence, Resolve things Constructively”, “First Try to Improve Yourself and Your Immediate Environment”.
• The majority of the schools have developed internal and external protection networks for violence prevention and interventions or are in the process of doing so.
• Schools formed peer teams who organised about 600 campaigns in their schools, including forum theatre plays, recognised as being a very successful tool for learning and behavioural change.
• Parents in schools implementing the programme received a parents’ manual on raising and supporting their children in cases of incidences of violence that may occur. It also gives advice on better cooperation between parents and the school.
• The programme has mobilised, besides the schools themselves, large sections of the public, as well as private and public companies that have donated funds for its implementation.

7 steps to a School without Violence:

• HIGHER LEVEL OF KNOWLEDGE AND AWARENESS – accepting the presence of violence in schools
• ESTABLISHED INTERNAL PROTECTIVE NETWORK – creating procedures for it to function
• ESTABLISHED OPERATIONAL INTERNAL PROTECTIVE NETWORK – identifies violent situations and takes the necessary steps to address them. 
• ESTABLISHED EXTERNAL PROTECTIVE NETWORK – includes representatives from relevant institutions in the local community
• ESTABLISHED REFERRAL SYSTEM TO OTHER SERVICES – children, families have confidence in protective networks 
• ESTABLISHED PEER PARTICIPATION – regular activities on violence prevention, effective interventions; peers support reintegration of affected children into the community. 
• POSITIVE SELF-ASSESSMENT – pupils, parents and school staff consider the school a safe place for children’s development.

Financial resources for the programme

The programme, School Without Violence – Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for Children, is financed through the support of the local community, individual donations and sponsorship from the private and public sector. The costs for implementing the programme in one school are estimated at RSD 297,000.

Financial and in-kind support is also provided by UNICEF National Ambassadors, like basketball star Aleksandar Sasa Djordjevic and tennis champion Ana Ivanovic. Thanks to their inspiration, sport and fair play have become important components of the programme.

School without Violence logo
© UNICEF Serbia
Children from primary school "Bratstvo-jedinstvo" in Sombor during a workshop where they make class rules

You Can Join In

The programme, School Without Violence – Towards a Safe and Enabling Environment for Children, is financed through the support of the local community, individual donations and sponsorship from the private and public sector. The costs for implementing the programme in one school are estimated at RSD 297,000.

Financial and in-kind support is also provided by UNICEF National Ambassadors, like basketball star Aleksandar Sasa Djordjevic and tennis champion Ana Ivanovic. Thanks to their inspiration, sport and fair play have become important components of the programme.

Some companies – Public Enterprise "Electric Power Industry of Serbia", Banca Intesa, NIS Petrol, PTT Serbia, Al grosso with its productsPez and Chupa Chups, Telekom Serbia, Ivančić i sinovi, Minelpo, Forneti, McDonalds, Frikom, Komercijalna banka, HVB Leasing, Imlek, Uniqa, Delta Generali, MK Komerc, Turket fond, Energoprojekt-Hidroinzenjering, Susila Dharma, Metalac Gornji Milanovac, Raiffeisen Bank, Societe Generale Bank, Jaffa, Municipality Smederevo, Hypo Alpe Adria Leasing and FEFA (Faculty of Economy, Finance and Administration), City Assembly of Belgrade – Secretariat for Education, city public company “Infostan” – have helped by “adopting” one or more schools each. This means that they provide funds for implementation of the “School Without Violence” programme in a selected school which has applied for participation in the programme.

But much more funds are needed to have more schools involved and the programme incorporated into the education system.

Individuals and companies, small and large, can give their support to the programme by:

  • Adopting a school
  • Donating directly to UNICEF bank account - Komercijalna banka a.d. br. 908-20501-70 poziv na broj: 400702-0070200003240
  • Shopping at UNICEF online store at http://www.unicef.rs/
  • Working as a volunteer for UNICEF
  • Sending a blank SMS to 1056 (available from all GSM networks in Serbia)*

*By sending an SMS, you'll be charged 100 dinars

 

Public Campaigns:

"Violence Does Not Stop By Itself" campaign visuals (in  Serbian)

"Ti si faca" campaign visuals (in Serbian) - posters, badges, billboards, video messages, etc.

 

Schools Implementing the Programme:

List of Primary Schools Implementing the Programme

List of Secondary Schools Implementing the Programme

List of schools waiting for "adoption"

Map of 196 schools in the School Without Violence programme

 

 
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