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UNICEF uses the power of media to inspire children to be part of the solution for making schools free of violence

© UNICEF 2011
The actor Sashko Kocev with primary school children during the filming of a video announcing the competition

Skopje, 24 May 2011: With a call to all children to write lyrics for a campaign theme song, the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced the start of the first phase of a social change campaign to make “Schools free of Violence."    While the campaign emphasizes the need for broader community action to put an end to the continuing violence against and among children, through a series of creative child participation initiatives, children themselves will be a major part of the change process.

 “The most successful strategies used to prevent and reduce violence against and among children are those that focus on building a positive culture in school and at home.  This calls for school staff, teachers, students, parents, and members of the community as a whole to work together and be examples of positive behaviour,” said Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Country Representative.

Noting that effective prevention and reduction plans depend on the involvement of the community as a whole, the "Schools free of Violence" campaign will challenge the acceptance of using “violent” ways of communication as a normal way of communicating by calling on teachers, parents and children to set an example of positive behavior. 

The campaign will use the power of different media - song, dance, video and social media - to inspire children to be part of the solution.  A campaign theme song, performed by popular celebrities, will be produced with lyrics developed by children themselves.  During the second phase - which will kick off the beginning of the 2011/2012 school year - children will be taking their message to sixteen different cities in the country in a series of flash mobs and they will have the opportunity to express their views on the solutions through a video competition.

“We hope the campaign will inspire a generation eager for change, and give teachers, school staff and parents additional opportunities to talk openly with children about violence and how to prevent it,” continued Yett.

Studies show that adults often use verbal intimidation, and sometimes physical punishment, as a method of disciplining children.  Children see this as acceptable, and mirror the behavior.

 “During the second phase of the campaign and as part of our broader programme, we hope that parents and teachers will learn how to set boundaries and discipline children through using positive methods as well as non-violent strategies to manage disruptive behaviours,” continued Yett.

To find out more about the “Schools without Violence” song competition visit www.beznasilstvo.mk or download a copy of the poster in Macedonian and Albanian.  Also follow us www.facebook.com/unicef.mk to follow the results and other campaign activities.

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About the UNICEF supported “Schools free of Violence” system-wide programme:

The campaign is part of a more comprehensive UNICEF programme being conducted with governmental and civil society partners to address the issue of violence in schools.  UNICEF is also supporting the development of a national policy, strategy and guidance to help schools assess the problem and address violence in their school communities.  School staff and teachers are also being trained to help them implement a “whole school approach” to prevent and reduce violence and to help teachers apply “behaviour for learning” techniques in classroom settings.  It is expected that all primary schools will be trained by the end of the 2011/2012 school year.  These interventions build on, and complement the Life-Skills Education curriculum developed earlier to enhance communication and conflict resolution.

To find out more about the training support to schools see Applying a “Whole School” Approach to Preventing Violence and Learning Skills for Life: Using Every Day Moments to Teach Children Non-Violent Behaviour for more on how UNICEF is promoting non-violence behavior through curricula.

The “Schools free of Violence” campaign and programme is being jointly funded by IKEA as a contribution the national Child-Friendly Initiative and the UN Trust Fund as a contribution to the UN Joint Project “Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence”.  

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For more information contact:

Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje, (02) 3231-150 (ext :127),
072  236 725 or spappas@unicef.org or Irina Ivanovska, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231 150 (107), 072 236 722 or iivanovska@unicef.org

 

 

 
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