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