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Education

Podcast #94 – Day of the Girl 2014 – Empowering adolescent girls: Ending the cycle of violence

By Rudina Vojvoda

Changing the World for Girls is a collaboration of the Beyond School Books podcast series and United Nations Girls’ Education Initiative (UNGEI). In this series you will find discussions on the lasting impact education has on girls, communities and nations around the world.

NEW YORK, United States of America, 9 October 2014 – The theme this year for Day of the Girl is ‘Empowering Adolescent Girls: Ending the Cycle of Violence’.

To mark the day, this edition of Changing the World for Girls focuses on violence and girls, especially school-related gender-based violence.

Podcast moderator Alex Goldmark speaks with two guests: Kuoth Wiel, a young actress who appears in the new Hollywood release The Good Lie; and Professor Fiona Leach, an expert on international education.

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© Dave Allocca/Starpix
Kuoth Wiel at the premiere of “The Good Lie” at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 2014.

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Goldmark caught up with Wiel on the set of the film, which is now in theatres.

The Good Lie is about the ‘lost boys' of Sudan. The name was given to the thousands of boys who were orphaned and displaced during the Sudanese Civil War, some of whom eventually resettled in the United States.

Wiel plays a ‘lost girl’.

“I think the importance of having me in the film, as a female voice, is to show that the situation that had happened in our country did not just only happen to boys,” Wiel said.

Wiel was born in Ethiopia but spent a lot of time in Sudan. She lost her father during the war and her brother was a ’lost boy’.

The film, she said, can raise awareness about the violence children experienced during the war.

“I think it will be an educational tool,” she said.

The podcast continues with a conversation about violence in school-related contexts.

Professor Fiona Leach, an expert on international education, outlines three broad categories of violence in school-related settings: physical, psychological and sexual.

The categories cover violence from bullying to sexual assault and rape. For researchers and development workers, school-based violence is difficult to understand because it is often underreported, particularly sexual violence, Leach said.

“It is very difficult to get a picture across the board,” Leach said. “What we can say is that in many of these cases, violence in schools is considered as normal. It is accepted. That is one reason it is not reported.”

Leach discusses recent studies that have linked violence to low academic achievement. She also talks about some of the solutions including girls clubs and child-friendly schools.

“Many schools have a very authoritarian culture,” Leach said. “They need to move towards a more child-friendly environment, which enables children to talk about things they are uneasy about including violence.”

Day of the Girl is 11 October. For more information on this year’s observance, please visit www.unicef.org/dayofthegirl.


 

 

UNICEF Photography: Gender violence

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