SHAMBHAV-ZERO TOLERANCE Program

Schools do not exist in social isolation from their communities. Gender inequalities, violence in the home, and social norms are often reflected in gender-based, violence-related incidents at school. The Zero Tolerance initiative intends to counter harmful social norms and practices, and promote non-violent behaviors in schools. According to a survey conducted by UNICEF in 2014, 66% of school-going children in Nepal have experienced physical violence in any form, while 22% have experienced psychological violence by teachers. Similarly, the percentage of children experiencing physical and psychological violence by peers at school is 28% and 15%, respectively. The same survey also found that 12% of children have been victims of sexual violence at school. Education has the potential to transform and empower young people, particularly girls. In 2015, the Government of Nepal launched the academic year with the slogan “End Gender-Based Violence at School,” and has been raising awareness and taking active steps to address this issue. Under the leadership of the Ministry of Education, USAID and UNICEF are partnering to support the government in these efforts with Restless-Development. The program aimed at reducing the prevalence of school-related gender-based violence and establishing child- and adolescent-friendly procedures to respond to incidents of gender-based violence (GBV) when they occur. The project leverages UNICEF’s ongoing work by establishing or strengthening connections between education and child protection actors. Through training, mapping of services for GBV victims, advocacy and awareness raising activities, school actors will gain knowledge of child rights as well as understand the impact of GBV – including segregation during menstruation (or chhaupadi) and child marriage – and their legal and social consequences. Girls who are married early face dismal socioeconomic and physical consequences, such as loss of schooling, psychological trauma, poverty, and lower reproductive health outcomes. To complement preventive activities, the project will also develop a systematic reporting and referral mechanism to monitor and respond to incidents of school-related GBV. Such activities will ensure that school students who are victims or at risk of violence are appropriately supported and have access to child- and adolescent-friendly services. The project seeks to create learning environments that are GBV-free, where girls and boys are empowered to protect themselves and counter harmful social norms and practices in their communities. LIFE Nepal is contributing to the Zero Tolerance program via implementing it in Dhanusha district with the partnership of Restless Development. Finally, selected 30 schools with the close coordination with DEO, Dhanusha for the program execution, selected 30 Young Champions through community meetings and interactions (Female-16, Male-14), 30 Young Champions knowledge on their roles and responsibilities and mobilized in the community for girl’s education and reducing violence against girls, district level interaction meeting with 37 key district stakeholders and like-minded organization organized to inform them about program objective and its significance as well as establishing strong coordination mechanism, 560 (female- 197, male 363) teachers oriented on significance of nonviolent teaching in the classroom, community level sensitization workshops organized with 992 key stakeholders (female-442, male-550). International Child Rights Day, Girl’s Day celebrated in the program area as well as at the district level for sensitizing stakeholders on child rights and girl’s education rights and make them to concentrate on the education of children and girls to prevent them from the violation. Altogether, 722 (female-375, male-347) people along with children participated in different activities likewise rally, speech and drawing. Conducted 60 events of homework sessions with the support of peer educators. Complain box established at 30 project schools. 16 day event celebrated against gender violence with street drama, rally, speech, debate, drawing, stall demonstration and candle lightening. Altogether, 2642 (female-1046, male-1596) people actively participated and sensitized on the ill effect of gender based violence to the children, girls and women. Finally, it contributed in reducing gender based violence at home as well as at schools.