Youth Living Peace
Youth Living Peace is a project inspired by research that illustrates the intergenerational transmission of violence. Several studies confirm that men who were victims of violence, or who were present during acts of violence, are more likely to commit acts of violence against women. Among these, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) identifies a strong link between men’s experiences of violence as children and later perpetration of violence; the World Health Organization also finds that women who witness violence against their mothers as children are more likely to experience violence from a male partner later in life.
Group education activities, as well as individual and group therapy, with adolescent girls and boys address the root causes of violence, encouraging changes in individuals’ attitudes and behaviors related to gender equality, use of violence, and self-efficacy in relationships.
School-wide campaigns and activities with school staff, students, parents, and guardians inform community members about available reporting mechanisms for adolescent girls and boys who have been exposed to violence, and how to help.
Youth Living Peace works to create a more informed policy environment by advocating with key stakeholders in schools, government, and civil society organizations to implement successful programming policies to prevent and respond to violence against adolescent girls and boys.
Youth Living Peace is a three-year program, which began in 2015, to prevent and respond to sexual and gender-based violence against girls and women in high-violence settings in Brazil and in post-conflict settings in Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). By engaging youth as agents of change from a young age, Youth Living Peace is designed to help adolescent boys and girls heal from violence, while providing critical school-based training for violence prevention. The program’s overall goal is that adolescent girls and boys experience greater gender equality and increased freedom from violence through individual and community change, as well as supportive school environments.
Youth Living Peace is led by Promundo, in collaboration with Heal Africa, and supported by the UN Trust Fund to End Violence against Women. The program targets adolescent girls and boys who have witnessed and/or experienced violence in their homes, while engaging them to promote respect, gender equality, and nonviolence through group and individual therapy, group education, and school-wide campaigns. In addition, the program promotes partnerships and advocacy with schools and with policymakers to provide the framework for preventing and responding to violence more broadly.
By engaging adolescent girls and boys, community members, educators, government officials, and civil society organizations, Youth Living Peace works at multiple levels to prevent violence against women and girls and to respond to the needs of adolescents who have experienced violence. It serves to provide and increase awareness of services to respond to and address these adolescents’ needs, as well as to encourage critical thinking and changes in attitudes and behaviors in order to prevent future perpetration of violence.
Youth Living Peace builds on Promundo’s and its implementing partner organizations’ evidence-based experiences in the prevention of violence against women and girls through group education (Program H and Program M) and group therapy (Living Peace), which have been implemented and adapted in over 22 countries. It also adopts ideas inspired by a rigorously evaluated US-based intervention (Expect Respect), which provides group support for adolescents who have witnessed or experienced violence, particularly in dating relationships. These methodologies provide the foundation for Youth Living Peace, and they are being adapted, tested, and implemented in each country in school settings.
- Program H: Designed for young men, Program H encourages critical reflection about rigid norms related to manhood and encourages transformation of stereotypical roles associated with gender.
- Program M: Designed for young women, Program M focuses on equitable gender roles, empowerment in interpersonal relationships, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and promoting motherhood and caregiving.
- Living Peace: Living Peace provides psychosocial support and group education to men and their partners in post-conflict settings to address the effects of trauma and develop positive, nonviolent coping strategies.