After several months of working with teachers and students using educational units developed by the Institute for Human Development (IDH), IDH presented a huge event, lasting a full week, focusing on preventing sexual violence. The event, LifeExpo, is the most important event in Bolivia addressing the problem of sexual violence. The 16thLifeExpo was visited by more than 15,000 persons, including many from the countryside in the state of Cochabamba.
For the first time this year, IDH explored the theme, “Watch Out for Sexual Violence!” ExpoLife reinforced the themes about which IDH teams have worked with students during the school year. Additional themes related to healthysexuality included these educational presentations: “Love, Sex and Something More,” “And Now, No More,” and “My First Love.”
Thanks to trained volunteers and the IDH team, IDH has created in LifeExpo an important moment in the life of Cochabamba, as we offered essential information in an attractive, interactive and clear way.
As Anita told us: " ExpoSida, this is the only place I can get answers about these topics".
In each class of students between 11 and 14 years of age, 2 or 3 students acknowledge that they have suffered some type of sexual abuse.
Finally our project to tackle sexual abuse against students in Cochabamba is in full swing! Following all our preparation, we have started our work with students in public schools.
We began our activities with a workshop for school principals and district superintendents with the goal of making these educational leaders aware of the theme of sexual violence. We presented the results we obtained from interviews concerning sexual violence with students in public schools in which we work.
In each classroom 2 or 3 students say they have already been victims of an act of sexual violence. We ask ourselves: how many of them dare not answer the question? This confirms that your help is very useful.
We trained 43 teachers to present information and provided them with the skills to prevent sexual violence towards the students.
We are excited to see the reactions of the students, and we feel content that the theme of sexual violence has been accepted by educational authorities, principals and students.
We have also worked with parents. At the beginning we were not met with confidence. However, after our presentation, there was much participation in discussion and the identification of risk factors. The short films we created to be used in classrooms were well- received; many parents asked to have copies to watch at home with the family.
We would like to thank you for your generous contribution to our project through Global Giving. We have initiated our project, aimed at teenagers in Cochabamba, this year.
During the school holidays, the IDH team worked on the contents, design, and production of the educational materials that are used throughout our project and distributed to the teenagers, parents, and schoolteachers we work with. As part of our project, we are working to reduce the incidence of sexual abuse through raising awareness and educating young people about prevention through simple everyday actions. During the past three months, we have laid down a plan for our upcoming activities and liaised with the educational authorities to receive their permission to work with the local schools and to ensure their continued support for our project. IDH was the only NGO invited to the launch of the Educational Services Department, demonstrating the strong collaborative relationship we have built over the years. We have also started the training of our volunteers, who are an integral part of our project, on the topic of sexual abuse so that they can become peer educators and help deliver crucial information to vulnerable teenagers across the community.
We would like to share with you the story of Yawira who has participated in our project and has been volunteering with IDH for the past two years.
“My name is Yawira Fulguera Condori, I am 12 years old and I go to school at the Unidad Educative Marista. I have been volunteering with IDH for the past 2 years, after hearing about them from my older sister. I know a lot about HIV now. I had a professor once who said in class that HIV was contagious and I corrected him and then he got angry with me. When I grow up, I will protect myself, but some of my classmates don’t know how to talk about this topic, because they are immature.
In my house, we talk about the topic often, when we are eating or walking somewhere, and they also know more things about HIV now that I have talked to them about what I have learnt. I have shown them a lot of the materials from IDH, especially the ones about prevention, the little booklet called “Amor Sexo y Algo más”. The topic this year was “My first love”. When my sister fell in love, I felt a bit jealous and I told my mom about it.
In the future, I would like to meet more people that I can talk about this topic, beacuse some of my friends don’t know about it and I would like to give them some information, so that they know more and they can tell to other people, too. It would be like forming a very long chain with all our friends, where one friend tells another and then she tells another one afterwards.”
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