Fundacion Azulado's goal is to eradicate child sexual abuse and maltreatment in Ecuador. We have already impacted the lives of over 30,000 elementary school students and their families by deploying the My Shield (Mi Escudo) child sexual abuse prevention program in over 90 low-income schools. This program teaches children self-protective behavior, boosts self-esteem and assertiveness, and helps kids learn which adults they can trust. We also train parents on healthy child rearing.
The figures of child maltreatment and sexual abuse in Ecuador are alarming. According to UNICEF Ecuador, 6 in 10 rape victims are children and adolescents. 65% of these cases are committed by family members or people close to them. Currently, 40 girls between the ages of 10 and 14 give birth every week, many of whom had gotten pregnant as a result of rape. These figures position Ecuador as the country with the 2nd highest rate of child and adolescent pregnancy in Latin America.
We believe that education and awareness are the best ways to make these alarming statistics go down. That's why we use a 12-session prevention program in schools, called "Mi Escudo" (My Shield). The main goal of the program is to teach children basic self-protection concepts through a play-based, practical method that facilitates conversation and reflection spaces in the classroom and in their households. We also reinforce these concepts with educational workshops for parents.
The "Mi Escudo" program has undergone successful testing by the Universidad San Francisco de Quito. They found that after participating in our school-based educational program, children substantially improved their knowledge of self-protection strategies against childhood sexual abuse and retained knowledge six months after completing the intervention. When we implement our prevention programs with parents, teachers and children, the impact on these three groups is powerful.