We are working to aggressively address school-related gender-based violence (SRGBV) in Malawi. Over 50% of all 14 – 17-year-old children experience some form of SRGBV, and about one-third experience physical violence. Our programming works to improve the ability of both girls and boys to protect themselves from SRGBV through a targeted peer-led curriculum that equips them with knowledge of the manifestations of SRGBV and provides them with the life skills to respond to and report abuses. At the same time, we work with teachers and school personnel to build their awareness of school violence and assist them in creating a safer school environment. Caregivers are sensitized about SRGBV and the importance of girls’ education and encouraged to participate in economic strengthening activities to build household resilience to meet education expenses.
We are piloting school-led fairs called “Bonanzas”, bringing together health and social service providers, promoting positive SRH behavior change uptake and linking adolescents to services such as HIV testing and counseling, or GBV support; these services are made available directly on school grounds and complement our life skills, GBV, and SRH training that are provided in peer-led Protect Our Youth Clubs.