What strategies emerged from the conference?

Patterns in the Strategies report
Analysis of the reports from the strategy groups reveals these common themes. There are specific action that will flow from the conference, including approaches to some of the relevant Education departments. Generally, these are what emerged from our discussions:
See violence as inherent in the system and not as a marginal phenomenon: address all relationships
Delegates saw violence as affecting a full range of relationships across the education system, from ECD to tertiary levels. The culture of educational institutions needs to change. Thus working against violence needs to include but cannot be reduced to addressing specific outbreaks of violence. One specific proposal is for schools to be encouraged to develop jointly – all staff and students – a common code of conduct to which all are held accountable.
Reporting processes/ending of silence/holding schools accountable
The Departments of Education are asked to set out clearly how young people, teachers and other stakeholders can report violence of all kinds. This may lead to some schools being identified for particular attention. There is a need for workshops to involve teachers and Learner Representative Councils on how such issues need to be addressed.
Education of teachers and other role players, including student leadership
A key problem is the lack of relevant education of teachers at pre-service and in-service levels. Teachers may be taught about violence, but not equipped to deal with it, including dealing with the trauma in their own lives. This requires that people are able to speak about their experience of violence within the education system.
Attention to physical infrastructure
Toilets are a particular area of threat to students and staff; generally there is a need for a greater range of resources for young people to engage with, and this includes libraries, places where young people can develop their reading.
Men as role models
At the level of media, and within education, there is a particular need for men to be visible as people who communicate a sense of respect for themselves and others.
Programmes beyond the formal curriculum
There is a specific role for outside bodies: NGOs, religious, community-based grouping – which could be encouraged to interact with schools and to provide programmes for young people. These would include drama, arts, writing, widening out the range of activities for young people, as well as programmes such as AVP to address specifically the role of trauma in limiting the imagination and hopes of teachers and students.

Peace Clubs

Joan Alty

Joan E. Alty, LLB, is serving a six-year volunteer assignment in S.A. as Co-Representative of MCC  (the relief and development arm of the North American Mennonite Churches).  She is jointly responsible for over-sight of the peace programming for MCC and is currently providing leadership in the Peace Clubs initiative in Kwa-Zulu Natal. 

This workshop will inform attendees about one strategy for non-violence that is readily accessible to any school, initiating a Peace Clubs.   The presentation will draw on the 7-year experience in Zambia (Lusaka and Choma) and the recent initiation of Peace Clubs in South Africa (Pietermaritzburg and Eldorado Park).  In Lusaka, “Peace Club” the now registered NGO has a waiting list of schools that want to become peace club schools.  Learners are choosing peace clubs over sports!  They are learning life skills while having a safe place to share their concerns.  The workshop will discuss the methodology for peace clubs and provide an overview of the curriculum. The curriculum has been developed in such a way that interested teachers can use it without needing a great deal of peace and conflict resolution training or outside support. Then, to give participants an opportunity to work with the curriculum and the concept, everyone will participate in a peace club class.

 

Understanding Gender-Based Violence at Universities

Dr. Anthony Collins
Anthony CollinsSchool of Applied Human Sciences, University of KwaZulu Natal
This paper outlines an ongoing project for understanding and managing gender-based violence (GBV) at a South African university. It outlines the research and analysis aspects of this project, showing how the understanding of this problem is often shaped by popular misconceptions of the problems facing students. A wide variety of different forms of gender-based violence are identified, showing the contexts in which they occur and the risks which they present. The paper the challenges the tendency to think of gender-based violence primarily in terms of the rape of women by criminal strangers, and shows instead how GBV is a complex and part of everyday social life on campus, and includes a variety of interactions including normalised sexual coercion in relationships, intimate-partner violence and homophobia. This research and analysis allows for a clearer grasp of the different problems of gender-based violence on campus and strategies that would be useful in managing it. The paper provides of framework for understanding the specific research finding presented in the following papers by Gordon and du Randt.

Acting against gender-based violence at universities

This paper explores the interventions for managing gender-based violence (GBV) proposed by an ongoing project for understanding and managing gender-based violence at a South African university. Drawing on the research and analysis outlined in previous presentations, it draws attention to some limitations of the security and counselling approaches to managing GBV on campus, and highlights a broader range of interventions. These include the development of peer support organisations, collaborative networks of service providers and university decision makers, and the need for open discussion on the often taboo issues around GBV with clear public support for survivors. It also entails developing academic modules that challenge social norms supporting GBV and explore strategies for non-violent conflict resolution and victim support. The paper draws together the findings and suggestions explored in the previous papers on this theme, and offers an integrated model for managing gender-based violence at South African universities, while drawing attention to some of the problems and pitfalls facing the implementation these ideas.

Buddyz Club Helps Make Children Safe

Jenny Button

Organization: Soul City Institute

Soul City Institute’s Soul Buddyz Club intervention creates a platform for South African children aged 8 to 15 years to learn and develop skills to enable them to mobilise around children’s rights, and issues that affect them, their schools and communities.

 Approximately 6 000 Soul Buddyz Club meet once a week in schools around South Africa – in urban, rural and semi-rural areas; and in townships.  Teacher volunteers are trained as facilitators by the Institute to guide club meetings using materials developed and supplied by the Institute.

 In 2012 an activity-based booklet for clubs explored the issue of child abuse providing Buddyz with a framework to understand what constitutes child abuse, how abusers silence and manipulate their victims and what children can do to get out of an abusive situation and support others in doing to. A DVD-based discussion tool, which looked at child sexual abuse using the children’s television drama Soul Buddyz was also supplied to clubs.

 Buddyz from clubs around the country conducted marches and engaged in a range of consciousness raising activities and interventions in their communities. As a direct result of this intervention nine children in one school reported abuse by a principal who was subsequently charged with abuse and suspended.

Constructions of Gender-based Violence among Residence Students at UKZN

Tarryn Du Randt

Organization: University of KwaZulu-Natal

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a significant problem on university campuses. This knowledge prompted a qualitative study which explored the various discourses surrounding GBV amongst residence students at UKZN.  The findings of this study revealed the powerful influence that student’s subjectivity and ‘home culture’ socialisation has on a system of discourses that perpetuate GBV. These discourses appear to reproduce the patriarchal ideals of masculinity and femininity, and the role of women and men that condone and promote gender-based violence on campus. In addition, the idea of a unique university culture seems to affect the way in which student’s relate to each other on campus. The influence of this system of discourses is seen in student’s understanding of GBV; their relation to gay students; the negotiation of intimate partnerships; and their behaviour as bystanders to GBV. These findings highlight a distinct gap not only in the policy and support services surrounding GBV in institutions of higher education, but also in the institutional culture. This collective consciousness, informed by our socialised values, appears to inadvertently perpetuate GBV on campus. If we are to see change in our universities, a paradigm shift in this culture needs to be supported by entire university communities, and especially by the leaders of these institutions.