Strengthening participatory practice with children and young people affected by sexual violence
Each partner brings significant expertise in working with young people who have been affected by sexual violence. Below is a short description of each organisation - visit their website to learn more about their inspiring work.
Albanian partner: Different & Equal is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to providing high quality reintegration services for victims of trafficking, exploitation and abuse, and to improving the legal, institutional and social context to prevent and counter these violations of human rights. Different & Equal run a range of advocacy and prevention campaigns and have trained various organisations and state institutions. We had the pleasure of collaborating with them previously as part of the first Our Voices project, where they worked with youth advisors to produce a film and poster to raise awareness on sexual violence.
Serbian partner: Atina is a nongovernmental organisation founded in 2004 in response to the problem of human trafficking in Serbia, and the lack of adequate programs offering long-term support to victims. Atina provides a range of services to victims of human trafficking, including direct assistance, psychosocial, legal and medical support, family mediation and consultation, and economic empowerment. The organisation is also engaged in prevention and advocacy activities, capacity-building of various organisations and institutions, and runs a (delicious!) social enterprise Bagel shop in Belgrade.
Moldovan partner: The National Center for Child Abuse Prevention (NCCAP) protects children at risk of, or affected by, all forms of abuse through prevention activities, training multi-sectoral professionals and specialised services. NCCAP operates the AMICUL Center, which provides treatment, social assistance, and legal and medical advice to children and families based on the Swedish Barnahus children’s houses model, where children who are victims of violence and abuse can meet the police, social services and therapists at one location. NCCAP also runs advocacy and awareness raising projects and has expertise in developing child friendly justice systems.
In June 2018, the International Centre (IC) project team welcomed the project leads from each organisation for a two-day kick-off project meeting at the University of Bedfordshire in the UK.
The IC will support partner organisations in each country to pilot a programme of work, the ‘Our Voices Advocacy Leadership Programme’ (OVALP), to build the capacity of a group of young people affected by sexual violence to become ‘youth advocates’. As part of this programme, the youth advocates will develop advocacy activities designed to influence change in response to sexual violence in their local context.
The OVALP is underpinned by a toolkit that will be developed by the IC at the University of Bedfordshire as part of this project. This toolkit will be adapted in consultation with the partner organisations to the different local contexts.
The project, in addition to training ‘youth advocates’, will build capacity within the partner organisations to undertake participatory advocacy work with young people affected by sexual violence. We have also developed a monitoring and evaluation framework to capture learning, which will ultimately be shared via the network.
Over the coming months, we will be working with partners to set up the project and developing the OVALP.
We are thrilled to be collaborating with such knowledgeable and passionate organisations and we look forward to embarking on the next phase of this innovative project with them!