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UNICEF and CARICOM Secretariat host Regional Validation Workshop

PORT-OF-SPAIN, TRINIDAD – Caribbean guidelines for the education sector to prevent and respond to Violence against Women and Girls (VAWG) and Violence against Children (VAC)have been validated during a two-day workshop held 20-21 September 2023 at the Brix by Autograph Collection, Port-of-Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.

The Education Standards were developed under Pillar 3 (Prevention) of the European Union-United Nations Spotlight Initiative Caribbean Regional Programme led by UNICEF in collaboration with the CARICOM Secretariat.

The Education Sector was identified as one of the priority areas for strategic intervention since educational institutions are important sites for normative change and have the potential to address gender inequalities and prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV). 

As part of a “whole-of-education” approach where several interventions can be coordinated to achieve more sustainable results, there is a need to better understand the role of the education sector in the protection against both victimization and perpetration of violence as part of integrated services.

The Whole of Education Approach proposes to work with family and peers in school within a community, which, as part of the wider society, will help to transform harmful gender norms and attitudes that perpetuate GBV with the view of improving the ethos of the school and promote healthy, equitable and non-violent relationships for children, young people, and all members of the school and community. Denise Stuckenbruck, Regional Gender Advisor, UNICEF Latin America and Caribbean Regional Office in her welcome remarks, stated “We address a pressing issue that affects 1 in 3 individuals in the Caribbean: Violence against Women and Girls and Violence against Children. This validation workshop serves as an opportunity to emphasize the urgency of this issue and the need for innovative approaches that promote the rights of women and children. Our key partners in this endeavor include ministries of education, principals, educators, school counselors, community groups, parents, caregivers, and youth-led initiatives.

Our mission is clear: together, as a community and society at large, we must transform harmful gender norms and attitudes, improve our school’s ethos, and foster healthy, equitable, and non-violent relationships. The solidarity we build here today and tomorrow will pave the way for a safer, more equal, and violence-free Caribbean for all women and girls.”

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