Prevention of Violence Against Children
VAC prevention program was started in 2015. The objective of the program is “Children and Adolescents live in secure and enabling environments free from violence in homes, schools and the community”. The program therefore focuses on prevention of violence against children by enhancing parenting skills and practices, improving spousal relationships as well as increasing household income; working with schools to create safe school environments that enable children to access and remain in schools as well as supporting communities to address negative norms and values that perpetuate violence against children .
The program provides grants and technical support to Community Organisations in clusters within one geographical placed area. The grants starts with the planning and learning grant for six months and latter followed by a long term grant as explained in Our Grant Making.
The PVAC program is built on learning and walking together with partners through regular joint reflections meetings among other opportunities.
Importance of Childhood
Childhood is a period of intense brain development. The capabilities that children develop during this period of growth lay the foundation for school achievement, economic self-sufficiency, responsible adult behavior and lifelong health. As a result, the experiences in childhood have lifelong consequences.
Children’s growth and development is fully dependent on the adults who shape their daily lives, shaped by the environment of relationships they encounter at home, at school, and in the community. That dependence on the adults around them makes them vulnerable to both the good and the bad that comes about as adults make choices and decisions as well as take actions that affect their lives. When the relationships around children provide a safe, stable, and nurturing environment, children are more likely to thrive intellectually, emotionally, and physically.
Violence against Children
Unfortunately for too many children the environment of relationships is unsafe, unstable, and abusive. Through research and brain science we know that the impact of that violence is not limited to the time when a child experiences fear, physical harm, and pain, it has lifelong consequences.
Program Framework: Building up Protective Factors
The prevailing framework for understanding violence against children is the socio-ecological model, which states that violence emerges from the interplay of multiple interacting factors at different levels of the social ecology (Heise, 1998, Jewkes, Flood and Lang, 2014; Solotaroff and Pande, 2014).
While violence is not caused by poverty and inequality or injustice, these factors create the conditions for violence. The risks are further compounded by social norms that uphold violence as an acceptable manner for expressing control and power or as an approach for imposing discipline.
This framework has been used to help illustrative the multiple risk factors cross individual, relationship, family, community and societal levels. We also know from research that more often than not, children experience violence at the hands of the people that they know, love, and trust.
Responding to the root causes of violence: Ultimately, in order to foster a genuine transformation, all we do (say, learn and teach) must be rooted deeply in the realities of children’s lived experience, understanding the systems and structures that put children at risk of violence and working to enhance those that protect them from violence. To do this, we will begin by prioritising spaces of where our partners can deeply listen and more fully understand how these forces play out and how they can be effectively disrupt