Addressing Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (ASRHR) and Gender-Based Violence (GBV)
- Completion: School level
- Organisation: VVOB
- Country: Suriname
- Period: 2017-2019
- Local partners: Onderdirectoraat Beroepsonderwijs (ODB); Centrum voor Nascholing Suriname (CENASU); Selected lower secondary VET schools (10).
- Target group: 12 to 18-year-olds in lower secondary VET (LS VET)
The majority of students enrolled in Suriname’s lower secondary vocational education and training (VET) come from very vulnerable environments. On top of that, many of them are young adolescents and struggle with questions about relationships, sex and their own boundaries. This sometimes results in showcasing problem behaviour that increases the risk of early school leaving, such as unhealthy and unsafe sex, transactional sex, and violent relationships. Drop-out rates for this population are exceptionally high: 28.4 per cent.
The conduct has strong underlying associations with persisting unequal gender roles and norms, adolescent sexual and reproductive health and rights (ASRHR), and gender-based violence (GBV) against and among adolescents.
School leaders and teachers work hard toward addressing sensitive issues such as ASRHR and GBV, but feel that they are not equipped enough to do so. As a result, schools do not usually constitute a safe and supportive environment.
VVOB has teamed up with three civil society organisations that have a history of educating Surinamese youth on ASRHR and GBV: Stichting Lobi / Youth Advocacy Movement, Stichting Youth Empowerment Suriname and Stichting ProHealth. The common objective is to develop and pilot a preventive whole school approach that has three dimensions.
First, LS VET teachers and school directors will benefit from continuous professional development opportunities to acquire improved knowledge and establish school-level policy and practice to adequately and appropriately address ASRHR and GBV.
Second, students will find safe spaces at school where they can critically reflect on and openly speak about ASRHR and GBV.
Third, CSOs will invest in appropriate outreach to the students’ parents or caregivers and support them in addressing issues of ASRHR and GBV.
The project is possible thanks to financial support from Belgium and the European Union. It is currently in its first year. Progress is measured by researchers from the Institute of Graduate Studies and research (IGSR) of the Anton De Kom University.