Innovative Approaches in GBV Prevention and Healthy Lifestyle Promotion for Young Men and Women.
1. Educational program
The core of the YMI intervention through Program Y is a series of group educational workshops accompanied with social norms campaign that promote a critical and personal reflection on gender, masculinities and health, with a strong focus on violence prevention.
The workshops are highly participatory and address health and relationships issues from a gender lens, including sexual and reproductive health, communication and negotiation, drug and alcohol use, anger management, and violence prevention. One of the most important CARE and partner organization’s goals is to introduce Program Y (working with young women and young men) into high school curriculum.
In this process, a successful cooperation with ministry representatives, initiated series of trainings for teachers where they learn about Program Y methodology and also receive technical assistance from youth partner organizations for program implementation at their schools.
By strong advocacy efforts from CARE and partner organisations as well as a variety of stakeholders that have been part of the program as teachers, social workers, professors and governmental representatives – Program Y has become recognized in the region in the field of education which was confirmed also by the 2017 Global Education Network Europe Award for an outstanding contribution to innovation in Global Education.
So far, the program has been accredited in Croatia, Serbia and Kosovo* by relevant educational ministries. Most importantly in Herzegovina – Neretva Canton, Bosnian-Podrinje Canton in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it is now mandatory, meaning that during 25% of the regular head teacher classes Program Y topics have to be discussed. In addition, strong emphasis on the significance of the Program Y methodology and advocating for its inclusion into the educational systemin Republic of Srpska has increased institutional trust which has made the Program Y based healthy life-styles educational program a part of the strategic governmental commitments.
In the last 10 years, 100.000 young people aged 14-18 went through Gender Transformative Programs such as Program Y and Program M in more than 130 communities.
2. School based interventions
Program Y is predominately implemented in high schools, allowing it to achieve high levels of participation among young men and young women ages 15 to 18. In participating schools, educational sessions are led by trained facilitators, and are integrated into the regular class schedule over the academic year, with a focus on four key program areas:
Program Y also extends beyond the classroom. The program includes an optional residential retreat where the facilitators lead additional sessions and team-building activities in a more immersive setting. The other important aspect of the program is “Be A Man” lifestyle campaign, which is intended to reinforce key YMI messages and foster change at the school level and beyond. The campaign is supported by a variety of educational materials, social media, and “actions” organized and carried out by student members of “Be a Man” clubs (BMK). In the Balkan region there are 30active BMK clubs with 2,500 active members.
3. Community interventions
YMI spreads its activities within and out of schools. YMI partners with young men and women design different community actions, theatre plays, BMK TV and radio, forums, round tables and conferences with the aim to gather all relevant stakeholders to discuss the importance of work with young men around prevention of violence and gender equality promotion. Each year, partners organize different conferences and round tables.
One stream of YMI interventions is directed towards the work with sport groups, pedagogy students, journalists and basically all the groups that have impact on young people in their everyday life.