The Genesis Project, as one of the partners of UNICEF, participates in the implementation of the regional project entitled “Protecting children from violence and promoting social inclusion of children with disabilities in Western Balkans and Turkey”. Funding for the project was provided thanks to the United Nations Children’s Fund in Bosnia and Herzegovina (UNICEF).
One of the activities within this project is “Strengthening the capacity of professionals in education in the prevention, identification and response to cases of violence in primary schools” which is implemented by the NGO “Genesis Project” in the selected primary schools throughout Bosnia and Herzegovina. This activity is part of a large regional programme implemented by UNICEF in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo (UNSCR 1244), Montenegro, the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey.
During February, the focus was on organising and conducting the training for teachers and parents on the topic “Prevention of peer violence and challenges of growing up” within this activity. On Monday, February the 13th, the training for teachers was held in the “First Primary School” in Bugojno, where 15 teachers took part, and the following day on Friday, February the 17th, the training for 15 teachers would be held in the elementary school “Travnik” in Travnik. It was planned to implement 22 additional trainings for the teachers and parents in 22 primary schools across the country by the end of the project. Those trainings will include more than 300 teachers and parents.
The idea and the incentive for this project came after four surveys being conducted by the “Genesis Project”, in cooperation with UNICEF and the relevant ministries of Education (Una-Sana, Central Bosnia, Canton 10 and the Republic of Srpska) during 2013/2014. The overall objective of this study was to obtain data on the capacity and willingness of the target groups (students, parents and teachers) on cooperation and constructive handling of potential conflicts and violence at schools. The group results showed that the majority of students (74%) had a positive attitude towards the activities focused on conflict resolution, and they wished to participate in the activities of violence prevention. The results of these studies showed that during the school year 2013/2014, 44% of the students experienced psychological violence, either as victims or as a perpetrator. About 13% were subjected to physical violence, and 20% were physically violent. It is very important that the members of all assessed groups demonstrated the need and desire for more education in the field of communication, conflict resolution and violence prevention.
The experience and the best practices in violence prevention programmes which are jointly implemented by the “Genesis Project”, UNICEF and the Ministries of education and recommendations documented in the realised researches, were used for the design of violence prevention activities within the project “Strengthening the capacity of professionals in education in the prevention, identification and response to cases of violence in primary schools.” Through this project, the target groups will be informed about the forms, causes and consequences of violence and how to report/respond to violence. The teachers and students will identify and organise special activities to prevent violence. The project will work on strengthening the capacity of experts in education through the implementation of activities on prevention of violence in a total of 24 primary schools (21 municipalities). As a result, the school safety network will be established in all primary schools, and through them the cases of violence will be covered.
The project is implemented in the following municipalities:
• The Federation of Bosnia and Herzegovina Travnik, Busovaca, Donji Vakuf, Bugojno, Mostar,
• The Republic of Srpska: Celinac, Knezevo, Teslic, Sipovo, Doboj, Petrovo, Prijedor, Banja Luka, Bijeljina, Zvornik.