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Program J - Working with Youth to End Violence

Create a school environment that welcomes diversity, stimulates conflict resolution, and promotes a sense of belonging among youth.

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Explain your project idea (2,000 characters)

Promundo seeks to scale up its successful “Program J” intervention in Rio de Janeiro public schools, developing an online course to train public schools teachers in addressing gender equality, diversity and violence with their students. In 2015, Promundo developed Program J to create a violence prevention curriculum for public school teachers in the city of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The resulting five booklet set of course content provided teachers with the tools necessary to foster critical thought and to address topics of gender and race based violence, creating peace-building students prepared for prosperous, non-violent life trajectories. This curriculum was implemented from 2015 to 2017 at 13 public schools across the city, reaching a total of 586 primary beneficiaries (181 teachers and 405 students) and 5876 secondary beneficiaries. Following internal and external monitoring and evaluation, Program J was determined to have improved girls knowledge and skills to protect themselves from gender-based violence and to create saffer environments. Promundo now seeks to scale up Program J, replicating and expanding its success in a self-paced, multi-modular online course available for computers and smartphones (via web extension and app). The online course modules will be based upon each booklet in the series, featuring quizzes and interactive activities to ensure engagement. Following course completion, successful candidates will receive an accredited certificate. Within a period of three years, we intend to directly attend approximately 1000 primary beneficiaries (teachers) of public schools in Rio de Janeiro and indirectly impact approximately 15000 beneficiaries (secondary beneficiaries). This target, however, lies at the lower limit of our impact estimates. Once the course has successfully been tested and adapted among the given target population, Promundo intends to make the course application freely accessible, available for download on common digital platform

Who are the beneficiaries? (1,000 characters)

Program J's direct beneficiaries include Rio de Janeiro secondary school teachers and education professionals, focusing on teachers of humanities and sciences with at least five years of actuation at their current school. These teachers will come from schools serving low-income and vulnerable populations. Indirect beneficiaries include Rio de Janeiro public school students between the ages of 13 and 19, born of families earning below Rio's average household income of R$1268 (USD$340) per month and residing in violent areas under military intervention.

How is your idea unique? (1,000 characters)

Inspired by our Program H success, Program J brings results-oriented methodology to critical thinking. In fostering reflection and attitude change in regards to gender and race norms (both in regards to individuals and their communities) Program J proved to be very innovative. Program J also involves a participatory development and implementation process, critical for adherence and consensus in Brazil’s current conservative political context. Existing programs and education efforts in the area of gender equality and behavioral change typically involve campaigns or one-off community interventions without sustained engagement. By training teachers, Program J creates peace-building educators, turning schools into tolerant, critical-thinking environments. Our methodology takes an intersectional and participatory approach, based in debate and reflection on how much stereotypes related to a gender, race, ethnicity and class condition the life and success of young people in and out of school.

Idea Proposal Stage (choose one)

  • Early Adoption: I have completed a pilot and analyzed the impact of that pilot on the intended users of the idea. I have begun to expand the pilot for early adoption.

Tell us more about your organization/company (1 sentence and website URL)

We believe that working with men and boys to transform harmful gender norms and unequal power dynamics is a critical part of the solution to achieving gender equality.

Expertise in sector

  • 7+ years

Organization Filing Status

  • Yes, we are a registered non-profit.

In 3-4 sentences, tell us the inspiration or story that encouraged you to start this project.

In Brazil there is a tendency to naturalize the perception of violence in schools. Fights, thefts and verbal assaults are considered to be commonplace events, suggesting the trivialization of violence and its legitimization as a mechanism for conflict resolution. Based on this information and Promundo's 20 years of experience, we believe that finding solutions to these problems is fundamental for addressing inequality and building a better future for youth.

Please explain how your selected topic areas are influenced, in the local context of your project (1,000 characters).

Alongside consistent increases in armed violence, a wave of conservatism has slowly swept through political and social spheres in contemporary Brazil. This ideological trend directly impacts the country’s youth, as in the case of the recent restriction of the terms “gender” and “sexual orientation” from the national base curriculum. Initiatives such as these repress critical thought and limit schools’ peace-building potential. At the same time, increases in rates of school entry and retention among 15 to 19 year old youth have dragged, owing to inactivity in educational public policy to address issues of access and drop-out rates. Such policy absence strengthens feelings of non-belonging at school, further impacting drop-out rates and employment outcomes later in life, and enabling intergenerational inequality among vulnerable populations. We believe that school should foster critical thought in a welcoming and safe space.

Who will work alongside your organization in the project idea? (1,000 characters)

Over the last 20 years, Promundo has developed and improved its method of constructing, implementing, and evaluating methodologies within its target groups. Our model approaches themes at various levels: Individual and Relational, Community, and Structural. However, this approach only yields effective results with involvement of Promundo partner groups. In this project we will count on the involvement of a team of multidisciplinary officials from the Interdisciplinary Center for Support to Schools of Rio’s Municipal Department of Education, the Rio de Janeiro State University, and Rio’s Violence Treatment Center, in addition to local community partners around target schools. One prime example of our work is the toolkit Promoting Respect and Diversity in Companies Created by a partnership of civil society organizations – Promundo and Grupo Conexão G – and companies within the the Eletrobras Group (an energy company in Brazil).

Please share some of the top strengths identified in the community which your project will serve (500 characters)

Teachers working in Brazil's lower income communities know the value of peace-building, both for their students as well as their communities. Increased violent crime over the last several years has created a surge in interest and engagement in building more peaceful communities, and schools are now more open than ever to violence-prevention strategies. Education professionals are at the center of this movement, and lack only the necessary tools to take on the roots of violence.

Geographic Focus

Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (at-risk and violent areas).

How many months are required for the project idea? (500 characters)

36 months

Did you submit this idea to our 2017 BridgeBuilder Challenge? (Y/N)

  • No
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Team (5)

Linda's profile
Linda Cerdeira

Role added on team:

"Linda Cerdeira is Project Director at Promundo as of 2014, working in projects related to paternity, child care, and the prevention of violence against children. She holds a degree in International Relations from Faculdade de Economia da Universidade de Coimbra and an MA in Entrepreneurship and Innovation Management from the Instituto Superior de Línguas e Administração de Lisboa (ISLA)."

Instituto Promundo's profile
Tatiana's profile

Role added on team:

"Tatiana Moura has held the position of Executive Director of Promundo since 2011 and researcher at the Centro de Estudos Sociais da Universidade de Coimbra, Portugal since 2000. She holds a PhD in Peace, Conflict, and Democracy from the Universidade Jaume I, in Spain."

Rosemeri's profile
Rosemeri Orth

Role added on team:

"Rosemeri Orth has acted as Adminstrative-Finance Coordinator since 2009. She holds an advanced degree in Financial Management and Auditing from the Fundação Getúlio Vargas."

Edmund's profile
Edmund Ruge

Role added on team:

"Edmund Ruge is a volunteer research assistant and translator at Promundo. He holds an MA in International Economics and Latin American Studies from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS)."


Join the conversation:

Photo of Mensen@Missie

By teaching teachers, a lasting impact can be made for an enormous amount of beneficiaries. What a great idea!

Photo of Edmund Ruge

Thank you, Mensen!

We truly believe in this project -- both in the need to build inclusive school environments and in the long-term efficacy of teaching teachers.

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