Online marathon on combating violence against children and young women takes place in Belarus

United Nations Children's Fund, UN Development Program and UN Population Fund with financial support from the UK Government conducted a three-day online marathon called “Creation of favourable environment for children and women's development”.

Онлайн-марафон “Создание благоприятной среды для развития потенциала детей и женщин”
Online marathon "Creating an enabling environment for the development of the potential of children and women"

The marathon kicked off under the auspices of UNICEF Belarus.  The accounts of the agency in social networks hosted children, representatives of educational establishments and the private sector, psychologists, athletes and writers, who discussed how to create a friendly and favourable environment free of bullying.  

In any no-win situation there will always be a person, who is stronger than your offender and who will be able to protect you, - said Yulia Stefnyak, marathon participant and UNICEF volunteer in Belarus. I am in college and I don’t experience bullying now - this is the real happiness.  

Young people from Baranovichi shared their experience in carrying out the project on bullying prevention, which they had designed during the training on social project planning with the UPSHIFT method in January 2020.  Click to find out more about their achievements:

https://cloud.mail.ru/public/2vwF/3DPKk476W

During the day the participants also discussed the problem of cyberbullying, which is particularly topical today when it is necessary to observe social distancing and self-isolation, so the Internet is sometimes the only means of communication with the outer world.  

The world is changing and the role of technology is obviously getting progressively bigger allowing us to solve many business and personal issues quickly, - stated Nikolai Bulash, the marathon speaker and head of the commercial department of MTS mobile network operator.   Children and young people actively use their devices and have long been a part of the World Wide Web so far. The Internet is a boundless resource for education, getting useful content, a platform for communication for the youth and, at the same time we understand that there are threats too. In this situation we should not restrict but teach children how to use the technology properly.

During the discussion all the participants emphasized the importance of raising the awareness of children, teenagers and parents about the threat of violence and its impermissibility including in an online environment.  Taking this into account they mentioned that it is necessary to engage children, teenagers, among others, from the most vulnerable groups in planning and implementation in educational establishments and at the local level of activities aimed at prevention of bullying and cyberbullying and informing about the initiatives being implemented. The participants also stressed that it remains important to raise awareness about accessible services at the local and national levels including the Child Protection Helpline - 8 801 100 16 11 - and development of cross-sectoral partnership for creation of the safe environment both in real and virtual world.

The second day of the online marathon was under the auspices of UNDP Belarus, who spoke about women's economic empowerment. 

To complete the initiative UNFPA Belarus conducted a number of events where the participants discussed how social sphere specialists can organize and conduct preventive actions to counteract domestic violence and abuse against people with disabilities.

UNFPA and their colleagues from the Belarusian association of assistance to children and young people with disabilities (BelAPDIiMI) and the territorial centre for social service (TCSS) of Moskovski district of Minsk provided a unique tool - Stop Violence brochure - created in plain language easy to understand for everyone.  The brochure and the developed modules of training lessons can be further used by social service providers in their work with people with disabilities aimed at prevention of domestic violence and cruel treatment.

To download the brochure: (https://goo.su/1mgM).

It is worth reminding that the topics offered during the online marathon are the priority areas on the way to achievement of Sustainable Development Goals.  According to UNICEF, every second school boy or girl at the ages from 13 to 15, that is about 150 million children worldwide, experience peer violence in schools or in their close vicinity.

The International Student Assessment PISA research conducted by the World Bank in 2018 testifies that 19% of schoolchildren in the Republic of Belarus suffered from repeated bullying during a month.  

According to UNFPA reports, people with disabilities are exposed to domestic violence and inhuman treatment from their relatives and guardians twice as frequently. 

If you missed our marathon you can watch the full recording on YouTube on UNICEF, UNDP and UNFPA channels.

The first day of online marathon here - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uV5xhiCEaJQ

Webinar “Innovative approaches to prevent violence against young women with disabilities with the use of the plain language materials” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oDnOLE8XO-I

Media Contacts
UN entities involved in this initiative
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund