Say no to violent relationships – Silent March and Dance

The Malta Girl Guides (MGG) presented the results of the locally piloted education programme, ‘Voices against violence’, at the 57th session of the United Nation’s Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW) held at New York last month.

The project, piloted among Maltese girl members of the MGG, throughout last guiding year, is part of a larger project ‘Stop the violence’, a first of its kind non-formal education programme promoting the end of violence against girls.

MGG delegate, Stephanie Darmanin was among the delegates representing the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). She presented the success achieved by the pilot project in Malta to the rest of the UNCSW delegates. The highlight of the week was the launch of the curriculum which the Girl Guides and the Girl Scouts worked upon jointly with the UN Women. The curriculum is designed to engage children and young people to reflect on gender-based violence, will now be rolled out among at least five million young people by 2020.

The pilot project involved around 150 MGG members, from the youngest dolphin to the oldest leader, empowering them to claim their rights and slowly but surely, free this world from violence and the fear of violence.

At the UNCSW, Girl Guides and Girl Scouts from across the globe, advocated that UN member states should be taking more concrete actions to address violence against girls and women. Although it has been announced that with great satisfaction this year’s agreed conclusions were finally adopted, unlike what happened with the conclusions of the 56th session of the UNCSW, the girl-child issue was notably absent throughout negotiations with UN member states.

MGG says ‘No to violent relationships’

MGG partnered up with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ and the National Council of Women to organise today’s silent march and dance. The campaign ‘No to violent relationships’ is part of a larger project ‘Stop the violence’, focusing on teenage dating violence, online violence, harassment at schools and domestic abuse. This campaign will extend till 2015.

The three organisations pooled their human and financial resources and shared their expertise in the field to train their members and raise awareness on the issue among the Maltese population. The campaign was stepped up to a national level with a silent march and a flash mob, held at Valletta on Saturday 20 April.

All the members of the three entities, as well as outsiders have been roped in to participate in this activity with the ultimate goal of raising awareness about identifying the signs of violent early on in developing relationships.

During this event, a booklet providing information about the campaign and the subject it promotes, was given out to young people, equipping them with the information they need to access existing specialist services, support agencies and safe spaces where they can seek the help they need. This is just one of various initiatives implemented as part of a national action plan aiming to break the chain of violence.

Among the initiatives, a survey was conducted to analyse the various types of violence and its repercussions among local post-secondary and tertiary students. The survey results and a thorough analysis will be announced and published in the coming months.

This tripartite inter-agency collaboration served as a platform to promote an end to violent relationships among various sections of Maltese society in a non-formal way. Young people benefited from this needs-led and value-based programme as it provided them with important skills, knowledge and experience that are not usually provided in the traditional school environment.

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