Author:  Madeleine Dontschev

On Saturday, the 6th of May 2017, representatives and volunteers of VASE and France Volontaires organized a workshop against gender violence with 32 children in the project “Chicos de la Calle: Granja Don Bosco” (“Street Children: Don Bosco Farm”) in Ambato.

The methodology that was used is called “La Ruta Participativa: de salto a salto a la violencia le ponemos alto” (“The Route of Participation: Step by Step we will put an end to violence”). This method was developed by the German cooperation and implemented by the GIZ through the regional program “combatir la violencia contra las mujeres en Latinoamérica” (ComVoMujer), (“Fighting violence against women in Latin-American”).

“The Route of Participation” wants to teach children about gender equality and show the negative effects of gender orientated or domestic violence through a series of creative activities that focus on experience and reflection.

In total 32 children and 8 facilitators participated in this workshop. The facilitators were four representatives of “Fundación VASE” and of “France Voluntaires”, a volunteer from the USA, two German Volunteers and one volunteer from Poland, who work at the project “Granja Don Bosco”.
“The Route of Participation” consists of five activities or “stations”. We began at 10am with a welcome and a self-introduction of everyone. Then, we split the group in two.

The first station “Niñas y Niños somos igualmente capaces” (“Girls and Boys are equally capable”) consists of an interactive game, the “walk of equality”, which includes tasks and questions about activities that are stereotyped as “masculine” or “feminine”. The goal of this station is to abort every-day discriminatory myths, beliefs or stereotypes that children may have and instead implement an understating about gender roles.

During the second station, which is called “La violencia nos hace daño” (“Violence hurts us”), the children received some images with which they constructed a story that shows scenes of domestic violence, how those influence the life of women and children and how these behaviors lead to more violence.  After this we continued with the third station, “Niños y Niñas somos valiosos y valiosas” (“Gilrs and boys, we are valuable”). We told the children a story about a treasure that they had to discover each on her/his own. The goal of this station was to increase the self-esteem, positively improve their self-valuation and show them how self-love helps to respect and value others and how important it is to take care of oneself.

Due to a lack of time, we had to adapt the method a little, but that experience allowed us to understand that each group, context and space in which we work requires us to be more attentive, adaptable and flexible. We also learn the importance to respond accordingly to the necessities and expectation of each group.  Although at first, we felt a little disappointed because we did not get to realize the workshop in the way we planned, we are satisfied with the “Route of Participation” and hope that the children enjoyed all the activities and principally that they learned that gender violence should not be normalized because it harms us in many ways.

For the staff of VASE and France Voluntaires as well as for the volunteers who participated in this workshop, it was an interesting experience to act in the role of a facilitator. It was a pleasure to get the chance to share this event with the children of the project “Granja Don Bosco”. We have put all our efforts into this workshop and hope to be able to repeat it very soon. Overall it was an emotional experience that taught us a lot.

Heifer Ecuador

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