What we do
The delivery of objective 1 is supported by the training of young men and women under the age of 35 as part of the EPF Academy. In 2014, EPF established the ‘EPF Academy’ to formalise the training and capacity building it offers to volunteers. This was also in response to evidence that suggests that volunteers working in the area of gender-based violence need to be adequately trained and supported in their roles.
The EPF Academy is a 6-month training and capacity building program, which consists of a range of workshops (most notably a 5-day intensive residential), ongoing mentoring and 80+ hours of supervised practice. These facilitators are local members of the community and co-facilitate and mentor young people in schools. They are also utilised in school action groups as action group leaders.
Training young leaders to be advocates for peace, gender equality and the elimination of violence against women is in and of itself an important initiative; that is given more force by a broader program that allows those skills to be practiced and honed.
EPF4S Schools Projects
Each EPF for Schools Project is an eight-week respectful relationship education project in a school. It aims to prevent violence against women, by promoting gender equality and changing the attitudes and behaviours that enable violence against women to occur. During the program, 12-16-year-old boys and girls take part in a mixed gender sports competition that combines respectful relationship education, with skills development and games. Each week, the teams rotate between competing in 30 minute recreational matches, where they refine their on-field skills, and participating in 1-hour educational sessions on different topics relating to respect and relationships.
Weekly modules include understanding different types of violence and abuse, developing support networks and knowing where to seek help, developing empathy for others, seeking consent from others, and other issues. Throughout the sessions, sporting metaphors (such as the concepts of boundaries, teamwork, fair play etc.) are used to explain new ideas. All of the topics covered in the EPF Schools Program correlate with both the Australian and Papua New Guinean Years 7-10 personal development and physical education curriculums and could be easily adapted to many different countries and cultures.
An important addition to the model is the school ‘action groups’, whereby a select group of leaders work with their year groups to find solutions to gender inequality, bullying, violence and other issues within the school and community.
They are supported by EPF staff to map those issues and work safely on solutions. Examples of which are addressing sexual harassment through advocacy and the writing of a school newsletter, holding of an assembly or other methods
Capacity building of schools and communities
Capacity building of partner schools and communities to deliver Respectful Relationship Education and promote child safeguarding practices
The package of activities includes;
2-day teacher training workshops for teachers of students reached by the schools projects, covering themes of child protection, gender violence and implementation of EPF4S content
2-day training workshops for community members focusing on child protection, gender violence and the key messages of the EPF4S Program
Child protection assessment for the school and additional support according to the needs of the school
Additional 1-day training for Child Protection focal points, nominated during the 2-day workshops and through consultation with schools and community.
Additional support as identified in the Child protection assessment
Training teachers and school staff to continue delivering the EPF for Schools Program at the completion of the project is essential to its sustainability. The Teacher Training component will work with teachers in partner schools before, during and after each of the EPF Schools Projects, to enable them to support the implementation of the Program and deliver the topics as part of their ongoing curriculum. This objective also provides for child protection assessment and focal point training. These activities will map the issues of the school and community and assist in building local capacity for child protection issues and more broadly, gender-based violence.