The Ministry of Education, in particular the department for vocational education on secondary level, collaborated with Belgian counterparts, the Anton de Kom University of Suriname and local NGOs, with financial support of the European Union, to implement a three year pilot program (2017-2019) “Initiatief voor Gender-Responsief Onderwijs (iGROW) – Initiative for Gender-Responsive Education in 10 secondary vocational schools in urban and rural areas aimed at strengthening of a whole school approach in improving sexual and reproductive health and prevention and reduction of gender based violence. As part of this program several curricula were developed, from a gender and human right perspective, and delivered to students, school teams (teachers, school leaders) and parents. Also a baseline and endline study has been conducted to measure impact of the program, and education and awareness raising materials were developed.
The whole school approach has 3 dimensions:
- Improved knowledge, policy, and practice of LBO teachers and school directors for addressing adoloscent sexual and reproductive health rights (ASRHR) and gender-based violence (GBV).
- Creation of safe spaces for lower vocational education students to critically reflect on and speak openly about ASRHR and GBV.
- Appropriate outreach to lower vocational education students’ parents or caregivers, through positive schoolparent/caregiver relations and support for parents or caregivers in addressing ASRHR and GBV.
Within this whole school approach, collaboration between lower vocational education schools and civil society organizations (CSOs) plays a central role.
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