Young men and women from educational institutions participated in discussions about the prevention of violence against girls and women using a developed virtual reality tool

The Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) “Viitorul” conducted in February 2022, the second stage of piloting the innovative project “Better Future project among youth centers, youth NGO’s and educational institutions”, involving roundtables and discussions on gender-based violence, using a virtual reality tool developed by UN Women with the financial support of Sweden. As part of the activities, with the help of the virtual reality glasses offered in the project, young men and women discussed the causes, consequences of the phenomenon, the differences between flirting and sexual harassment, the role of witnesses in cases of violence, and other related topics, which would help prevent and combat violence. 

During the second stage, eight sessions were organized in educational institutions from Ungheni, Calarasi, Drochia, Orhei, Cimislia, Ialoveni si Balti. 

Cristina Odobescu, a student of the Theoretical High School "Mihail Sadoveanu" from Calarasi, mentioned: "The activity in which I participated meant a beautiful and interesting experience for me and my colleagues. We have improved our knowledge and we are better prepared to differentiate between harassment and flirting.”

Valeria Scutari, a student of the Theoretical High School "Stefan cel Mare" from Drochia, said: "It was quite an activity for us, young people. We have enriched our knowledge of the many types of violence we are subjected to today. I believe that we still have a lot to learn and do to create a better society. But as any change begins with us, we all have the power to face the evil and to help reduce the number of cases of abuse.”

Al-Yafeai Yosif, a student at the Theoretical High School "Ion Pelivan" from Razeni village, Ialoveni district, said: "Following this activity, I discovered many new things about self-image, about the phenomenon of bullying and its impact on society. We have found that for a better future, we must now stop physical and verbal violence. I had an interesting experience after testing the virtual reality glasses. It was great, and I want to hope that we can be the last generation to face violence against women and girls."

Ursachi Lia, a student at the College of Excellence in Border Security from Ungheni, said: "For me and my colleagues, the information session and testing of the virtual reality glasses were very useful. We have been informed of current information today. We have been told up-to-date information on today's situation. I believe that such a virtual reality tool used in education is a step forward for a better future. I also recommend other students to attend such events.”

The virtual reality tool was previously developed with the participation of representatives of various institutions/organizations in the field, service providers, survivors of violence, young people from different regions of the country.

Within the project, activities were planned to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women and girls, for about 700 people. The exercise aims to improve the knowledge of young people about the difference between harassment and flirting, about the consequences of harassment, and to lead to the creation of healthier attitudes of boys and men towards girls and women. The ultimate goal is to promote gender equality, prevent violence against women and girls, and eradicate gender-based violence. 

Last summer, similar activities were organized for young people from youth centers in Cahul, Ungheni, Falesti, Soroca, Chisinau, and Singerei. At the same time, a competition was organized to select 12 other educational institutions, organizations, and youth centers to be involved in the piloting process. Subsequently, teachers, facilitators, psychologists from the 12 institutions participated in roundtables and discussions on violence against women and girls, and used the virtual reality tool and glasses. The first stage of piloting the project with students from 10 institutions took place in November and December 2021. About 450 students have so far participated in activities to promote gender equality and prevent violence against women and girls using the previously developed virtual reality tool.

The pilot project “Better Future project among youth centers, youth NGO’s and educational institutions”, is implemented between April 2021 - February 2022, by the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul", with the support of UN Women Moldova and with the financial support of Sweden under the "Elimination of Violence against Women" program.

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