Hundreds of young people will learn to create, with the help of Virtual Reality, a better future, where everyone is treated equally

More than 700 people will be trained on how to support the promotion of gender equality and the prevention of violence against women and girls. These are pupils, young men, and women, aged between 18 and 35, including teachers and facilitators and psychologists, from 18 educational institutions, youth centers, non-governmental organizations led by young people, from different districts of the Republic of Moldova. In this sense, the Institute for Development and Social Initiatives (IDIS) "Viitorul" will pilot the innovative project "Better Future" and will use a state-of-the-art virtual reality (VR) technology.

The purpose of piloting is to create a better future for girls and boys, to promote gender equality, and prevent violence against women and girls. The project aims to help young people imagine a better future, where everyone is treated equally and has equal opportunities for a better life, where there is no sexual harassment and discrimination.

Thus, until February 2022, there will be several round tables and discussions on violence against women and girls. The main element of the pilot project will be the testing of the "Virtual Reality" tool, which refers to computer-generated artificial environments and provides a simulation of reality, so that the user can get the impression of an almost real physical presence, both in certain real places and in imaginary places.

A promotion and communication strategy will also be developed and developed, which will contain: a launch conference, press releases, a video, 5 stories, infographics, etc.

A competition for the selection of 12 educational institutions, centers, and youth organizations, NGOs will be announced shortly. At the same time, 6 other institutions will be involved, where such an initiative has already been carried out. During the discussions / round tables, participants will be provided with sets of glasses to view some scenarios that will reproduce different cases.

"Applying virtual reality in the field of eliminating violence against women and girls is an innovative approach and we believe that it can be an effective method of training because it is learned through practice. Through the simulation exercise, it wants to explain different scenarios in which young people have to make a choice. Experts will explain and give feedback to young people about their choices. This application can be used by as many users as possible which will help to promote healthy relationships, the attitudes and thus support the prevention of violence against women/girls, and will accelerate the shift towards a society in which gender equality is respected. In addition to the virtual exercise, IDIS experts will discuss and explain several topics, for example: what is the difference between harassment and flirting, the consequences of harassment, gender discrimination, how gender-based violence is perpetuated at different levels. Myths and realities about gender-based violence will also be discussed with young people, forms of violence, gender-based violence, and the life cycle, etc. ”, says Carolina Ungureanu, deputy director, and project manager of IDIS Viitorul.

Violence against girls and women is a persistent and widespread global problem. The manifestation of violence against girls and women is deeply rooted in social norms, attitudes, and beliefs that have an impact on interpersonal relationships, family, community, and institutions. Through this project and through the innovative approach of applying the Virtual Reality tool, UN Women Moldova emphasizes the crucial role that education plays in promoting gender equality”, mentions Dominika Stojanoska, UN Women Moldova country representative.

The pilot “Better Future project among youth centers, youth NGO’s and educational institutions”, project 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.