Skopje, 2 October 2011: Hundreds of youth and children staged a flash mob at Skopje’s “Plostad Makedonija” on Sunday, 2 October marking the beginning of the campaign “Together for Schools free of Violence” supported by United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the Ministry of Education and Science.
To promote positive behavior change in schools, the young activists performed a unified dance routine to the campaign theme song titled “Start with you.” Performed by UNICEF supporters Adrijan Gadja, Jana Burcevksa and Next Time, the campaign theme song was inspired by lyrics developed by children in a song competition held earlier this year. It, together with the supporting music video, was played for the first time at the event.
Mr. Pance Kralev, Minister of Education and Science; Mr. Spiro Ristevski, Minister of Labor and Social Policy; Mr. Sheldon Yett, UNICEF Representative; and UNICEF Campaign Supporter Adrijan Gadza, Stefan and Martin Filipovski from Next Time, and Jana Burcevska joined the young activists to pledge their support.
Complementing the ongoing comprehensive UNICEF supported programme to reduce violence in schools, the campaign aims to urge school communities - school leaders and staff, teachers, parents, and students themselves - to come together and take action to create a school environment where everyone feels respected, safe and valued.
It calls on schools to develop a whole school approach to creating environments where violence is never tolerated. In everything they do – from managing the classroom, intervening when conflict and problems arise, to the teacher styles used – the campaign calls on teachers to set positive examples. It also urges parents to use positive methods to discipline children and to become actively engaged in school life. Noting a general acceptance of violent forms of communicating among children; the campaign calls for a change in the way children themselves behave and also how they respond to violence.
The campaign included a mass media campaign supported by over 15 local media outlets from 3 October to 20 November 2011. A website www.beznasilstvo.mk developed by and for schools, teachers, parents and children provides tools and resources for the whole school community.
Designed to promote child participation, the flash mob in Skopje was the first of 16 similar events in Kumanovo, Tetovo, Gostivar, Kocani, Stip, Radovis, Struga, Kicevo, Ohrid, Bitola, Strumica, Gevgelija, Kavadarci, Veles and Prilep. Children will also be given the opportunity to get their views and stories across in a One Minute Video Competition.
The campaign is part of a more comprehensive UNICEF programme being conducted with governmental and civil society partners to address the issue of violence in schools. UNICEF is also supporting the development of a national policy, strategy and guidance to help schools assess the problem and address violence in their school communities. School staff and teachers are also being trained to help them implement a “whole school approach” to prevent and reduce violence and to help teachers apply “behaviour for learning” techniques in classroom settings. It is expected that all primary schools will be trained by the end of the 2011/2012 school year. These interventions build on, and complement the Life-Skills Education curriculum developed earlier to enhance communication and conflict resolution. The “Schools free of Violence” campaign and programme is being jointly funded by IKEA as a contribution the national Child-Friendly Initiative and the UN Trust Fund as a contribution to the UN Joint Project “Strengthening National Capacities to Prevent Domestic Violence”.
For more information contact:Suzie Pappas Capovska, Communications Officer, UNICEF Skopje, (02) 3231-150 (ext :127), 072 236 725 or email@example.com or Irina Ivanovska, UNICEF Skopje (02) 3231 150 (107), 072 236 722 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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