As national Ministries of Education, with support from the international donor community, begin making partial strides towards the Millennium Development Goals, the significant issue of school-related violence is largely absent from national education plans and from the priorities of donors. School-related violence not only undermines efforts to reach gender parity and universal primary education by 2015, but also dramatically increases children's vulnerability to HIV/AIDS. A review of the Educational Sector Plans (ESPs) of ten African countries that are being supported by the Education for All and Fast Track Initiative (FTI) reveals that none outlines a comprehensive intervention package to prevent, counter, and respond to school-related violence. While a few countries are taking important first steps, they are largely the exception, not the rule. Moreover, donor agencies, particularly USAID and DFID, while recognizing the issue of school-related violence as a significant obstacle to education and health development objectives, have failed to scale up piloted programs, integrate safe school models into their education programs, or provide significant funding for effective, comprehensive antiviolence programs. Civil society and national governments have been largely silent on the issue, despite the urgent need to demand action on school-related violence at the community level. Despite the systemic failure of national governments, multilateral agencies, and donor governments to effectively integrate comprehensive interventions into the education sector, piloted and small-scale programs have produced measurable and positive results in preventing, countering, and responding to SRV. The best practices gleaned from these programs provide important recommendations and a call to action for actors at all levels, including international institutions, national governments, individual schools, and communities. These programs demonstrate that successful models exist to effectively reduce and ultimately eliminate school-related violence. In fact, the Millennium Development Goals, especially those on universal education and halting HIV/AIDS, cannot be reached without ensuring safe learning environments for the world's children.
Global AIDS Alliance
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