Last month, UNICEF Belize launched the National C4D & Communication Strategy to End Violence Against Children in Belize, TIME OUT, along with the new PSA Videos that are being aired at National TV. The event was well attended by the media and UNICEF partners, and the discussion that followed gave added insights as to how the country will continue advocating, listening, and working together to End Violence Against Children in the Belize.
The strategy stretches over at least 2 years – and it is important to point out that “TIME OUT” isn’t just a “communication campaign” – it’s an initiative using mainly Communication for Development approaches, aimed at inspiring behavioural change and affecting attitudes towards violence over the long term. C4D is based on listening to communities and creating dialogue on the issues that affect them in order to find out why certain damaging behaviours are in place and how we can work together to find alternatives.
One of the cornerstones of the strategy will be the establishment of a baseline on the situation of violence against children through a nationwide KAPB survey (Knowledge, Attitudes, Perceptions and Behaviours). UNICEF has travelled across the country and met with more than 130 children conducting focus group sessions including theatre and other activities, to find out if and how they are affected by violence in their communities.
The strategy is based on the cooperation with our partners, and also incorporates community level initiatives such as training of teachers on positive discipline, parental training and strengthening of the child justice system.
COMMUNICATION & PUBLIC INFORMATION COMPONENT
Along with all of these C4D initiatives – TIME OUT also has a classic communication and public information component including posters, videos and other visibility items such as wristbands.
We are using the common concept of TIME OUT. However, the message today is not for children, it’s for adults – to take a TIME OUT and think – before using violent methods and teaching our children that these are acceptable/normal – and instead choose to use alternative methods to communicate and solve conflict.
“Basing our relationships on Understanding, Respect and Love.”
Through community consultations, we have learnt that one of the biggest challenges for parents is that while they don’t deem it necessary to use violence and negative discipline – they don’t know any other alternative. We are trying to inform about these alternatives, and strengthen parents in their confidence that a positive approach is possible.
The content of the videos has been inspired by the inputs collected from children across the country and there five videos on the five types of violence will be rolled out on a monthly basis:
– Verbal Violence
– Physical Violence
– Gang Violence
– Sexual Abuse
The videos are embracing the cultural diversity of Belize, and are acted by normal people – “maybe even your next door neighbour.” One of the main points that we learnt from the children and want to communicate is that – VIOLENCE HAPPENS EVERYWHERE in BELIZE, across all social, geographical and cultural borders in the country. It’s hidden in plain sight and it’s thus everybody’s business to address violence.
The videos will be aired on most of the media channels in the country, and will be added to this article as they are released to the public.