Early Marriage Prevention Network Project

Co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship Programme of the European Union

Final Project Conference

 

On 24 November 2017 in Brussels the final project conference on the topic "Professionals, Parents and Children Combating Early Marriages in Roma Communities" will be carried out.

 

The aim of the conference is to present the EMPN project and its results, to generate debate and discuss possible challenges, solutions and good strategies in preventing early marriages in Roma communities.

 

Representatives of the European Commission, European Parliament, EESC and organisations working on the problem of early marriages are invited to take part in the conference.

 

Invitation

 

Agenda


Training Sessions for prevention of early marriages in the "1st Junior High School (Gymnasium) of AnoLiosia", in Greece

During the 23th to 27th  of October 2017 the trainers of KEAN visited the "1st High School (Gymnasium) of AnoLiosia" and implemented a series of experiential workshops for the prevention of early marriages, which were addressed to the students of the First Grade of the Junior High School.

 

In total twenty-two students participated actively in the workshops which were conducted by the trainers of KEAN - a sociologist and an educator, inside the school facilities, under the framework of the project.

 

                    

 

During the workshops, the students had the opportunity to learn to recognize violence and its forms, to use non-violent communication, they experienced how to resolve gender based conflicts in non-violent ways as well as they became able to identify unacceptable behaviour and to distinguish equal from unequal relations.

 

The children worked comparably concentrated and focused, were curious and funny and interacted with each other and with the trainers while they discussed regarding the issues of violence, gender equality, friendship and romantic relationships.

 

Through the activities and the games, children developed team working skills, improved and increased their critical thinking skills and unfolded their creativity and at the same time they realised the consequences and limitations which inhere in early marriages and got equipped with significant knowledge and skills in order to protect themselves from being involved in early marriages.


Training Sessions for prevention of early marriages in "3rd Junior High School (Gymnasium) of Aspropyrgos", in Greece

 

During the 25th and 30thof September 2017 the students of the First and Second Grade of the "3rd Junior High School (Gymnasium) of Aspropyrgos" were invited to participate in a series of experiential workshops for the prevention of early marriages, under the framework of the “Early Marriage Prevention Network Project”.

 

The workshops were conducted inside the school facilities by the trainers of KEAN and more specifically by a sociologist and an educator and were attended in total by sixty-two students who played a very active and constructive part from the beginning till the end.

 

                    

 

Through the activities, the students learned to recognize violence and its forms and experienced how to use non-violent communication and how to resolve gender based conflicts in non-violent ways. They went deeper in identifying acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and in distinguishing equal from unequal relations.

 

Not only the group activities but also the group games helped children to enhance their team working spirit and critical thinking, while the interaction with each other and with thetrainers through the discussions led to the creation of a “House of Ideas”. 

 

The students along with the trainers, who were coordinating and facilitating the learning process, approached and deliberated on issues such as education, violence of gender equality, friendship and romantic relationships.


Discussions on early marriages were held by Amalipe Centre

 

As a part of the community work within Early marriage prevention network project Amalipe Centre organized meetings with young people from the Roma community on the topic of early marriages in some smaller settlements in Veliko Tarnovo region, Bulgaria.

The first discussion was held in the Primary school in the village of Batak. It was moderated by the secretary of the local commission for combating antisocial behavior to the Municipality of Pavlikeni.

The meeting was attended by students, parents and teachers. The main topic of the discussion were the consequences of early marriages on the development of the children.  Penalties, following early marriages, set in the Bulgarian law were also pointed out.

Parents stated that good education is basic if a person wants to develop. Most of them shared the opinion that the old tradition of early marriages should be ceased for the better future of their children.

 

The moderator of the Center for Community Development in Strazhitsa organized a discussion on "Early marriages prevention".  Young people and volunteers from the Roma community took part in the meeting.

They talked about the negative consequences of early marriage. It was clarified that "early marriage" should be recognized and reported as an obstacle to the development of the children.

Volunteers increased their motivation to break stereotypes and lead the community to change. According to them the main alternative path to modernize community is to give the young people opportunities for continuing education and professional development.

 

A discussion on "Early marriages prevention" was also held by the Center for Community Development in Etropole.

The people who attended the meeting watched a special video "The Risks of Early Marriages among minorities". There was a discussion after the video about the causes and consequences of "early marriages".

The meeting also addressed the topic of buying and selling young girls among some Roma groups - Kaldarashi, Burgudzhii and Kalaydzhii. The young people declared that this practice should be ceased.

A large number of attendees were active and shared that they would not step into an early marriage because they want to complete their secondary education, then study at a university in order to be able to succeed in life.

 


200 children from Bulgaria were involved in the Programme for prevention of early marriages

 

200 students from all over Bulgaria took part in the training for prevention of early marriages, organized by Amalipe Centre within the project. The five sessions of the training were included in the programme of the Fourth National Meeting of School Parliaments which took place in Sliven from 11 to 13 April 2017.

The other topics discussed during the event were: Roma history and culture, Students Parliament - volunteering and campaigning, Effective communication and team interaction. All activities have gone through the form of interactive games and methods in which the students themselves learned information and formulated new ideas for their future.

The opening of the event was attended by Prof. NikolayDenkov, Minister of Education and Science in Bulgaria, Ambassadors of Switzerland, the Netherlands and France and the Regional Representative of the World Bank. In his speech Prof. Denkov turned to the students with the words: "Be the good example! Take your future in your own hands! You are the ones who have to talk! Speak!"

During the initiative, the participants had to choose from five words the one that is most important to them: Education, Friendship, Money, Good luck, Wedding. It was extremely good to hear that "Education" was the chosen word by almost all of the students.  


Training for representatives of child protection, health and education system, justice and police representatives in Slovenia

 

The Implementation of the training and the workshops for professionals in the frames of the project took place on 29th and 30th March 2017 at premises of Adult Education Centre Kočevje. The training included a variety of professionals such as social workers, teachers, Roma coordinators and mediators, representatives of the municipal workers, representative of human rights institution etc.

 

                 

 

The aim of the two events was to raise awareness about the effects of early marriage on child development. Stakeholders were informed about early marriage prevention, based on the child focused approach /CCA/. A simulated example of mediation was performed in order to discuss possible ways of addressing early marriages with the integrated involvement of all potential stakeholders and institutions.

 

                        

_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Training Sessions for prevention of early marriages in "1st High School (Gymnasium) of Zefyri", Greece

During the 15th- 24th of March 2017 the students of the "1st High School (Gymnasium) of Zefyri" attended a series of experiential workshops for the prevention of early marriages, which were conducted by the trainers of KEAN - a sociologist and an educator, inside the school facilities, under the framework of the project.

In total, ninety five school students and in particular students coming from the 1st, 2nd and 3rd class of High School, actively participated in a series of workshops where they had the opportunity to learn to recognize violence and its forms, to distinguish equal from unequal relations and became able to identify unacceptable behaviour.

 

                    

 

Through the workshops they interacted with each other and with the trainers and they discussed regarding violence, gender equality, friendship and romantic relationships.

Through games and team-working the children experienced how to resolve gender based conflicts in non-violent ways.

 

                    

 

The students through their involvement and active participation in the workshops identified the consequences and limitations which inhere in early marriages and obtained significant knowledge and skills in order to protect themselves from being involved in early marriages.


Schools for parents in Haskovo region, Bulgaria

 

At the beginning of March 2017 Sdruzhenie “Shans i zakrila” organized the first "School for Parents" within the project. It involved 25 representatives of the Roma community, parents of children from "Nikola Y. Vaptzarov" Primary School, Haskovo who participated in the Program for the prevention of early marriages.

The aims of the training are to raise the awareness of the parents about the consequences of early marriages on child development, to improve their sensitivity to the problems of their children and to help them to acquire skills for positive parenting and child support.

 

                    

 

Through group work, case studies and interactive games the participants shared their views on parenting, discussed the qualities and behaviour of a good parent and identified different styles of parental behaviour.

                    

 

After the training the parents said they were satisfied with their participation and would like to attend similar initiatives in the future.

By the end of March three more "Schools for parents” will be held and 75 representatives of the Roma community will take part in them.

 


Second Coordination Meeting

 

On 16th  and 17th  February 2017 in Barcelona, Spain the second coordination project meeting took place. The aim of the meeting was to discuss the activities implemented in the period August 2016 - February 2017 and to schedule future project activities.

 

                            

 

All partners have implemented the project activities according to the timetable. The national analyses regarding early marriages and the comparative analysis were worked out. The training activities with children, parents and professionals started in all partner countries. The participants presented the outcomes of the awareness-raising activities and talked about the difficulties in organizing and delivering the trainings. The planned dissemination and evaluation activities were carried out.  

 

 

                     

 

The participants discussed the future project activities and made a detailed timetable of the initiatives till the end of the project.


Professionals from the region of Haskovo, Bulgaria discussed inter-institutional cooperation for prevention of early marriages

 

At the beginning of February 2017 Sdruzhenie “Shans i  zakrila” organised a training and a workshop on the topic  "Inter-institutional cooperation for prevention of early marriages." The forum was attended by 30 specialists from the social service, schools, municipal and district administration, court, police and NGOs from the region of Haskovo, Bulgaria.

The aim of the seminar was to sensitize the representatives of the institutions, working in the field of child protection, to the issue "early marriage" and to discuss mechanisms for effective inter-institutional cooperation to prevent early marriages.

 

                     

 

During the first day of the training an emphasis was put on the topic "Child-centered approach" and its application in the prevention of early marriages. Child-centered approach is based on children's rights. The approach requires to put the interests of the children at the center of the child care and ensure their rights defined by the law. Decisions concerning children should be taken with a view to their best interest and participation. Participants defined the concept of "early marriage" as cohabitation or entry into family-like relationships between minors, not as a marriage under legal laws. They discussed the factors placing a child at risk of an early marriage and the consequences on child development. Entering into marriage violates fundamental rights of children such as: protection of exploiting child labor and sexual abuse, the right to health and education, the right to play, the right to grow in a family.

 

 

                      

 

During the workshop the legal framework within which each institution is required to work in terms of early marriages was presented. Best practices of interaction and ideas for improving inter-institutional cooperation in prevention of early marriages were reviewed and discussed.


Early Marriage Prevention Network: performed project activities - Adult Education Centre Kočevje

 

Adult Education center Kočevje started with the implementation of Early Marriage Prevention Network project in January 2016. The project aims to promote networking among institutions responsible for protection of children, health care institutions, education system, the judiciary and police. Through cooperation we want to harmonize activities related to the reducing early marriages in Roma people communities. Activites are consistent with the approach that is focusing on the child.

So far we have prepared the report and analysis of the situation regarding early marriage in Slovenia, which refers to the legislation, guidelines for the operation and the working practices of good interinstitutional cooperation.

Within the project we began workshops for primary school children. In the school year 2016/2017 there will be  120 children included from Kočevje elementary schools. We will  provide them with knowledge that will help protect them from integrating into early marriages.

The first workshop was conducted in the Primary school Zbora odposlancev, where students in the fifth grade took part in five training modules. Workshops covered topics such as identifying and defining violence, tolerance and equality in communication and content in the field of early marriage, gender relations and friendship. The workshop was held by expert Mr. Roman Horvat and coordinator of the project Urša Brinovec. They presented students various role–playing games that showed how to build relations on gender equality, how to recognize different forms of violence and how to protect yourself from the unwanted consequences of early marriages. Students have actively participated in the workshop and listened with interest. Through the game participants learned things, which will benefit them in their future. We will raise awareness of 120 children and provide them with knowledge that will help protect them from integrating into early marriages.

Preparation for the implementation of workshops for professionals is also taking place. The training will include a variety of professionals such as social workers, teachers, health workers, representatives of the judiciary and police. We will raise awareness about the effects of early marriage on the development of the child and informed them about the mechanisms of interaction, all based on the child focused approach/ CCA /.

For the purpose of dissemination of the project we also prepared a promotional brochure with descriptions and project goals. Project activities were also presented on local radio station, official project website, and on website and Facebook profile of project partner Adult Education Centre Kočevje.


Trainings of professionals for prevention of early marriages

 

In November 2016 two trainings of professionals were carried out in the frame of the project.

On 22 November 2016 in Badalona, Spain Fundacio Privada Pere Closa, Spain organised the first training for stakeholders following to the methodology, worked out within the project. Representatives of the educational system took part in the seminar. The aim of the training was to sensitize the professionals to the effects of early marriage on child development and acquaint them with the Child-centered approach and its application in prevention of early marriages.

FPC are going to organise two more trainings for professionals from other institutions, working on child protection.

On 25-27 November 2016 in Veliko Tarnovo, Bulgaria the training and the workshop of stakeholders were carried out by Amalipe Centre. 40 professionals, representatives of social, educational, public institutions and community took part in the initiative.

During the training the participants discussed topics such as Child-centered approach and its implementation in prevention of early marriages, children’s rights, consequences of early marriage on child development. 

During the workshop on the second day the representatives of the different institutions presented their responsibilities in a case of early marriage, mechanisms of inter-institutional interaction were reviewed and ideas for improving the cooperation between the institutions were suggested.


Children learnt to protect themselves from involvement in early marriages

 

75 children from three schools in Haskovo region, Bulgaria - "Sv. Paisiy Hilendarski" Secondary school, Haskovo; "Sv. Sv. Kiril and Methodius" Primary school, the village of Konush and Professinal High Scool of Agriculture, Svilengrad - took part in the Programme for prevention of early marriages in the period November - December 2016. 

The programme is designed for children at the age of 10 -14 years and comprises the following topics:

 - Introduction and creating a community

 - Violence - definition and types

 - Tolerance and equality in communication

 - The good friend

 - Looking ahead

 

 

During the five sessions of the Programme the chldren had the opportunity to study cases and discuss topics which are interesting to them such as friendship, romantic relations, conflict resolution and to receive answers to questions which are not usually commented in school. 

 

 

 

As a result of their participation the children learnt to recognize violence and its types, to create relations based on tolerance and equality, to identify the consequences and limitations inherent in early marriage and acquired skills to protect themselves from involvement in early marriages. 

 

 Till the end of April 2017, 175 children more from 4 schools in Haskovo region -"Hristo Botev" Primary School, the village of  Levka, "Zhelyazko Terpeshev" Secondary School, Lyubimetz, "Nikola Y. Vaptzarov" Primary School, Haskovo and United Students Dormitories, Haskovo will take part in the programme.


250 children from 8 schools in Haskovo region in Bulgaria will take part in the Programme for prevention of early marriages

 

The Program for prevention of early marriages for children has started in November in Bulgaria. For the period November-December the program will be delivered in four schools from Haskovo region - “St. Paisiy Hilendarski” Secondary School, Haskovo, "St. St. Cyril and Methodius " Primary School, the village of Konush, Professional School of Light Industry, Haskovo and Professional School of Agriculture, Svilengrad, as 100 children at the age of 10-14 years will take part in it.

The training consists of five sessions and its purpose is to teach children to resolve conflicts, based on sex without violence, to build relationships of gender equality, to acquire skills to protect themselves from involvement in early marriages.

During the classes, through interactive methods - exercises, games and discussions, the children will learn to recognize violence and its types; to distinguish between equal and unequal relations and be able to identify the signs of unacceptable behavior; to understand the risks and limitations inherent in early marriages.

In the period January - March 2017 the programme will be carried out in another 4 schools - "Hristo Botev" Primary School, the village of  Levka, "Zhelyazko Terpeshev" Secondary School, Lyubimetz, "Nikola Y. Vaptzarov" Primary School, Haskovo and United Students Dormitories, Haskovo -  and 150 children more will be involved.

 


First Coordination Meeting

 

On July 12-13, 2016 in Athens the first coordination meeting of the project “Early Marriage Prevention Network” was held. The objectives of the meeting were to report on the progress of the project in each country and to discuss the training materials for children, families and professionals.

At the beginning of the meeting the representatives of the project partners presented the activities they have done so far. All project partners have carried out the necessary preparatory activities for the further project implementation.

Next the Methodology of analysis of inter-institutional cooperation related to early marriages and the training materials for professionals  were reviewed and discussed. The participants shared their ideas on how to create a network of the stakeholders in the area of children's rights.

The content of the training materials for the awareness raising sessions for children were also discussed.  Organizational matters for delivering the sessions such as number of participants, trainers, timetable were looked through.

The topic of the second day of the meeting was evaluation. The participants agreed on the goal and the focus of the project evaluation and the tasks were distributed between partners.

 

 


The project was presented to the media in Haskovo region, Bulgaria

 

On 19 may 2016 a press conference was held in the office of Sdruzhenie "Shans i zakrila" in Haskovo, Bulgaria. Representatives of the regional media were present at the press conference. Malina Slavova, Chair of the board of the association presentet to the journalists the objectives, activities and the expected results of the project as well as the funding programme.  

 

         

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 Kick-off Project Meeting

                    

On March 30-31, 2016 in Sofia a kick-off meeting of the project “Early Marriage Prevention Network” was carried out. Representatives of all project partners were present at the meeting. The aim of the meeting was the representatives of the project partners to get aquainted with each other and to discuss organizational matters of project implementation - timetable, activities, documentation, reporting, evaluation.

The project in