The Impact of a Six-week School Curriculum on Boys' Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya

  • Sinclair J
  • Githua O
  • Omondi B
  • et al.
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Abstract

Purpose: To determine the effect of an educational curriculum designed to raise awareness of social norms underlying genderbased violence (GBV), on attitudes and behaviors of male high school students in urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya, where rates of GBV are high. Methods: A prospective cohort of 1250 adolescent boys from five slums participated in six two-hour sessions of "Your Moment Of Truth (YMOT)", an educational curriculum designed to raise boys' awareness of the social stereotypes that promote GBV in Kenya. Data on attitudes and behaviors related to the gender roles of girls and women were collected anonymously at baseline (N = 1250), at completion of the course (N = 1086) and 6 months later (N = 889). At 6-month follow-up, students were asked if they had encountered any situations in which girls or women were being verbally or physically threatened or hurt. Results: Attitudes towards women improved significantly after the school curriculum and were sustained 6 months later. At baseline, only 42.2% of respondents believed "all women should be treated with respect". This percentage increased to 79.1% at completion of the course (p < .001) and 79.0% 6-months later, with no significant difference between responses after course completion and 6 months later (p = .96). At baseline, 63.1% of respondents agreed that "if a woman dresses in a sexy dress she is giving permission for men to have sex with her". This percentage decreased to 14.5% at course completion (p < .001), and 17.8% 6 months later (p < .001 baseline compared to 6 months later, p=0.04 postcourse compared to 6 months later). At baseline, 58.5% of respondents believed that "when a woman says 'no' to sex she really means 'maybe'". This decreased to 22.8% at course completion (p < .001) and 22.9% 6 months later, with no significant difference between responses after course completion and 6 months later (p = .96). At 6-month follow-up, 419 of 879 respondents (47.7%) had witnessed a girl or woman being verbally harassed and 327 of 419 (78.0%) had successfully intervened to stop the harassment. Similarly, 408 of 869 respondents (47.0%) had witnessed someone physically threatening a girl or woman and 301 of 868 (34.7%) had witnessed a girl or woman being physically or sexually assaulted. In these situations, 308 of 408 (75.5%) and 222 of 301 (73.8%) who witnessed these events, had successfully intervened. Conclusions: A standardized 6-week school-based GBV educational program for boys reduced negative sexual stereotypes adolescent boys have towards girls. Changes in attitudes were sustained 6 months after completion of the intervention. On follow-up, nearly half the boys reported witnessing a girl or woman being verbally or physically threatened and a third had witnessed a physical or sexual assault. Three quarters of those witnessing abuse or assault successfully intervened to protect the victim. Such a program has the potential to make an impact on the high rates of sexual assault in the urban slums of Nairobi, Kenya.

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APA

Sinclair, J., Githua, O. W., Omondi, B., Kapphahn, C. J., Sinclair, L., Mulinge, M. M., & Golden, N. H. (2014). The Impact of a Six-week School Curriculum on Boys’ Attitudes and Behaviors Related to Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Kenya. Journal of Adolescent Health, 54(2), S6. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jadohealth.2013.10.028

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