Written in French and designed to help children ages 7-12 address gender-based violence, the curriculum was edited by Yvette A. Kelem and Blandine E. Ackla. Though it was developed for use primarily with churches and church groups in Africa, it is relevant and accessible for other French-speaking populations as well.
"It is time to give an inclusive message to all children and be ready to show them love,” said Kelem.
Ackla added that one of the objectives of the curriculum is to help deconstruct the norms and induce safe and positive attitudes. “This curriculum is a key tool to help children make informed choices,” Ackla said.
Educators are being introduced to the material through both in-person and online workshops.
The Christian education programme encourages the full involvement of children, adolescents and youth in becoming early proponents of nonviolence. Developed for children's Bible study leaders, teachers, parish volunteers, and others who work with children, the curriculum serves as a guide to help churches live into their responsibility to protect all children, girls and women from gender-based violence.
“Every child has a potential and a talent that we must discover because ultimately they can serve God and transform the world,” said Ayoko Bahun-Wilson, regional coordinator for the WCC Ecumenical HIV and AIDS Initiatives and Advocacy programme in West Africa.
The curriculum will be used by organizations such as the Institute of Protestant education (Direction de l’Enseignement Protestant).
During the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, sexual and gender-based violence has increased throughout the world to the point that many are calling it “the shadow pandemic. “
Within six months from March to August 2020, Kenya recorded at least 5,000 teen and child pregnancies, and in West and Central Africa, at least 2,200 reported cases of violence against women and girls in Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cameroon, Chad, Congo Republic and Togo.
The curriculum’s child rights-based approach—communicated through 15 child-friendly lessons—is underscored by WCC’s Churches’ Commitment to Children, launched in partnership with UNICEF in 2017.