In November 2015, the PULSE Foundation has started the project “Life skills, leadership, limitless potential: Supporting children and young people affected by sexual violence in Europe by strengthening and facilitating participatory practice”, funded by the European Commission. Leading organization of the project is the University of Bedfordshire, England and the PULSE Fundation is a partner in the project, together with other organizations (Barnardo’s / SECOS, Stichting Alexander, Terre des hommes Foundation Lausanne Romania and Terre des hommes Foundation ‘Lausanne’ Hungary / Regional Office) from the Netherlands, England and Romania.
The project focuses on issues related to sexual violence of children and young people who are the main target group. The main two project objectives are to build the capacity of providers of specialized services to develop safe, ethical practices of participation by young people affected by sexual violence and to empower and enable children and young people affected by sexual violence to develop knowledge, skills and capacity through programs for life skills and leadership, as well as developing their own prevention youth-led activities.
To achieve these goals, the project team plans to implement rather ambitious activities, starting with a review of available literature on the problem at the local/country level, development of honorarium for conducting training programs and life skills and leadership and ending its fruitful activity with an evaluation and analyzing data assessment and preparation of reports, articles and training manuals to share accumulated knowledge during the project.
Of particular interest is the formation of so-called Country Advisory Group, which will consist of six experts in various fields on the subject and the problems of violence on children and young people. Main function of these professionals will be to provide advice on the direction of activities in the country, ensuring that children and young people are involved safely and ethically and that the plans are implemented in accordance with the original project description.
Another even more interesting fact is that in addition to the Country Advisory Group, each partner country will identify and Local Advisory Committee, composed of six children and young people, whose main role will be to ensure accountability, to advise on development the program for life skills and leadership and help children and young people to develop their own projects by providing initial ideas and acting as a “test audience.” This effectively means that “elderly” will learn from the “young” and their experience in developing programs for young people. The members of this committee, however, must be aged between 15 and 18 years.
At the current moment, the PULSE Foundation and experts working with it, have begun to conduct the first studies to determine the situation in the country on issues related to sexual violence, preparing a document that will be aggregated with similar one reports from the project leading organization and the partners countries as well. Through, this document aims to obtain a clear vision of what direction the team needs to work, problematic and key positions when it comes to working with children and young people. Currently, the PULSE Foundation organizes and conducts a research on what kind of professionals (and organizations) would contribute most to the inclusion and participation in the Country Advisory Group. Subsequently, representatives of each group (locally) of all organizations involved in the project will be invited to England, where they will participate in a meeting on the preparation of guidelines for further work. Along with the selection of members of this group the PULSE Foundation runs and selection procedure for children and young people for inclusion in the Local Advisory Committee. Given that the PULSE Foundation has extensive experience in working with children and young people who have participated in previous projects, we estimate that this committee will be an effective structure that will contribute greatly to the fruitful work of the Country Advisory Group.
And the most interesting is yet to come.