The Spotlight Initiative is a global partnership between the United Nations (UN) and the European Union (EU) to eliminate all forms of violence against women and girls in support of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. It was launched in September 2017 by the UN Secretary-General and the EU High Representative and Vice President (HRVP). The 500 million Euro Initiative provides a model for partnerships with donors, civil society, and the UN to deliver on the SDGs in a comprehensive manner leveraging comparative expertise. SDG 5 and the achievement of gender equality are placed at the centre of efforts (alongside Goal 16) with the aim to provide an enabling environment for the implementation of all goals.
UNICEF Guyana is expected to contribute and lead several Spotlight Pillars. For Pillar 3 which addresses Prevention, it is recognized that that favourable social norms, attitudes and behaviours should be promoted at community and individual level to prevent Violence Against Women and Children (VAWG), including family violence. It must be noted that transforming norms is critical to prevention and evidence shows that changing norms requires a lifecycle and holistic approach. To shift social norms, attitudes, and behaviours towards acceptance of gender equality multisectoral collaboration is required to support these efforts at individual, institutional and community levels.
Recognising that it is vital to equip children and young people with knowledge, skills, attitudes and values that will empower them to realize their health, well-being and dignity, Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE). The CSE aims to have children and young people develop respectful social and sexual relationships; consider how their choices affect their own wellbeing and that of others; and understand and ensure the protection of their rights throughout their lives. Building upon the Health and Family Life Education ( HFLE)
programme will ensure that the CSE delivered is gender transformative, through addressing unequal or harmful gender norms, questioning gender stereotypes, and preparing children to face gender-based violence both inside and outside of schools.
The school settings provide an important opportunity to reach large numbers of young people with sexuality education before they become sexually active, as well as offer an appropriate structure within which to receive CSE systematically over time. Additionally, teachers remain central to the process given their critical role in effective delivery of sexuality education with the right knowledge, skills, and comfort levels. This information guides the learners through adolescence and enables them to make responsible decisions
that impact their current and future sexual and reproductive health and overall well-being. Likewise, adequate preparation of teachers ensures delivery of accurate and age appropriate CSE information to learners for responsible decision making regarding their SRH needs.
Parents play a central role in shaping the behaviour of their children throughout the development years. Research indicates that parents who discuss or provide sexuality education to their children have far-reaching impact on the decisions that their children make regarding their sexual and reproductive health and general
behaviour. Such children are more likely to delay onset of first sexual activity, have fewer sexual partners and more likely to use contraceptives and condoms as compared to their peers who do not discuss issues of sexuality with their parents.
Within Pillar 3 of the Guyana Spotlight Initiative programme, the consultant is expected to provide data and strengthening of the Comprehensive Sexuality Education (CSE) module within the Health and Family Life Education (HFLE) programme. This will support the enhanced implementation of CSE within schools. Additionally, this will support efforts to deliver CSE at community levels as well as efforts to develop community based programmes and resource manuals which aid behaviour change intervention efforts.
Recognising some of the most promising methods of promoting gender equality and effectiveness in reducing violence towards women and girls, this intervention seeks to address school-based interventions as well as community level interventions. School-based interventions, within school settings, will target school-aged children; an age at which it is perceived that gender attitudes and behaviours are not deeply ingrained. Community level interventions will aim to effect behaviour change at the level of individuals and across entire communities, by addressing gender norms and attitudes; whilst addressing the empowerment of women and girls and whilst enlisting men and boys as partners against gender-based violence. Social and Behaviour Change interventions will also be employed to challenge gender norms and attitudes and raise awareness throughout communities of violent behaviour towards women and girls and how to prevent it.