Peru has 30 million inhabitants, 28% of which are youth ages 10-24. One third of these youth live in poverty. Nearly 1 million adolescents ages 12-17 live in Lima, and a large percentage live in San Juan de Lurigancho - one of the largest and poorest metropolitan areas. The local government has no specific services for youth, and schools have few resources and little training to support youth in their personal and economic development. Schools are characterized by: low quality education; high levels of violence and discrimination (racial, cultural, gender-based), insufficient education of students and training of teachers in sexual and reproductive health (SRH), employability, and core life skills; and high rates of adolescent pregnancy (13%). Gender-based violence is one of the main causes of school drop-out and failure. Gender stereotypes are not countered in schools and foster violent and discriminatory patterns of behavior. For example, sports spaces in schools and in communities are generally reserved for games considered masculine (soccer), while women use to a lesser extent spaces for playing or practicing a sport (volleyball). When girls get pregnant, there are often social sanctions by teachers, parents, even peers which lead many girls to abandon their studies. This does not happen with the boys (fathers); they are not subject to any criticism or sanction and normally continue their studies. Many teachers express conservative, sexist and stereotyped attitudes towards gender.
The new National Curriculum approved in 2016 effective 2017 (with a phased rollout) requires the implementation of a gender approach in Basic Education (initial, primary, and secondary school). Schools are now required to implement a gender approach, yet do not have the skills nor training or pedagogical tools to do so. In addition, a conservative movement has been mobilizing sectors of faithful parents and the Catholic and Evangelical churches against what they call the “imposition of gender ideology” in the new National Curriculum – demanding the non-application of the curriculum by the Ministry of Education. This situation is accompanied by a whole communication campaign that dis-informs citizens affirming that gender ideology seeks to promote confusion about the sexual identity of boys and girls. There is a greater need now more than ever to train teachers, parents, and students in values such as respect and tolerance, rejecting all forms of discrimination, including on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.
AyD was founded in 2008 as a collective initiative of a group of professionals committed to human development and full exercise of rights in a context of equality and freedom from violence. It is led by Ermelinda Rafael Peña (social worker with a master’s degree in project management and 25 years of experience in the management of social development projects in rural and urban areas), and Yanet Palomino (social worker, specialist in gender and development, master’s degree in political science with 25 years of experience in the development field and 8 years specifically with youth). AyD’s work includes: 1) the prevention of gender-based violence; 2) the promotion of an entrepreneurial culture; and 3) capacity building for civic participation. AyD has validated a youth entrepreneurship program and sexual and reproductive health curriculum within public schools, achieving their insertion into the school curriculum during two class periods (Education for Work and Tutoring). It has also promoted a network and local system of prevention against violence towards women and children and improvement of services to prevent and address situations of violence in Lurigancho.
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