Safe Schools Program
The Safe Schools Program (Safe Schools) was a five-year initiative (2003-2008) funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Office of Women in Development and implemented by DevTech Systems, Inc. (DevTech). The goal of Safe Schools was to reduce school-related gender-based violence in selected schools in Ghana and Malawi to support the longer-term goal of improving educational outcomes and reducing negative health outcomes for schoolchildren. Changes in student and teacher knowledge, attitudes and practices toward school-related gender-based violence were used to measure progress toward reducing gender violence. (p. 1)
To measure change, KAP surveys of both students and teachers were conducted in each country. Random samples of student and teacher populations were drawn from the 40 participating schools in both Ghana and Malawi (sample size of approximately 800 students in each country, 375 teachers in Ghana, and 250 teachers in Malawi). Of the 40 schools, 30 schools in each country received Safe School interventions and 10 schools in each country were designated as part of the control group. The control sites were contaminated by teachers in intervention schools who were transferred to control schools. Therefore, only data for the 30 intervention schools in each country were analyzed and included in the report. (p. 27).
- Teachers became more aware of how to report a violation related to school-related gender-based violence: prior to the Safe Schools Program, 45 percent knew how to report. After the intervention more than 75 percent knew how to report a violation.
- Teachers' attitudes towards acceptability of physical violence changed: in Malawi, prior to the intervention, 76 percent of teachers thought whipping boys was unacceptable; afterwards approximately 96 percent of teachers thought it was unacceptable.
- Teachers' awareness of sexual harassment of girls and boys at school increased: in Ghana, prior to project involvement, roughly 30 percent of teachers agreed that girls could experience sexual harassment at school, after the program that number increased to nearly 80 percent. Teachers' belief that boys could experience sexual harassment increased by 38 percent—from 26 percent to 64 percent.
- Students became more confident that they had the right not to be hurt or mistreated: in Ghana, the percentage of students agreeing with the statement "You have the right not to be hurt or mistreated" increased from 57 percent to 70 percent.
- Students' attitudes towards teen pregnancy changed: in Malawi, the baseline study showed that just 70 percent of girls disagreed with the statement that it was okay for a teacher to get a girl pregnant as long as he married her. After the Safe Schools Program's involvement, nearly 90 percent of girls disagreed. (p. 3)