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Interview with Eider Goiburu, the expert delivering the course titled 'Strategies for the prevention of gender-based violence with young people in formal and non-formal education'

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Eider GoiburuLast year, you delivered a course on the prevention of gender-based violence. People from different fields of work participated in that course. In your proposal for this year, you distinguish between people in formal education and those in non-formal education. Why?

Last year's experience was extremely enriching. People working in different fields contributed a variety of situations and concerns. This gave the course a more holistic view of youth-related work. Even so, one of the main goals of the course was to provide professionals with practical resources. And although we shared various resources, participants felt that we were unable to go into sufficient depths. Therefore, we believe that dividing the groups based on their scope of work can allow us to delve deeper into the resources that each professional needs.

Those who took part last year will have the opportunity to review the theoretical framework and to deepen their understanding of the more practical resources, while those who did not take part will receive theoretical and practical training that is more closely focused on their field of work.

We are going through special times. We have been plunged into an intense crisis, a health crisis, economic crisis, social crisis… How is this affecting adolescents? And regarding gender-based violence?

The Basque Youth Observatory has conducted two surveys among Basque youth since the pandemic broke out to learn about their views on the situation. According to young people who participated in the second survey published on 24 November 2020, the most prevalent feelings among young people regarding the pandemic at the moment are responsibility and commitment, followed by anger, concern and boredom. Half of young people also feel anxiety, sadness, or loneliness due to the pandemic. All these negative feelings have increased significantly compared to the feelings they had in March, at the start of the lockdown. Limitations in their relational and leisure options, negative prospects not only in health, but also in employment, studies or planned projects, and the lack of a time perspective for improvement affect the emotional well-being of young people and the way they experience the present.

The "Plan International” foundation has published a report on the impact of COVID-19 on youth in Spain. According to the report, youth are more vulnerable, especially girls. Gender-based violence has existed both during the lockdown and in the following months, but young people have had fewer resources to deal with this violence.

Taking all this into account, it is extremely important to listen to young people, to understand their situation and to build resources together that respond to the forms of gender-based violence they are currently experiencing. 

Would you say that sexist cyber-violence increases during pandemics?

The truth is that I have not read any studies on this, so I am not sure. But peer relationships are an essential way of constructing one's own identity in adolescence. In turn, COVID-19 prevention methods make this process difficult: very small groups, no physical contact, keeping distances, the use of masks... Therefore, in this context, the virtual world becomes even more important in their relationships. And sexist violence occurs in all spheres, including the virtual sphere.

Why would you encourage people to take this course?

There are not many forums where people in the same field of work can express their concerns, doubts and realities. This course offers such a forum. On the one hand, it offers training on the subject, but there will also be an opportunity to share experiences with other people.

Course: Strategy for the prevention of gender-based violence with young people in formal and non-formal education