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Teaching kids about their rights with the It's Not Your Fault program in the Cayman Islands

Carolina Ferreira is the Deputy Director of the Cayman Islands Red Cross and Camila Muniz Ferreira works with at-risk youth for the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education. Lisa Evanoff is the National Training Manager for the Respect Education program for the Canadian Red Cross. Lisa and her Canadian Red Cross colleague, Evelyn Vallejo Salcedo, recently collaborated with the Cayman Islands Red Cross and Ministry of Education to offer the “It’s Not Your Fault” education program to youth in the Cayman Islands. Carolina, Lisa and Camila took some time to answer some questions about the initiative for us.

Red Cross Talks : Can you tell us what the “It’s Not Your Fault” program is?

Lisa: It's Not Your Fault (INYF) is a program that looks at violence and prevention in general, with topics like preventing child abuse, bulling and harassment, promoting healthy dating relationships, and recognizing emotional abuse, intra family violence, neglect, and sexual violence.

What is a healthy family? What are children’s human rights? When something goes wrong, what does abuse and violence in a family look like? These are some of the questions that the program discusses.

Students participate in It's Not Your FaultCarolina: One of the great things about the program is that it looks to the communities as the experts. We consulted with stakeholders in Cayman including parents and children and made some adjustments to the curriculum based on our context. As a result, we did an intensive two-day peer education training where youth were empowered to deliver messages about violence prevention and child protection to younger children. The peer education methodology has a sort of butterfly effect. Children feel empowered to share what they have learned with others and spread the message.

Red Cross Talks: How did the Canadian and Cayman Islands Red Cross Societies end up collaborating on this initiative?

Carolina: It started out when the Cayman Islands Ministry of Education found out about the INYF program and saw it as a way to address issues of child abuse and violence with high-school aged youth. The Cayman Islands Red Cross had been working on violence prevention, specifically related to child sexual abuse, for many years and we found that the INYF curriculum was very holistic and empowering for the youth. We were happy to partner with the Ministry and the Canadian Red Cross on this initiative.

Lisa: While the program originated in Canada, we have been collaborating with other Red Crosses around the world, like we did in Cayman, for over 15 years. The program continues to be offered in Canada and last year, we reached more than 54,000 youth across the country.

Red Cross Talks: Now that you have completed a pilot, what next steps are you considering?

Camila: The pilot was very successful, and we wish to continue with the program. Right now, the Cayman Islands Red Cross and Ministry of Education are looking into options to conduct Training of Trainer sessions to build up local trainers in Cayman and to implement the program in other schools.

Find more information about Respect Education programs in Canada.

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