Empowerment through Self-Defense–a game changer in addressing gender-based violence
Over 1200 students from nine high schools around Albania were trained in "Empowerment Through Self-Defense," a methodology that aims to prevent violence and reduce bullying in schools. An awards ceremony was organized to mark the conclusion of this initiative, which started in the autumn of 2021 with the training of 24 teachers and educators by UN Women, ESD Global Self-Defense, and local partner Aikido Albania.
This is the first generation of education professionals in Albania who have been certified as Self-Defense Empowerment instructors. Following the training, they have been applying this innovative methodology in their schools, helping boost the self-esteem and strengthening the safety of hundreds of youths.
“This methodology enabled me to better manage verbal conflicts between students and educate them on this issue,” said Lindita Vuka Hazizolli, ESD instructor and teacher at Aleksander Moisiu High School in Kavaja.
This was the first time that "Empowerment Through Self-Defense" was included as part of the school curriculum. According to a study on this pilot project, 100% of participants, students and teachers alike, responded positively to the experience.
“Empowerment through self-defense can be a game changer in addressing the root causes of the persisting gender inequalities in the Albanian society,” noted Michele Ribotta, UN Women Representative in Albania while greeting students, teachers and partners at the closing ceremony.
According to a study conducted by ESD Albania, school principals and both trained and untrained teachers recommend that “Empowerment Through Self-Defense” is added to the core curricula of schools as early as possible, throughout all education levels and to all genders.
In parallel with the trainings, an ESD national tour and awareness campaign was held in 12 regions of the country where around 500 young women, high school and university students, local government employees, NGO representatives were trained on empowerment through self-defense.
This work took place in the context of the “Gender-Sensitive Post-Earthquake Recovery and Reconstruction” program, funded by the Government of Sweden through the UN Albania SDG Acceleration Fund.