Preventing violence

Violence aggravates poverty and destroys social infrastructure and networks. Violence and violent conflicts prevent development. They traumatise the population and destroy people's lives. In the terre des hommes schweiz project countries, violence is one of the primary social problems.
The VSI self-defence group presents ways of defending yourself
The transition from childhood to adulthood is often a difficult process. Whether the constructive or the destructive potential of young adults is developed depends partly on how they are treated during this sensitive phase. A lack of sense of involvement can lead young people to use violence to break out of their isolation.
Young people in developing countries often have little education and few employment options. Their actions are frequently reactions to their lack of status. Frustration about unemployment and the lack of prospects or recognition lead to violence.

The stereotype of violent young people
When people talk about youth violence, they usually mean young people committing violence. It is often forgotten that young people are also the victims of violence themselves: domestic violence, gang culture, exploitative work, forced marriages, early pregnancies, forced recruitment, sexual abuse, violence against girls and young women - these are all forms of violence with which the young people in terre des hommes schweiz projects are confronted.

Multi-level approach
Conflicts are inevitable. They are part of human co-existence and are necessary for change to happen. The important thing is that they should not be expressed with violence. Especially in the context of the work of terre des hommes schweiz, there is little point in thinking purely in terms of victims and perpetrators. What is required is an integrated approach that deals with violence in society on different levels.
  • At the individual level, the self-esteem and social skills of young people are strengthened and they are taught to know their rights and assert them.
  • At a community level, the community should be aware of its responsibility; it should identify the reasons for the violence and remove the taboo from them.
  • At the level of society as a whole, it is a question of political strategy and legislation. This could include, for example, ostracising domestic violence and punishing it by law, or having a criminal law system for young people that focuses on reintegration as well as repression.

Young men painting

Psychosocial support

Poverty, violence and illness are psychological stresses which can traumatise people. With psychosocial support, they can work through these situations and gain control of their lives. This applies, for example, to children and young people who have lost their parents to HIV/Aids.