Prevention of violence

Effective action against violence

Violence exacerbates poverty and destroys communities and social cohesion. It traumatises populations and hinders development. Violence is one of the main social problems facing our project countries. terre des hommes schweiz is especially dedicated to taking action against youth violence and violence against women and girls.
One teenager walks on three wooden poles, which are held by other six teenagers.
With common actions the young people strengthen the feeling to belong together and not to be against each other. - © terre des hommes switzerland

In addition to preventative work and counselling for victims of domestic and sexual violence, terre des homes schweiz’s partner organisations in southern Africa focus specifically on the issue of child marriage. This practice violates the fundamental rights of young girls and is still commonly practised in Mozambique and Tanzania.

Breaking through the silence
In the terre des hommes schweiz program countries South Africa, Mozambique, Tanzania and Nicaragua, the most effective way to combat violence against women and girls is to involve the entire village community. If neighbours, local authorities or religious leaders take responsibility and speak up, it is possible to break through the silence. It is necessary to push for change from the ground up, especially in places where there are no state-run structures or points of contact. This approach has made it possible to convince religious leaders in Mozambique to speak out against child marriage and permanently reject this practice, which is a huge achievement.

Frauen an einer Kundgebung mit orange T-Shirts.
Eine öffentliche Kundgebung gegen die Gewalt an Frauen und die Straflosigkeit. - © terre des hommes schweiz

Youth groups provide an alternative to violence
In Columbia, Brazil and El Salvador, terre des hommes schweiz supports projects that provide youth with platforms to actively promote peaceful coexistence. Through creative campaigns and community projects, young people are managing to stop the cycle of fear and mutual mistrust in districts affected by violence. In youth groups, young people learn that there are alternatives to being part of a criminal gang. These initiatives have shown that it doesn’t take much to break the vicious cycle of violence, because there is a strong desire for change.


The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development places a high priority on the fight against violence. Several of the UN’s goals call for the international community to take coordinated action to curb the global burden of violence.

The work of terre des hommes schweiz refers to objectives 5.2, 5.3 and 16 in the area of violence prevention. The objectives are presented on the respective topic page (see table of contents above).

Desk for prevention of violence

Andrea Zellhuber
Development politics and Desk for violence prevention
061 335 91 52 | Andrea.Zellhuber(a)
Andrea ZellhuberDevelopment politics and Desk for violence prevention

061 335 91 52 | Andrea.Zellhuber(a)