Youth Program Expands to Vietnam

Article Date

11 January 2012

Article Author

Gillian Gaynair

Media Contact

Anne McPherson

Vice President, Global Communications email [email protected]

An International Center for Research on Women (ICRW) program in India that encourages gender equality among youth through the public school system now is being adopted in Vietnam.

Da Nang province in central Vietnam will roll out a culturally relevant adaptation of ICRW’s Gender Equity Movement in Schools (GEMS) program over the next three years. ICRW experts will help develop training materials and classroom curriculum for teachers to implement the program as well as design a process to evaluate its impact among students.

GEMS’s expansion to Vietnam builds on a growing body of ICRW research and programs that focus on encouraging more equity between girls and boys. Experts hope that evidence gathered from the India and Vietnam programs can inform future policy discussions around education systems’ role in promoting non-violence and gender equality, as well as spark increased investments in such efforts targeting young people.

“Public education systems greatly influence attitudes among young people but are under-utilized in promoting gender-equitable norms,” explained Ravi Verma, director of ICRW’s Asia Regional Office in New Delhi.  “GEMS aims to change this.”

ICRW launched GEMS in 2008 in 30 Mumbai schools. Through interactive activities, the program champions equal relationships between girls and boys, dissects norms that define men’s and women’s roles in society, and addresses different forms of violence and how to intervene. GEMS students, who are 12 to 14 years old, also learn how and why their bodies change during puberty as well as talk about what makes for healthy relationships. 

In 2011, GEMS began an expansion into 250 additional schools in the Mumbai area. Among the materials facilitators use in the school setting is the GEMS Diary, which Verma said is currently being translated into Vietnamese for its new audience.

Gillian Gaynair is ICRW’s senior writer and editor.