Service Learning as a Tool for Bringing an End to Gender Violence

Nom du partenaire
  • Plataforma Unitària contra les Violències de Gènere
  • Institut Joan Salvat Papasseit (Secondary School)
  • Barcelona City Council/ Barcelona Solidària
  • Autre
  • Autre
  • Autre
  • Project Carrier
  • Project Carriers
  • Project Funders
Name of establishment / organisation
Unified Platform against Gender Violence
Contact person
Maritza Buitrago Rave, "Trenquem el silenci" (Let’s Break the Silence) Project
Rambla Santa Mònica, 10, 1ª planta
08002 Barcelone
Location of project
Start date and duration of project
01/09/2014 to 30/04/2015
  • Middle school
Number of pupils, teachers and staff involved
46 students, 5 teachers and 2 workers from the Plataforma unitària contra les violències de gènere participated in this project. 200 individuals were indirect beneficiaries.
Gender, Peace
Subject areas
Other, Science
Please specify how the project was carried out

This is a curricular project, included in the programs for the subjects involved. Nevertheless, it took place principally in Homeroom and Education for Citizenry, while certain activities were occasionally held in other classes.

Teaching and learning objectives

- Offer resources and coeducational tools to teachers in Math, Social Sciences, Experimental Science, Music and Education for Citizenry who voluntarily participate in the project.
- Analyze curricular material together with teachers in order to generate concrete proposals for coeducational work in the classroom on subjects like breaking with stereotypes, analyzing inequalities in the way textbooks portray men and women, or evaluating everything associated with the female world and incorporating the vision and experience of women into the curriculum. 
- Provide students with the cognitive tools to understand the causes behind gender violence.
- Define and identify different forms of gender violence and analyze the social construct of gender, the assignment of certain gender roles for each sex and how these generate inequality and eventually violence. 
- Generate new spaces for students to interact, which can be used to detect, reflect on and question gender roles, stereotypes, sexist behavior and open spaces for female empowerment and the construction of new masculinities.


How did the project originate? What needs does it address?

Every five days, a women dies somewhere in Spain, murdered by a partner or an ex-partner. Approximately two millions women are occasional or constant victims of violence against women, although only seven thousand are recognized. About 12.3% of women between 18 and 29 years of age are victims of abuse, and the same is true for 14.5% of women between 30 and 44. According to data from the Institut Català de les Dones (Catalan Institute for Women)’s macrosurvey, the percentage of women suffering from abuse by level of education was 3% among those who knew neither how to read nor write, 14.6% among women with a higher secondary school education, and 10.7% among women with university educations. 
In spite of progress made in equal rights, the parameters of a society based on inequality between men and women are still applied. 
As women, we suffer from many types of violence. Along with economic, class or bellicose violence, we are also subject to sexist violence, which according to the Council of Europe affects 20-30% of women on the continent.  
Because of this, and by starting with the social element violence against women relies on, the Plataforma unitària contra les violències de gènere has been working for 12 years with the aim of bringing together all those who, from different walks of life, want to eradicate violence against women.
Institut Joan Salvat-Papasseit, a secondary school located in the Barceloneta neighborhood, expressed interest in developing a pilot experience in learning through service in which to work on changing the values that allow stereotypes and gender roles to survive. Because of this, the school and our Organization began to work together on developing the Learning through Service as a Tool for Bringing an End to Gender Violence Project.



This is a pilot project using service as learning as a way of working on the subject of violence against women in the classroom.

Through this project, students acquire the tools needed to detect sexist violence and some of the causes and behaviors associated with it. They also learn that gender violence isn’t an isolated occurrence; rather, it’s directly connected with different aspects of everyday life. 

This project is developed in several different phases: 
1.The Plataforma unitària contra les violències de gènere offers teachers the tools they need to bring a gender-based point of view into the classroom. We work with them on designing and delivering teaching units with content related to the inequality that generates violence against women.
2.Students receive the curricular content of the subjects involved in the project while they participate in training workshops organized by our organization. Our aim is to have them reflect on the structural causes of violence, its repercussion in our everyday lives, and the strategies needed to change this reality. The proposed activities help students to strengthen their capacity for teamwork, their communicative and creative abilities and their sense of solidarity. All will be necessary for the service part of this project. 
3.Once they finish the learning section of the project, students are prepared for the service section, which consists of planning, designing and executing an action meant to raise awareness about violence against women in the Barceloneta neighborhood sometime around March 8th. In this phase, the content involving a gender-based point of view is put into action. 
4.In order to organize the awareness-raising action, students organize themselves into commissions, working groups, and a team of student journalists that gather information (both graphic and written) on the whole process and the action itself. 
5.The service carried out by our students is an action meant to raise awareness of violence against women, entitled Alcem la veu! Tots i totes tenim la clau contra la violència de gènere (Let’s Raise our Voice! We All Have the Key to End Violence Against Women).
This action is held on March 10th, within the framework of the Ciutat Vella Disctrict’s Dones del mes (Women of the Month) for March 2015. The collaborating organizations are the following: the neighborhood Civic Center and other neighborhood educational centers, the Taula per l’equitat de gènere de la Barceloneta (Council for Gender Equality of la Barceloneta) and other neighborhood associations. With the participation of almost 200 individuals, the event includes the following activities: poetry readings, the reading of a manifesto and a letter from Malala, an homage to murdered women or a rap performance, among others.  


Did your project have a final outcome ?

Our project resulted in the following videos, which summarize the experience:


What communications and dissemination strategy was used for the project ?

- The Plataforma unitària contra les violències de gènere publicized the project through social networks and through its website.
- The experience was also publicized through a video capsule, created by the Centre Promotor d'Aprenentatge Servei (Center for the Promotion of Learning through Service):
- Word was spread of the project in the neighborhood through the entities involved and with flyers created by the students themselves. 
- The City Council of Barcelona publicized the event through the official program of the International Women’s Day commemorations.
- Students and teachers shared their project at the Trobada d'intercanvi d'experiències educatives transformadores «Canviar l'escola per canviar el món» (“Changing School to Change the World” Gathering of Transformative Educational Experiences), held in Barcelona in April of 2015 and organized by the REDDSO project.


What outcomes and changes did the project generate ?

For students:
- The students are the protagonists of this project, and this means increased motivation and participation, with learning put to use to serve the community.  
- Applying what has been learned helps young people to generate proposals, make decisions collectively, transmit what has been learned to the community or organize events in their own neighborhoods.  
- This project has helped to transform students’ group dynamic (which is too often stagnant), by making space for new means of expression and increasing student’s feeling of belonging to their community.
- This project promotes critical empathy. Through the experience of the project, students question their ideas about violence against women.

For the school:
- It generated critical, first-person reflection in the teachers involved in the project.
- It offered coeducational tools to teachers.

For the community:
- The involvement of different local social agents encouraged changes in attitude, practice and values on different levels (individual, class, and collective).

For the organization:
- The learning through service approach allowed for a long-term task to be organized.
- Working in the long term gives us the opportunity to address violence against women on a deeper level, and to evaluate and adapt our intervention to better meet the needs detected. 

What difficulties did you encounter when implementing your project ?

- Difficulty in adapting to the time frames and speeds of the school.
- This experience requires the time and involvement of the school, but unfortunately not everyone at the school felt that this project was necessary.
- Continuing evaluation requires greater availability and coordination on the part of all of those involved. 
- The involvement of the male and female students was unequal; we need to work on new avenues of reaching the maximum number of individuals possible and making everyone feel like protagonists.


What factors made it easier to carry out your project ?

- The length of the activity allowed us to take on the problem of violence against women on a deeper level than in occasional workshops and activities. In addition, it made continuing evaluation easier, and allowed us the possibility of adapting our intervention to the needs we detected in the classroom
- Another key aspect was the participation and central role of the students throughout the entire experience. 
- The involvement, motivation and learning of our students was increased as a result of offering them a means of giving back to the community, which in this case was the Barceloneta neighborhood. 

Which factors are most related to global education ?

- Violence against women is one of the most common-place and yet hidden violations of human rights, suffered by half of the world’s population. 
- Schools today are global, and as the principal means for the education of children and young people, they need to carry out the necessary changes to respond to social needs and defend human rights by teaching freedom, equality and respect among individuals. 
- Coeducation is a pedagogical approach that puts emphasis on forming individuals who are as free, just and equal as they can be. In today’s world, it’s an essential tool in preventing violence against women. 

How did you assess the project ?

Our project was evaluated through participative sessions with students. In these sessions, the students expressed their feelings on the project and suggested aspects to be improved in future editions. In order to evaluate the impact of our intervention, we also carried out personalized surveys among teachers.