Drivers of Violence Against Adolescents in Myanmar: Adolescent Perceptions of Age and Gender Milestones for Boys and Girls in Kachin and Rakhine States

This data briefing is a close-up view of the perspectives collected directly from adolescent participants in Kachin, Northern and Central Rakhine during the Age and Gender Timeline discussion, the first of four key activities in the Round Robin consultation design. These qualitative consultations were conducted with a total of 207 young people ages 18 to 22 years old (95 male, 112 female) in Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) Camps and host communities1 (HC) to uncover the social norms and drivers of violence against children with the specific goal of (re)designing adolescent-focused prevention interventions.

This activity begins with a written timeline on which the ages 0-18 are marked, and a simple accompanying question from the facilitator: What is it like for a (girl/boy) growing up in your community? As the participants, who are separated into groups of the same sex, note their perceptions onto the timeline, this simple question begins to uncover a rich network of milestones unique to their own sex and community. Digging deeper, the groups then unpack their perceptions of the milestones for the opposite sex. For example, a male facilitator for a group of boys in Kachin will then say, and now imagine you were a girl. What do you think it’s like for girls growing up in your community?

What you will see in this briefing is how these collected perspectives map out milestones that unite the childhood and adolescent experience across boys and girls in host communities and IDP camps in the targeted areas previously mentioned. You will also see how these different environments uniquely affect the young people that live in them and the milestones that they face along their path to adulthood.

Complimentary to these Round Robin consultations, quantitative ‘polls’ were also conducted using U-Report, an innovation based, user-centered social monitoring tool based on simple Short Message Service (SMS) messages. In total, U-Reporters provided responses to several polls in the consultation phase (9,827 polls were filled out by females, 6,809 by males and 178 by those who identified in non-gender binary terms as ‘other’).

Together, the Round Robin consultation and U-Report polls aim to teach us about the social norms behind key issues related to violence that children and adolescents face today in Myanmar, particularly, school violence and bullying, intimate partner violence and help-seeking behaviours, child marriage, migration, and substance abuse. These foundational topics were identified through an initial secondary analysis of national surveys including the Global School Based Health Survey, the Demographic Health Survey, and the 2014 Myanmar Census.

The Round Robin methodology was originally developed by Drs. Fry and Nhanga to explore the drivers and pathways surrounding different issues on violence affecting children and was based on rigorously tested participatory activities, using a focus group discussion approach with elements that have been proven to be effective in measuring social norms. Along with its current funding in Myanmar, UNICEF has also funded this approach in Zimbabwe on the social norms related to violence against children, in Zambia focusing on school drop-out rates, and in Jordan to explore social and behavioral drivers of child marriage.

Source: UN Children’s Fund

Posted in Legal December 26, 2019