Violence, a World Pandemic | World Bank Institute (WBI)

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STORY HIGHLIGHTS

  • Africa and the Caribbean experience high levels of poverty and rampant unemployment, which all contribute to soaring levels of crime and violence.
  • To respond to the increasing demand from communities and local governments who are working on crime and violence prevention, the World Bank Institute (WBI) has developed an e-learning course “Urban Crime and Violence Prevention.”
  • The theoretical modules of the course are followed by practical ones, where participants design a prevention strategy
© John Hogg/World Bank, Bapsfontein informal settlement

 

March 26, 2012—Crime and violence have increased dramatically in recent decades. Physical, sexual and psychological abuse occur in every country on a daily basis, undermining the health and well-being of millions of people, in addition to costing nations vast sums each year in health care, legal costs, absenteeism from work and lost productivity. Crime and violence affect all levels of society —rich and  poor, women and men, young and old.

Rapid urbanization, persistent poverty and inequality, political violence, post-conflict situations, organized crime, and the emergence of illegal drug use and drug trafficking are often cited as root causes of this increase. 

The Caribbean and Africa are no exception to the issue of crime. Despite unprecedented levels of economic growth in the past decade, Africa experiences high levels of poverty, rampant unemployment, and a high rate of population growth, which all contribute to soaring levels of crime and violence. In both regions, the most common type of violence happens within families and intimate relationships, affecting mostly women and girls.

World Bank Institute’s Urban Crime and Violence Prevention e-learning course

Within this context and to respond to the increasing demand from communities and local governments who are working on crime and violence prevention, especially in Africa and the Caribbean, the World Bank Institute (WBI) has developed an e-learning course “Urban Crime and Violence Prevention.”

“Given the severity and distinct character of crime and violence in Africa and the Caribbean, the course has been adapted to the specific problems facing both regions, keeping it very practical and participatory,” said Sabine Palmreuther, WBI Urban Practice.  Participants in the course first study theory behind situational crime and violence prevention, gender-based, intra-family, youth, and school-based violence prevention.

“This was a great experience and I have learnt many new things and received validation along the way for things I have been doing over the years working with "at risk" youth in volatile communities,” said Gregory Sloane-Seale, Programme Coordinator, Citizen Security Programme, Ministry of National Security, Trinidad & Tobago, who attended a pilot course.

“Through the course, I had an opportunity to re-analyze my understanding of prevention.  I have been challenged and empowered, I learned to think outside the box and most importantly, I no longer view prevention as "for others" but as my business too,” said Jacqueline Mbogo, Program Manager, Crime & Criminal Justice Program, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya.

The theoretical modules of the course are followed by practical ones, where participants design a e prevention strategy, which includes a diagnosis, the formulation of a vision, designing a sensitization campaign, identifying and prioritizing existing problems and developing an action plan. Each participant presents his/her strategy proposal to the rest of the group, and they discuss implementation issues among them.

open-quotesI have been challenged and empowered, I learned to think outside the box and most importantly, I no longer view prevention as "for others" but as my business tooclose-quotesJacqueline Mbogo, Crime & Criminal Justice Program, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa

For example, Lainie Reisman, Youth and Violence Prevention Consultant, Open Society Initiative for Eastern Africa, Nairobi, Kenya, wrote a strategy on how she would make St. Martin's Primary School a model for the broader Kibera community.

Africa’s largest slum, Kibera harbors many images of desperate poverty, appalling living conditions and sanitation, along with reported high crime rates. Lainie’s vision is that “a safe school promotes quality learning in a youth-friendly, safe, and secure environment.”  Her goals include reducing corporal punishment and bullying on school premises, as well as physical violence and verbal abuse of school. To make this reality, Lainie plans to engage broader community leaders to help reduce violence against children, and put reporting mechanisms in place to deter abuse and violence in the home.

Tanisha Cunningham, Project Associate, Office of the Prime Minister, Ministry of Local Government and Community Development, Kingston, Jamaica wrote about Slipe Road and surrounding communities in Kingston, Jamaica. One of Tanisha’s key goals is to “support and promote the social integration of unattached youth through cultural, educational, social, recreational programs, apprenticeship and job placement to engage and generate revenues for  youth.”  Concrete strategies she and her team wants to embark on include designing informational leaflets for residents and local businesses in the community with a list of all the support organizations and their services available to victims of domestic violence, hosting sports activities and cultural programs, and offering life skills seminars and training sessions for youth with an emphasis on values and attitude. 

Going Forward

The new offering of the Urban Crime and Violence Prevention, the second under the E-Institute, course started on March 20, 2012. The demand for it has been exceptionally high. 

“Based on participants’ feedback after the pilot course, we have expanded the practical modules to allow for more in-depth study of the methodological stages of design, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of a crime and violence prevention strategy,” explained Sabine Palmreuther.

“I am already looking at an orientation to roll out the school based violence prevention project I developed during the course and will be facilitating some workshops to pass on some of the information gained from the course,” said Gregory Sloane-Seale, Programme Coordinator, Citizen Security Programme, Ministry of National Security, Trinidad & Tobago.

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