Passing the Test – the real cost of being a student

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Concern Worldwide,IBIS,NRC, Norwegian Refugee Council,Save the Children

This report examines the research undertaken by a consortium of government and non-government agencies working in Liberian schools, commissioned to research School Related Gender Based Violence.

Of the students who responded and took part in the study, nearly a third stated that they had or are experiencing Gender Based Violence related to schools. In addition, a quarter of the students asked reported that they had been forced to have sex when they did not want to. The number of students suffering from Gender Based Violence in schools is seen to be a direct result of the prevalent poverty in Liberia. Although education is free, students often have to independently find funding for other school related expenses (meals, clothing, school supplies, etc.).

This report analyzes the impact of Gender Based Violence on social, community perspectives.  Not only do perpetrators remain largely without fear of consequences, the victims keep quiet for shame or fear of being blamed or stigmatized. Gender Based Violence in schools, as with all Gender Based Violence, has a major impact on the lives of those suffering it – with the added risk of students not feeling safe at school, no longer being able to concentrate on education, avoiding school altogether, and ultimately dropping out.

Liberia has a progressive policy framework aimed at eliminating the marginalization of women and girls in Liberia by 2020. The challenge now remains to ensure that it is effectively implemented. This report provides information and recommendations for how Liberia can develop safer schools: address the gaps between policies and practice, develop and implement comprehensive education and prevention programs, and pursue further research on the experiences of Liberian school children. 

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