Background to the Programme:
The Manuela Programme is an evidenced informed sexual violence prevention programme, available in Wexford, Dublin, Galway and Kerry facilitated by four part-time workers. It is a six-week initiative culminating into a sexual violence prevention toolkit for educators that encourages 15-17 year olds to think critically about healthy relationships, boundaries, consent and sexual violence prevention. The programme is very interactive and includes activities, videos and presentations aimed at engaging young people in a dialogue that challenges attitudes, knowledge and skills in relation to sexual violence and harassment and consent and with the aim of reducing levels of sexual violence in Ireland.
Presently it is a pilot initiative funded by the EU and Tusla, and commenced in October 2017 and will conclude in March 2020. There are key targets to be achieved, overall 120 co-facilitated rollouts of the programme and 60 lead facilitators trained up. This translates per area and worker as 30 rollouts and 15 facilitators trained up. An external research process commenced in October 2018 and will continue throughout 2019 with its findings available in 2020.
Targets attained in 2018:
In the Wexford area, from January December 2018, 19 rollouts were achieved out of the target of 30. The six-week initiatives were delivered in five mixed-gender schools, two male-specific schools, two female-specific schools and in two Youth Reach Centres. The numbers accessing the rollouts averaged approximately 20-25 students. Committed work in liaising with schools and alternative education providers continued throughout 2018 in securing future co-facilitations of the programme in 2019.
The main feedback from co-facilitators and participants in 2018:
The pilot received very positive feedback from both the teachers/tutors and students in terms of gaining an understanding and insight into the area of sexual violence prevention which they may not have either covered before or in detail. The opportunity to explore these specific topics in a safe and engaging way. They enjoyed the Manuela Project Worker co-delivering and engaging the young people in the process and subject matter. It was co-facilitated in a fun and open manner. This was a programme that all students should have the opportunity to engage in.
Some challenges experienced in 2018:
Interest and momentum gathered for the programme and with slots booked it highlighted scheduling challenges with regard to timetabling the programme proving difficult for some educational providers who were very interested in co-facilitating the programme.