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Central AmericaEl Salvador

Prevention of sexual violence against women

Sexual violence has a profound impact on the lives of young people. Especially young women and girls are affected. Our partner organization IMU supports women's rights and implement measures to prevent sexual violence.

Young women - and men - in El Salvador demonstrate for more equality. (Photo: IMU)
Young women - and men - in El Salvador demonstrate for more equality. (Photo: IMU)

Erika and Odarlin are two brave young women from San Salvador. They prove courage and stand up for their communities by using their voices to talk about topics that are taboo in El Salvador. They hold events at schools, talk to youth groups or talk publicly on the streets. The issues they are concerned with are sexual violence, equality, gender justice and (unwanted) pregnancies of young women. Both were trained as multipliers and community leaders by our partner organization IMU. "I was eleven years old when I joined the group. I wanted to make a contribution to educating young people and preventing young women and girls from becoming unintentionally pregnant or infected with venereal diseases. That's why I trained as a multiplier," reports Odarlin.

I wanted to make a contribution to educating young people and preventing young women and girls from becoming pregnant unintentionally.

IMU's vision is to make a contribution to social change in a society characterized by patriarchal structures. The declared aim is to combat gender-specific discrimination and disadvantage against women and to strengthen women's rights. IMU has been supported by AWO International since 2009.

Educational work at schools and in the health sector

Alarmed by the increase of sexual assaults and the high number of unwanted pregnancies of young girls, the prevention of sexual violence is an important focus of IMU's work. The women's rights organization cooperates intensively with schools. In sports and theatre courses, students learn about forms of expression other than violence and learn that they have their own rights as young people, with a special focus on women's rights. 

In educational courses, IMU offers young people a protected space in which they can talk freely about their experiences of violence and topics such as sexuality, contraception and family planning. There they also learn that they have a right to self-determination over their own bodies. In order to be able to address the topic sustainably, teachers and pupils were trained as multipliers from the 7th to the 9th grade. The close environment of the young people (family, community organizations) are also involved in prevention work. Within the health sector the following implementations are introduced: through the training of nurses in the initial care of victims of sexual violence, better care for victims of violence could also be achieved here.

Strengthening the participation of women

In the new project phase, IMU is intensifying its cooperation with other local women's organizations by supporting them with networking efforts within their communities and by organizing joint events and demonstrations so that the demands for greater equality can be implemented. In this context, empowerment means broadening women's scope for action - for example through further training and organizational development - so that they themselves can help shape economic, political and social life. To this end, the women are also trained as multipliers and set up self-help and learning groups as well as community committees to prevent violence and protect children and young people. The aim is to educate people about sexual rights, to reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and at the same time to encourage victims of sexual violence to report the perpetrators.

Through the active participation of the women's organization in the local communities, the women's organizations were able to reach an important milestone as early as 2014: In October 2014, the Ministry of Education adopted a binding protocol on sexual violence in schools. Sex education is now included in the curriculum of the 7th, 8th and 9th grades and the learning content has been expanded to include a human rights approach and a gender perspective. This brought IMU much closer to its own vision. The next goal is to establish a school council in each of the two project schools, consisting of students, teachers and parents, to ensure that the new curriculum is applied in practice.


Project Prevention of sexual violence against women
Place/Region Municipal districts of Aguilares and Guazapa in the north of San Salvador, El Salvador
Partner IMU (Instituto de Investigación, Capacitación y Desarrollo de la Mujer- Institut zur Forschung, Befähigung und Entwicklung der Frau)
Target group 930 pupils und 730 adults
  • Education and training in schools
  • Further training of teachers and multipliers
  • Strengthening self-determined decisions of young people about their sexuality through extensive educational measures and dialogue events
  • Sex education and preventive health measures for young girls and young men
  • Counselling and support for victims of sexual abuse and their families
Duration 2016-2018
Budget 50.000 Euro p.a.
Sponsor BMZ

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