By Marta García Terán. Ana Cristina Bork is 11 years old and lives in Bilwi. For a few months now she has been receiving training sessions on the prevention of sexual abuse, good social network practices and using cell phones to generate communication products to raise awareness about the problem of violence against children and adolescents. Ana Cristina is a member of the Network of Adolescent Communicators for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse through Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
“What we’re learning is very important,” Ana Cristina stresses. She is one of the youngest girls participating in a series of five workshops being given in three municipalities of Nicaragua: Bilwi in the North Atlantic Autonomous Region, Bluefields in the South Atlantic Autonomous Region and Somoto in the department of Madriz.
“I was attracted by the idea of learning exactly what sexual abuse is, that it comes from power relations,” she explains, stating that during this process she has heard for the first time about the different kinds of violence against children. “I now have the capacity to help other girls and boys; I can report it,” she comments, reflecting on the process she is going through.
Ana Cristina is part of the group of 40 girls and boys from different neighbourhoods of Bilwi that are being trained on the prevention of violence, and sexual abuse in particular, through the use of ICTs. The methodology applied allows them to reflect on the violence against them, gender roles and power relations based on their own experiences.
During these workshops, Ana Cristina is going to use a computer for the first time. “I’m very happy and nervous,” she says with a sparkle in her eyes. This has been possible thanks to the Telefónica Foundation making the 15 computers in the classroom it is sponsoring at the “Julio Bucardo” School available to the Network in Bilwi. Ana Cristina also mentioned how fun it has been for her to record different videos on prevention on a cell phone. “What I’m learning here is going to help me at school and in the work with my classmates.”
The Network of Adolescent Communicators for the Prevention of Sexual Abuse through ICTs is a participation and empowerment strategy aimed at producing a greater impact in terms of adolescents’ participation and decision-making in their own municipalities, in this case in Somoto, Bluefields and Bilwi. This strategy is part of the UNICEF #ENDViolence global initiative for the elimination of violence against children, initiated in 2013. This initiative calls for the public recognition of the problem of violence against children and encourages support for local movements to address that problem, which is so urgent throughout the world.