In 2010 MARTA started working proactively with young people aged 1316 aiming to raise their awareness of gender equality, challenge the traditional gender stereotypes and thus reduce the risk for young people to experience violence and become victims of human trafficking.
MARTA made use of an informal study method, i.e., a boy and girl group method, which was adopted from Scandinavia in collaboration with the Åland Islands Peace Institute. The method envisaged working in separate boy and girl groups under the guidance of specially trained leaders.
Gender-based violence lies in the perception of roles by both women and men, therefore it is of utmost importance to work not only with girls in order to prevent them from becoming the victims, but also to engage boys so that they do not grow up to become the oppressors.
Within a three years time several youth groups were formed in the regions of Latvia engaging more than 150 young people altogether. Research, conducted by MARTA, shows that the group work has changed the behaviour and the attitude of the young people it raised their self-confidence, improved their involvement in the society, increased their sense of safety, as well as raised their awareness of gender equality and gender roles, including gender-based violence.
For research on the results of boy and girl groups in Latvia and the Åland Islands see here:
The research was conducted by Egita Gritāne, Golnar Bahar and Jenny Jonstoij.