Breaking the Cycle of Emotional Abuse with the Omena Movement
“The work of NGO Omena and Projet Jeune Leader is very complementary, so this training was helpful and necessary for our work.” – PJL Educator & Participant in Omena Program
From a young age, many Malagasy children struggle with self-esteem, mental health, and healthy relationships because of emotional abuse that is normalized and hidden within their homes, schools, and communities.
PJL Educators - who work full-time in public middle schools as teachers, mentors, and counselors - are often charged with helping their adolescent students navigate many forms of emotional abuse in their lives.
To help improve our Educators’ capacity and resiliency to address emotional abuse among their adolescent students, Projet Jeune Leader recently connected with the NGO Omena.
Omena is a youth-led organization working to break the cycle of emotional abuse within Malagasy families and communities. Their expertise is in preventive, evidence-based social-emotional education, community support, and training.
In this new collaboration, Omena’s Expert Trainer and Facilitator led a training and Community of Practice for 16 PJL Educators from the Amoron’i Mania region of Madagascar. PJL Educators learned how to recognize signs and outcomes of emotional abuse during Omena’s first training session. They then practiced using appropriate tools and conversation to provide emotional support during three Community of Practice sessions.
Excitingly, this partnership also supports Omena in expanding their work in creating young changemakers outside of the capital city, Antananarivo.
After participating in Omena’s program, PJL Educators reported a new awareness and understanding of emotional abuse.
“The training really helps me with my work because there are many cases of emotional abuse. I received tools from the training to help me deal with it and facilitate my work.”
Many Educators also shared that Omena’s program helped them recognize different emotional states and try new emotional regulation strategies – both in their work and in their personal lives.
“I gained tools to manage stress, to manage emotions.”
“I now have tools from the Community of Practice that I can use to improve my approach with others who have experienced emotional abuse.”
Some Educators particularly appreciated learning more about themselves, their personal values, and how to set and maintain boundaries in their relationships.
“[The program] changed my behavior and helped me to know myself. It gave me a lot of motivation, helped me to find my values, to decide about my goals, and to be able to set boundaries.”
Projet Jeune Leader and Omena’s partnership is supported through USAID/Youth Excel’s "Global Grant Competition for Advancing Peace and Security through Local-Level Social Cohesion." As part of the implementation research activities underpinning this grant, we will continue to explore how PJL Educators use Omena’s evidence-based emotional abuse support training and Community of Practice in their work and lives. We are hopeful that our collaboration and learnings will help break the cycle of emotional abuse and contribute to safer, violence-free communities in Madagascar.
For more information about the Omena Movement, visit their website: https://www.omenamovement.org/