ESD Global and El HaLev co-hosted the first International Violence Prevention Conference in Jerusalem, Israel, February 23-24, 2020, bringing together participants from 7 states and 24 countries including Canada; the Democratic Republic of Congo, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Rwanda; Brazil, Chile, and Costa Rica. Participants included internationally renowned boxer, Hanna Gabriels, as well as representatives from Global NGOs concerned with preventing Gender Based Violence and Violence against children including Safe Hands for Girls in Gambia, Peace Jam, and The Global Well Being Fund.
The two-day conference provided a safe space for participants to explore recent developments in the field and form international partnerships. VPEC 2020 was an opportunity to present methods of primary prevention in which education is key. World-renowned scholars, activists, and diplomats shared their expertise in violence prevention education. Topics of discussion included: training early child-care workers, how to help victims of economic violence, online risks of cyber bullying, and much more.
Yoanna Blikman, an instructor at El Halev אל הלב, who participated in the conference and an ESD Global Self-Defense Level 1 violence prevention training which took place prior to the conference said: “I’m very happy to get to know so many women from all over the world who want to help other women. I’m looking forward to flying to different countries to spread our knowledge".
VPEC 2020 attendees included members from Safe Hands for Girls, a non-profit organization in Gambia dedicated to fighting female genital mutilation and child marriage. The organization recently shared self-defense principles & techniques acquired during the training in Israel with Young Advocates in Africa.
Daniela Lizano, an experienced Krav Maga & cerified ESD instructor, is integrating skills she learned during VPEC 2020 into her own courses, and reaching new populations in Costa Rica. Daniela is part of a network of 18 women from Latin America and the Caribbean, from 8 different countries, who are currently teaching Empowerment Self Defense in the region.
"We all came from different backgrounds and different countries. However we were united in needing the tools that disrupt Gender Based Violence on a personal level. Tools that offer more choices. Tools that are not restrictive, tools that build on our own self knowledge, self worth and understanding of our own contexts and realities".
"In Costa Rica, a country with no military and also known for its environmentalism and peace, every 5 minutes, a woman dials 911 looking for refuge from intrafamiliar violence" Daniela noted, stressing on the importance of ESD and violence prevention education in shifting the problem.