The final conference of the Reboot Now project, entitled ‘Preventing Gender-Based Violence Among Youth in the Post-COVID Era: Let’s REBOOT!’, took place on 25 January 2024 at the European Parliament, Brussels, and online. Organised under the leadership of MEP Alessandra Moretti of the S&D Group, the event served as a showcase to present the results of the REBOOT NOW project, addressing in particular the critical issue of gender-based violence (GBV) among youth in the post-COVID era.

In her opening speech, Maria Elli Doufexi Kaplani, KMOP project manager, emphasised the essential role of mental health in the prevention of gender-based violence among young people. Afterwards, MEP Sergei Stanishev highlighted the vital contribution of NGOs, citing the ANIMUS Association Foundation in Bulgaria as an exemplary model. Cloé Saint-Nom, coordinator of CESIE’s Rights and Justice Unit, then gave an overview of the key aspects of the REBOOT NOW project.

The first panel, on gender-based violence among young people, was initiated by Dr. Emma Mesikämmen, Director of Research and Development at Hope for Children. In connection with this, Dr. Marija Babovic, social researcher at UN Women, presented groundbreaking research on ‘violence against women facilitated by technology in Eastern Europe and Central Asia’, proposing recommendations for legal and policy improvements together with a comprehensive prevention strategy.

The second panel, dedicated to the mental health of young people, featured Elizabeth Gosme, Director of COFACE Families Europe, who emphasised the fundamental role of the family and introduced the Link Education programme for educators. Next, Nadia Kozhouharova from ANIMUS emphasised the importance of training educators on students’ mental health, while Valeria Puletti presented Wellness Festivals as a school practice.

The third panel, chaired by Andrea-Fotini Hadjiconstantinou from Hope for Children, shared the experiences of the project’s youth advisory committees. The young participants reiterated the need to involve young people directly for effective initiatives.

The concluding panel explored the footprint of REBOOT NOW, with Marina Natsia from KMOP explaining the functioning of the platform and the online booking system for psychological counters. Nadia Kozhouharova detailed the counselling service, while Valeria Puletti highlighted the awareness-raising campaign developed by the project.

Concluding the conference, MEP Alessandra Moretti emphasised the continued need for support and action towards combating gender-based violence, adding that it is crucial to establish sexuality and affectivity education programmes in school curricula for this purpose. Acknowledging the contributions of NGOs, she emphasised the importance of cooperation between all stakeholders, concluding that initiatives should proceed from the top down.

The conference, as well as the entire REBOOT NOW project, served as a landmark, illuminating joint efforts to combat gender-based violence among young people in the post-COVID era.

About Reboot Now

REBOOT NOW – Preventing gender-based violence at school after Lockdown is funded by the DG Justice – CERV Program (2021-2027).

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For more information

Read the project sheet.

Contact Francesca Barbino at francesca.barbino@cesie.org