Development of an Intervention to Prevent Violence in Catholic Primary Schools in Zimbabwe: Innovation from within the Church




violence, schools, Catholic , Zimbabwe, corporeal punishment, prevention


Schools have enormous potential to prevent and respond to violence against children.  In this paper, we describe a new intervention to protect children from violence in Zimbabwe’s Catholic primary schools, initiated and developed by the Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference (ZCBC).  ZCBC and academic institutions in Zimbabwe and the UK are partnering to conduct formative research to understand the school context, barriers, and facilitators to intervention implementation.  Semi-structured qualitative interviews with teachers and other stakeholders [n=18] suggest that this intervention will be well received.  Perceived facilitators include utilising existing structures within the Church, the intervention being viewed as in alignment with Catholic values, and the use of familiar structures within Catholic schools to deliver intervention activities.  Challenges will include perceptions of “child protection” among parents and teachers.  ZCBC is refining the intervention model, which will be evaluated for effectiveness in reducing violence against children in a randomised controlled trial.

Author Biographies

Emily Eldred, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

MA, Research Assistant, Child Protection Research Group

Ellen Turner, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

PhD, Assistant Professor (Honorary), Child Protection Research Group

Sister Annah Theresa Nyadombo, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference

PhD, National Education and Safeguarding Coordinator

Dorcas Mgugu, Zimbabwe Catholic Bishops Conference

MSc, Program Manager

Charles Muchemwa Nherera, Academic Research Centre

PhD, Professor University of Zimbabwe, Founder and Executive Director

Robert Nyakuwa, Q Partnership

PhD, Research & Learning Executive

Tendai Nhenga-Chakarisa, Academic Research Centre

PhD, Co-Founder and Non-Executive Deputy Director

Sarah Rank , Porticus

MA, previous Programme Manager for Porticus

Karen Devries, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine

PhD, Professor, Child Protection Research Group


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How to Cite

Eldred, E., Turner, E., Fabbri, C., Nyadombo, S. A. T., Mgugu, D., Nherera, C. M., … Devries, K. (2023). Development of an Intervention to Prevent Violence in Catholic Primary Schools in Zimbabwe: Innovation from within the Church. Christian Journal for Global Health, 10(2), 37–51.