The Manuela Project
Co-funded by the Rights, Equality and Citizenship (REC) Programme of the European Union
In October 2016 Tusla’s Child and Family Domestic, Sexual, and Gender Based Violence Team took up the opportunity to apply for a European Commission Justice Grant under call for proposals, “awareness raising and education activities aimed at and preventing and combating violence against women”.
After extensive consultation with partner agencies and specialist sexual violence funded services, it was agreed that Tusla would pursue this specific European funding application based on “The Manuela Programme”.
Following confirmation of overall grant funding of €556,417.63 (of which €445,133.63 (80% ) was contributed by the EU and €111,284.00 (20%) was contributed by Tusla and the Manuela Riedo Foundation)
The Manuela Project started on 3rd September 2017 and ran for 30 months until 3rd March 2020.
|Project Title||Manuela Programme Project|
|Name of the Beneficiary/Coordinator||Tusla: Child and Family Agency|
|Galway Rape Crisis Centre|
|Dublin Rape Crisis Centre|
|Wexford Rape Crisis Centre|
|Kerry Rape Crisis Centre|
Main objectives of the project
This project aimed to develop, deliver and evaluate the Manuela Programme, which is a comprehensive, evidence informed sexual violence prevention programme for young people. Building capacity and demand for sexual violence prevention in the education sector was integral to the project.
Short description of the implemented activities
The Manuela Programme was delivered in six 2 hour modules to over 2,700 young people across 60 schools and alternative education settings by 4 Project Workers in collaboration with teachers and youth workers.
The programme empowered participants with knowledge, attitudes and skills to understand sexual violence, negotiate informed and legal consent, develop healthy relationships, challenge social norms tolerant of violence, navigate the influences of social media, popular culture and pornography, and enhance access to support services.
The approach was highly interactive, inclusive and non-judgmental.
61 teachers and youth workers were coached and mentored by the Project Workers through a process of co-facilitation, which was complemented with facilitator training days and the provision of the comprehensive facilitator handbook. The learning from delivery was used to refine and update the handbook with useful materials and guidelines.
A rigorous evaluation of the programme was conducted to assess the evidence for effectiveness and support for sustainability and policy influencing.
NUIGalway, a research institution with extensive experience in piloting and evaluating sexual consent programmes in third level education was contracted for this purpose following a formal invitation to tender process.
The evaluation used a mix of quantitative and qualitative methods. A survey was designed to capture a baseline and assess changes in the knowledge, beliefs, and attitudes targeted by the programme, including understanding of sexual violence, sexual consent behavioural intentions and attitudes, rape myths, heterosexual scripts, pornography and sexting, and perceptions of programme impact. The survey utilised existing validated measures, making adaptations based on age and culture. The survey was administered before and after participation in the programme with 626 young people. A further 134 students took part in one of 13 focus groups, and further interviews and focus groups were also held with teachers, schools staff, project workers and the project’s Advisory Group.
The survey utilised existing validated measures, making adaptations based on age and culture. The survey was administered before and after participation in the programme with 626 young people.
A further 134 students took part in one of 13 focus groups, and further interviews and focus groups were also held with teachers, schools staff, project workers and the project’s Advisory Group.
Additionally, the project incorporated mechanisms for enhanced inter-agency collaboration, in particular through the multi-stakeholder Advisory Group. The evidence and learning from the project was shared through various platforms, including a national review of Relationships and Sexuality Education
Key results achieved
- 2,701 young people (52% female, 48% male, aged 14-18) participated in the Manuela Programme.
- 70 educational centres (63 schools and 7 Youthreach centres) benefitted directly from enhanced capacity in sexual violence prevention education
- 61 facilitators received comprehensive training in the delivery of the programme through co-facilitation, coaching, training days and high quality facilitation materials.
Evidence and learning from the project informed a major national review of Relationships and Sexuality Education undertaken by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment at the request of the Minister for Education Manuela.
Project Submission to the National Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE) Phase 1. 30th April 2019. Electronic, English. Available online here.
Manuela Project Second Submission to the National Review of Relationships and Sexuality Education (RSE). 23rd September 2019. Electronic, English. Available online here.
- The evaluation generated invaluable evidence and recommendations, including the important finding of statistically significant positive changes in sexual consent indicators for the young people that participated
Executive summary of Manuela Programme evaluation report here
Full Manuela Programme evaluation report here
|Suzanne Walker||Tusla||Project Manager|
|Carolyn Brohan||Wexford RCC||Project Worker. Revised and tested rogramme materials, facilitated school and Youtreach rollouts and provided training to teachers.|
|Kevin McParland||Dublin RCC||Project Worker. Revised and tested programme materials, facilitated school and Youthreach rollouts and provided training to teachers, analysis or feedback forms.|
|Kristy McFettridge||Kerry RCC||Project Worker. Revised and tested programme materials, facilitated school and Youthreach rolouts and provided training to teachers, Rape Crisis staff and Traveller centre staff.|
|Michelle Caulfield||Galway RCC||Project Worker. Revised and tested programme materials, facilitated school and youthreach rollouts and provided training to teachers, Rae Crisis staff and Traveller centre staff.|
|Amanda Cosgrove||Galway RCC||Administrative officer, admin suport and coordination. Additional support provided where required.|