KiVa program is becoming a European-wide phenomenon

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The KiVa anti-bullying program that was first put into operation in most Finnish schools is becoming increasingly popular internationally.

​KiVa is a research-based anti-bullying program that has been developed in the University of Turku and aims at reducing bullying in primary and secondary schools. The KiVa program involves both universal and indicated actions to prevent bullying and to tackle cases of bullying that come to teachers’ attention.

In the KiVa program, bullying is discussed with the whole group, not just with the bully and the victim. Each member of the school community can somehow participate in preventing bullying.

The KiVa program has been extremely popular in Finland and now it is being exported abroad. The program is becoming increasingly known internationally and teachers from all over Europe visit the University of Turku to learn more about it.

KiVa abbreviation comes from the Finnish words “kiusaamisen vastainen”, against bullying, and the program aims at reducing bullying by organising training for teachers and offering teaching materials for handling situations where someone is being bullied.

The program started in 2006 and was developed cooperatively by the Department of Psychology and the Centre of Learning Research at the University of Turku. Nowadays, it is used in over 90 percent of Finnish schools. In addition, KiVa has been launched in many schools around Europe.

–The effectiveness of KiVa has been researched in many countries. We will spread the program widely from now on in co-operation with our international partners. For example, we train educators, who will in turn support the users of the program in different countries, says Professor Christina Salmivalli, the director of the program.

The program is effective

The KiVa program is based on research information and has been very well received in schools. The results of the program have been excellent: in all the schools that are part of the KiVa program, bullying has reduced significantly each year.

The effectiveness of KiVa has also been noted abroad.

–I don’t just believe, I really know that KiVa works. Children love the games that are part of the program, says School Psychologist Herie de Vries from Schola Europaea in Luxembourg.

de Vries says that KiVa works better than other anti-bullying programs.

–I have tried many other programs that aim at reducing bullying, but KiVa is the first one that actually works, continues de Vries.

Text: Matilda Herjanto
Photos: KiVa School, Matilda Herjanto
Translation: Mari Ratia