The Edu-Toy approach to ending child sexual abuse

What is Edu-Toy?

Edu-toy is an acronym for Education using Toys, with its specific counselling and education techniques based on methods developed by the Operation Bobbi Bear, a highly successful project that has been running in South Africa ( LICO is the first organisation to pilot the technique in Malawi.

Edu-Toy is a multi-purpose method that educates children about HIV and AIDS, sexual abuse and Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) in a comprehensive and interactive way. It is proven to be a highly effective and child-friendly means of teaching children about HIV and AIDS, detecting cases of child-abuse and empowering children to report on such issues.

The approach focusses on creating awareness in schools and communities, supporting abused children through counselling, following up of cases, coordinating with stakeholders to support children within their communities as well as when an abuse has taken place and creating a conducive environment for abused children, particularly at the hospital or one stop centre.

Counselling to the abused children is given by way of drawing and other gentle techniques designed to help them communicate about their experiences. We use a special teddy bear as a child-friendly and non-threatening method to determine the nature of abuse and subsequent health risks. By applying professional counselling skills, the child is invited to talk about the abuse by relating it to the teddy bear using permanent markers, elastic straps and bandages. This method has been proved to be a highly effective way of counselling abused children and collecting evidence that can be used in court.

children who have been sexually assaulted need to be seen at the hospital as soon as possible for HIV, STIs, and pregnancy testing, ideally within three days of the incident.