kiva ingles

KIVA is the acronym for Kiusaamista Vastaan (against bullying) and in Finnish it means cool, kind. It is a program to prevent and deal with bullying in schools that has been developed at the University of Turku (Finland), with funding from the Ministry of Education and Culture.

KIVA started in 2007 and is already applied in 90% of Finnish schools and has been exported to almost a dozen countries, including the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, France, Belgium, Italy, Estonia, Sweden and the United States.

Students attend three stages of their school life - at 7, 10 and 13 years of age - a window of classes in which they learn to recognize different forms of bullying and where they perform exercises to improve coexistence.

Erik Erikson School adopted this system, it has a team of teachers who act when a case of bullying is reported. In any case, it is all the teachers at the school who are attentive to possible conflicts and notify the KIVA team to take charge.


Our Director, Iván Galindo, traveled to Finland to learn about the Finnish educational system and visited several primary schools, universities, research centers, schools for people with disabilities and the University of Turku where the KIVA system, an anti-bullying program, was created. school that has begun to spread in schools in Latin America and that we implemented in the College in the summer of last year with excellent results.

Below we share the report on KIVA published by the BBC MUNDO on its news site and where Iván Galindo talks about the prevention and awareness work that has been achieved with this program at the School.




How is KiVa, the successful method created in Finland to combat bullying that is starting to be used in schools in Latin America


 95971596 gettyimages 518118234Derechos de autor de la imagenGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEl acoso puede ser verbal o físico. En muchos casos un grupo decide dejar de saludar a un chico, quitarle los útiles o llamarlo por apodos.

It doesn't matter if they are private or public, if they are in privileged neighborhoods or poor areas, in China, United Kingdom or Uruguay. In most of the world's schools, situations of bullying or harassment are generated to a greater or lesser extent.


Finland, a leading country in education, is no exception to the rule.

However, since 2009  , bullying in that country's schools has decreased dramatically thanks to a revolutionary method to combat these situations in which a student or group of students systematically harasses a fellow student.

According to a study involving 30,000 students between the ages of 7 and 15, this system developed at the University of Turku in southwestern Finland succeeded in eliminating bullying in about 80% of schools and reducing it in the other 20%.

Nota de los alumnos del colegio Erik Erikson.Derechos de autor de la imagenERIK ERIKSON

The success of this program called  KiVa (acronym for Kiusaamista Vastaan, which in Finnish means against bullying) did not go unnoticed in Europe, where about 20 countries decided to implement it.

And now, several educational institutions in Latin American countries -including Argentina, Chile, Colombia and Perú- are beginning to use it.

The role of witnesses

The key to KiVa is that, unlike traditional methodologies, in addition to working with the victims and the harassers, it "incorporates the witnesses," Francisca Isasmendi, a psycho-pedagogue and head of the program at the Santa María School in Salta, one of the pioneering institutions in the implementation of KiVa in Argentina, tells BBC Mundo.

 95971600 gettyimages 615630480Derechos de autor de la imagenGETTY IMAGES
Image captionHay niños que transitan toda su escolaridad siendo acosados y objeto de burla por parte de sus compañeros.

In other words, "it takes into account people who remain silent and suffer passively from harassment".


"Because even though nobody likes to be part of a situation where a person is being violated, many kids don't know what to do to get out of the way or how to defend the victim," adds Isasmendi.


Although the witnesses are not the obvious protagonists of the story, with their silence or their laughter they reinforce the power of the aggressor.


Incidence of bullying in Latin America


high school students admit to having suffered the breakage of objects brought to school.


  • 12% - 14% experienced verbal violence.

  • 10% say they have been threatened by a partner.

  • 8% were victims of social exclusion.

  • 37,2% of sixth graders say they have been insulted or threatened.

  • ECLAC and Bullying Without Borders (2014)

If you work with observers so that they become aware of their role in this situation and they modify their behavior, the offender loses his audience. ECLAC and Bullying Without Borders (2014)

"And when the group stops supporting him and he is left alone, the bully stops," explains the psychopedagogist.

Once a bullying situation is identified in the class, a trained team works following a specific protocol with the victim, the bully and the witnesses individually, without confronting them.

Francisca Isasmendi

"The impact of the system is felt above all by the bullies, because if they change the attitudes of others, (bullying) is no longer as much fun," Tiina Mäkelä, director of the KiVa program at the Escalae Institute in Spain and trainer of the program in Spanish-speaking countries, told BBC Mundo.

Before it happens

Another fundamental component -in which everyone participates- is prevention.

"This includes lessons and activities that are given twice a month, for 45 minutes, where we do not talk about particular cases but about general concepts," says Tiina Mäkelä.

 95972619 img 6204Derechos de autor de la imagenERIK ERIKSON
Image caption"A los niños les da gusto definirse como una escuela en la que te tratas bien", dice Galindo, quien implementó el método en su escuela en Querétaro en agosto del año pasado.

All these activities aim to create a friendly, generous and respectful environment for others.

Children are taught to differentiate between a peer conflict (acceptable) and a bullying situation, which should not be tolerated.

Ivan Galindo, owner and director of the Erik Erikson School in Queretaro, two hours from Mexico City, says that acting before bullying situations develop was important in improving the well-being of the children in his school.

"We used to act when we realized something was happening, when the milk had already been spilled," he tells BBC Mundo.

"Now we anticipate the problem and it is easier to identify it, because the children already know what it is," and how to avoid it, he explains.

Ivan Galindo

Isasmendi agrees with Galindo.

The kids know now that if they are in a situation where they don't feel comfortable or they feel violated they can ask for help," says Isasmendi.

And this prevention and awareness work also reaches parents and teachers.

"We have to change the culture, because here bullying is often taken as something normal and they say 'it's a child's thing, let them solve it among themselves'. And, as a consequence, many children go through all their schooling feeling bad", explains the psycho-pedagogue.

Nota de los alumnos del colegio Erik Erikson.Derechos de autor de la imagenERIK ERIKSON

IsasmendiIsasmendi recognizes that it is a slow work but that it gives results, although paradoxically now, according to her experience, there seems to be more cases.

It is not because they did not occur before, she clarifies, but "now they are seen more because there is a greater awareness that it is not normal for this to happen.

From Finland to Latin America

But to what extent can a method created for a culture and a society so different from ours provide the same results?

"There are basic problems that are the same in all countries," says Mäkelä, although she acknowledges that certain aspects of the methodology require more attention here.

 95973053 img 6178Derechos de autor de la imagenERIK ERIKSON
Image captionEn América Latina, el método ha sido modificado en algunos aspectos -como en la inclusión de la participación familiar- después de consultar con Finlandia.

"Teachers here need more support than in Finland because they have more autonomy and more time to prepare their classes.

Another point is collaboration with families.

"Many times in Latin America, instead of collaborating, we look for the culprits: the family blames the school and vice versa. Instead of looking for blame, we have to look for solutions," adds Mäkelä.

In the case of the school in Salta, involving the families helped speed up the changes.

"Nosotro"We needed the families to participate because we noticed that when they did, we saw much faster changes," says Isasmendi.

 95973055 gettyimages 539215549Derechos de autor de la imagenGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEn un ambiente ameno y relajado, el aprendizaje se hace más fácil.

A little more than a year after its implementation, it is still early to quantify KiVa's impact in Argentina, but judging by the testimonies of students and teachers, the improvement in the school environment is evident.

"(Kiva) makes me feel safer and more confident. KiVa's classes made me more empathetic and more social," says a 4th grader at Erik Erikson School.

"It has motivated students to be more reflective and to take more notice of each other," says a coordinator at the same institution.

For Isasmendi, it is much more than a valid tool to intervene in a school environment.

"It is more than an anti-bullying program. It is a philosophy of life that aims at school welfare, to create a working environment where children can have tolerance and respect.

 95973057 gettyimages 641755428Derechos de autor de la imagenGETTY IMAGES
Image captionEl método también hace un seguimiento de los casos y encuestas a final de año en la que los alumnos participan con sus opiniones.