Finnish anti-bullying programme for schools going international

University of Turku
Country of Implementation
Northern Europe
First published

With KiVa Anti-Bullying, the University of Turku has developed a comprehensive, research-based programme to reduce the spread and negative consequences of bullying in secondary schools. The programme has been used in schools nationwide since 2009 and was also available in six other countries in 2016.

Solution details


“The lessons are about respect, peer support and peer pressure, embracing difference, the consequences of bullying, and how students can together put an end to bullying.” Ms. Christina Salmivalli, Head of Project

Problems Targeted

Bullying by peers in schools is a worldwide problem that concerns millions of children and youth, and that has severe negative short- and long-term consequences for the victims, perpetrators, as well as those merely witnessing bullying. Effective ways to prevent and tackle the problem are being sought everywhere in the world.

Solution, Innovation and Impact

The KiVa anti-bullying programme provides concrete, comprehensive, research-based tools for schools to prevent bullying, to tackle the cases of bullying that come to the attention of adults, and to monitor the situation via annual school-based feedback.The programme includes materials for teachers and principals as well as for students and parents. Usually, classroom teachers deliver lessons about once per month, including discussions, short films, and learning-by-doing exercises about respect, peer support/peer pressure, embracing diversity, the consequences of bullying, and how students can together put an end to such behaviours. A video game has also been developed in which students move through a virtual school (hallways, lunchrooms, recess areas, etc.) and encounter challenging situations in which they need to find ways to behave in supportive ways. Often these are situations where someone is excluded from the group or is bullied in other ways. Students receive feedback based on their responses, and they are asked to report on their own behaviours with their actual school peers – for instance, how they have succeeded in following the KiVa rules.

Funding, Outlook and Transferability

The programme can be readily adopted outside of Finland. The cost for implementation varies by country as it is determined by the licensed partners. The cost models in various countries depend on whether the implementation of the programme is supported by public organizations, NGOs, or fully covered by the end-users (schools). Currently, there are plans to start projects in Brazil and Chile, to test the effects of the KiVa programme in new cultural contexts, and to create a Latin American adaptation of the programme.


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