Sticks & Stones - Anti-bullying Programme

Sticks & Stones - Anti-bullying Programme: Helping Children to Live Happier Lives

Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$50,000 - $100,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Sticks and Stones helping children to live happier lives, because every child has the right to fulfil his or her potential free from the fear of being bullied.

About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

BULLYING. Research carried out by the Anti-Bullying Centre, Trinity College, Dublin, found that 30% of students reported that they had been bullied in the previous 12 months. In addition, almost 25% of students reported that they had taken part in the bullying of others at school. Young people are suffering needlessly, early intervention can prevent the problem from escalating. The National Office for Suicide Prevention has shown that Ireland has the fifth highest rate of youth suicide in Europe. In Ireland more people die as a result of suicide than through road accidents. Conservative estimates suggest that one in every five youth suicides is related to bullying. TCD’s Prof Kevin Malone, Suicide in Ireland “there was an over-representation of people who have been bullied”

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

Through Sticks & Stones I have created a multifaceted Anti-bullying Programme. The whole school community must address bullying if it is to be adequately tackled. In workshops with children and young people I use a carefully designed combination of drama games, role-play and Forum Theatre. Through a highly focused, sensitive and creative process of play we explore the issues. It is intensive and participative, yet highly enjoyable. Teachers receive Training Workshops, and I work with parents through my Talks & Workshops. At the heart of what I do is drama and roleplay; powerful tools that encourage empathy, when empathy goes up, aggression goes down. The programme helps children to see their class as a group - one that is only as happy as the unhappiest person in it. Post workshop students engage in a personal “contract for change” an action based programme that spans a number of weeks. It empowers them to be change agents in their class
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sticks & Stones is a bespoke school programme: Following an assessment of the school & its anti-bullying policy, plus interviews with individual class teachers/tutors the class-based programme is tailored to meet the specific needs of the class. Our team of skilled facilitators work with students in a highly focused, sensitive and creative process of exploration. Using a carefully designed combination of collaborative play, drama games, role-play and Forum Theatre a facilitator will guide the student group through an in-depth exploration of the issues. it gives children three things: • the ability to recognise bullying, • the confidence to challenge it, • and the skills to deal with it. Our approach is not to attribute blame to individuals, but to look at each class holistically and to examine the group dynamics at play. Learning can be fun, and often our workshops are the first time the whole class have played together. We give the class a chance to define bullying and measure their actions against that. Role-play allows them to act out alternatives in a safe environment, it holds a mirror up to the class and their behaviour. By fostering a culture of empathy in the class the “silent majority” are encouraged to examine their own role; my approach encourages children to see that bullying is a problem for the whole class, empowers then to realise that they can solve it, and equips them with the tools to change it. Students then engage in their personal "Contract for Change" defining actions they will implement to change their class.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

Many approaches to bullying are about stopping/containing/punishing the bully and there are a number of stand-alone initiatives, which focus on one or other of the groups i.e. students or teachers. Sticks & Stones’ approach differs because it engages the whole-school community through our class based programme, our teacher training, & workshops for families. We work with a model of restorative justice, looking at each class holistically & examining the group dynamics at play. My approach innovatively utilises creative methods to have a transformational effect on children. Storytelling is at the heart of our culture; children respond positively to the opportunity to tell their own stories, but they don’t always have the vocabulary, through drama and play they can show what’s happening.
About You
Sticks and Stones
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Organization
Organization Name

Sticks and Stones

Organization Country

, DB

Country where this project is creating social impact
Your role in Education


The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with


How long has your organization been operating?

1‐5 years

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How long has your solution been in operation?

Operating for 1‐5 years

Now that you have thought out your entry, help us pitch it.
Define your company, program, service, or product in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Helping children to live happier lives. Every child has the right to fulfil his or her potential free from the fear of being bullied.

Identify what is innovative about your solution in 1-2 short sentences [136 characters]

Using drama & play to encourage empathy and empower children to be change agents in their own classrooms to address & prevent bullying.

Social Impact
What has been the impact of your solution to date?

Almost 50,000 children, in 1,400 classes, in 100 schools, and 3,000 parents have participated in the programme
I have received recommendations & endorsements from key stakeholders; The Dept. of Education’s Stay Safe Programme; The Anti-bullying Centre, TCD; The National Parent’s Council; The National Assoc. of Principals & Deputy Principals; NCCA.
Developed anti-bullying programmes for children aged 8 to 18
Created anti-bullying resources for use in the classroom to support my programme, including our "Contract for Change" that all students participate in.
Designed anti-bullying teacher training sessions
Interactive anti-bullying talks & workshops for parents
I provide an advice service for parents and teachers
Designed anti-bullying training for youth groups, sports bodies, and those working with children
Grown participating schools from Dublin through to Leinster and beyond.
Developed a “Safe for Everyone” workshop which specifically addresses homophobic bullying

What is your projected impact over the next 1-3 years?

Within three years, through phased expansion, I plan to quadruple our capacity to reach 28,000 children, their educators and families per annum.
I'm currently engaging with a teacher training college to examinine how best to deliver our programme to trainee teachers.
I plan to have an extensive online anti-bullying resource for students, teachers and parents
I intend to ensure that Ireland takes a position on the world stage as an innovator in addressing bullying.

What barriers might hinder the success of your project? How do you plan to overcome them?

A lack of stakeholder engagement. Independent evaluation of my anti-bullying programme will strengthen our case, proving the efficacy of the programme.
A lack of time and resources will prevent me from scaling and growing the project. I am working with some supporters to examine how we might best raise funds which would free me from service delivery and ensure the planned expansion the programme takes place.
A lack of will from the Government to properly address the issue of bullying. I am part of the newly formed National Anti-bullying Coalition, a group of individuals, NGOs etc. lobbying Government for action on the issue of bullying.

Winning entries present a strong plan for how they will achieve and track growth. Identify your six-month milestone for growing your impact

Increase the facilitation team to deliver the programme

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your six-month milestone
Task 1

Recruit and train additional facilitators to deliver the programme

Task 2

Continue to develop & produce high quality anti-bullying resources of relevance to children children, their educators & families

Task 3

Start a programme of independent evaluation

Now think bigger! Identify your 12-month impact milestone

Double the number of students participating in our programme. Create

Identify three major tasks you will have to complete to reach your 12-month milestone
Task 1

Planned, phased expansion of the programme into new schools

Task 2

Implement a fundraising scheme

Task 3

Create an online resource of relevant Irish sourced material

Founding Story: We want to hear about your "Aha!" moment. Share the story of where and when the founder(s) saw this solution's potential to change the world [125 words]

Aged 10 I was bullied by my 5th class teacher to the point of having a panic attack, I know from first hand experience, both as a child and a young person the gut churning, paralysing fear that bullying can evoke. If a child spends their days in fear, dreading the bell ringing and having to face the battleground that is the locker area, the bathroom, or the yard then all else is for nowt.

The very first time a boy put his hand up at the end of a workshop to say sorry to a classmate "I didn't realise I was bullying you" I knew I'd got it right. I've lost count of the times that's happened since.

Sticks & Stones' tagline is "helping children to live happier lives", and that's because HAPPY is the word I hear most often after the programme - "my son was happy going to school for the first time in months"; "I picked my daughter up from school today and it was the first time we didn't discuss the bullying - she was happy"; "I'm happier coming into school now", "I feel happy now"

Tell us about your partnerships

I am continuing to forge & strengthen links with the relative stakeholders.
I am part of the newly formed National Anti-bullying Coalition, a group of individuals, NGOs etc. engaged with the issue of bullying.
The Dept. of Education’s Stay Safe Programme recommends my workshops as an anti-bullying resource, and the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment recommends them as an action project for Junior Certificate CSPE.
My workshops will form part of the resources in a revised Social Personal Health Education series.

What type of team (staff, volunteers, etc.) will ensure that you achieve the growth milestones identified in the Social Impact section? [75 words]

1 full-time CEO
1 full-time Advocacy & Policy
1 full-time Director of Programmes
1 part-time fundraiser
3 interns to assist on a project by project basis with fundraising or awareness raising campaigns
24 Part-time Facilitators

Please elaborate on any needs or offers you have mentioned above and/or suggest categories of support that aren't specified within the list