An anti-bullying program from Finland: the KiVa program

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KiVa (an acronym for Kiusaamista Vastaan, “against bullying”) is a research-based program that was developed and evaluated through the University of Turku, Finland. Funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education, the KiVa program has been implemented in 90% of comprehensive schools in Finland.

A key focus of this program is on influencing bystanders (students who are neither bullies nor victims but who witness a bullying event) to show greater support for victims, and that they are against bullying. The program also provides students with strategies for dealing with bullying, including discussions with bullies, victims, and bystanders who are encouraged to support the victims. School personnel who are appointed to be part of a “KiVa team”, together with teachers, facilitate such discussions.

The KiVa program is available in three developmentally guided versions, for grades 1-3, 4-6 and 7-9. Research has shown positive effects in bullying reduction, empathy towards victimized peers, intervention efficacy, school liking and motivation. Furthermore, KiVa is recognized by the Canadian Best Practices Portal as a “best practice” program.