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Abstract

**Background**<br>

Violence has severe and long-lasting negative consequences for children’s and adolescents’ well-being and psychosocial functioning, thereby also hampering communities’ and societies’ economic growth. Positive attitudes towards violence and the lack of access to alternative non-violent strategies are likely to contribute to the high levels of teachers’ ongoing use of violence against children in sub-Saharan African countries. Notwithstanding, there are currently very few school-level interventions to reduce violence by teachers that a) have been scientifically evaluated and b) that focus both on changing attitudes towards violence and on equipping teachers with non-violent discipline strategies. Thus, the present study tests the effectiveness of the preventative intervention Interaction Competencies with Children – for Teachers (ICC-T) in primary and secondary schools in Tanzania, Uganda, and Ghana.

**Methods**<br>

The study is a multi-site cluster randomized controlled trial with schools (clusters) as level of randomization and three data assessment points: baseline assessment prior to the intervention, the first follow-up assessment 6 months after the intervention and the second follow-up assessment 18 months after the intervention. Multi-stage random sampling will be applied to select a total number of 72 schools (24 per country). Schools will be randomly allocated to the intervention and the control condition after baseline. At each school, 40 students (stratified by gender) in the third year of primary school or in the first year of secondary/junior high school and all teachers (expected average number: 20) will be recruited. Thus, the final sample will comprise 2880 students and at least 1440 teachers. Data will be collected using structured clinical interviews. Primary outcome measures are student- and teacher-reported physical and emotional violence by teachers in the past week. Secondary outcome measures include children’s emotional and behavioral problems, quality of life, cognitive functioning, academic performance, school attendance and social competence. Data will be analyzed using multilevel analyses.

**Discussion**<br>

This study aims to provide further evidence for the effectiveness of ICC-T to reduce teacher violence and to improve children’s functioning (i.e., mental health, well-being, academic performance) across educational settings, societies and cultures.