The Free of Bullying Competence Centre

What is its purpose? And how does it work?

The joint founders of the Free of Bullying anti-bullying programme – The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark – established the Free of Bullying Competence Centre in 2014 to support partners involved in the programme outside Denmark.

Based in Copenhagen and staffed by representatives from both founding organisations, the Competence Centre serves to:

  • Spread awareness about the community-based view of bullying internationally.
  • Share knowledge internationally about the importance of working systematically and purposefully to cultivate thriving children’s communities and the values of tolerance, respect, care and courage.
  • Assist organisations in other countries in the process of implementing locally adapted versions of Free of Bullying as a method of fostering thriving children’s communities and preventing bullying.

The Faroese culture is different. We tend to talk less. But those differences don’t matter when you use Free of Bullying, because it’s so flexible… and the four values are equally as valid here.

An international network of members

The Competence Centre is a network for sharing knowledge and experience, which is why your organisation must be a member to work with Free of Bullying. At present, our members include organisations in Greenland, The Faroe Islands, Estonia, Iceland, Romania and France. The Free of Bullying programme is being rolled out in childcare facilities, preschools and/or schools in each of these member countries on the initiative of at least one local organisation.  It is an advantage if this organisation has a focus on child welfare and/or education

With rewards come responsibilities

In the words of Nicholas Sparks, “Nothing that’s worthwhile is ever easy.”

If you belong to an organisation that may wish to bring Free of Bullying to your country, it is important to recognise that Free of Bullying is a resource-intensive, long-term programme. We know from experience that ongoing development of the programme is fundamental to its success. Members must therefore be strong (child-centred) organisations who are committed to working with Free of Bullying for many years into the future.


To become a member of the Free of Bullying network, your organisation will need to:

  • Embrace the community-based view of bullying
  • Organise the required resources and funding
  • Secure commitment from managers of childcare facilities and/or primary schools to implement the programme. We also recommend engaging and securing buy-in from other relevant stakeholders, such as a university and your education ministry, in this process.
  • Commit to working with other member countries’ organisations through the Competence Centre. This primarily involves sharing your experiences, ideas and the results of pilots and other research.
  • Pay an annual membership fee

I think Free of Bullying is so effective because it’s based on strong research, the materials are easy to use, and it targets children from a young age.


As a member, your organisation will benefit from:

  • License to work with Free of Bullying and use the materials
  • Assistance from the Competence Centre in Denmark to help you prepare for, implement and develop the programme
  • Knowledge sharing and collaboration with Free of Bullying organisations in other countries
  • Invitation to an annual seminar

The steps to membership and programme implementation

Here is a chronological breakdown of the steps involved in bringing Free of Bullying to a new country, so you can see exactly how the process works. Member countries typically complete the first 11 steps within 1 ½ to 3 years.

#1 Make contact

You have researched the community-based view of bullying and the Free of Bullying programme, and concluded that this may be an initiative with which your organisation would like to get involved. Great, we would love to hear from you!

#2 Online meet and greet

Representatives of The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark from the Competence Centre in Denmark will meet with you online. On the agenda: for you to tell us about your organisation and motivation for bringing Free of Bullying to your country; and for us to introduce you to Free of Bullying and what it takes to become a member of our international network.

#3 Follow-up meeting(s)

We continue the dialogue, answer your questions and discuss next steps, e.g.

  • Your thoughts on/plan for funding – we recommend fundraising for the first 2–3 years.
  • Your vision for Free of Bullying in your country.
  • Who will be the key people working on the programme in your country? In addition to people in your organisation, this could also include other stakeholders and partners whom you would like to involve, such as NGO and government representatives.
  • What are your thoughts on:
    • the extent to which childcare professionals in your country will support and be ready to work with Free of Bullying? Will they embrace its approach and basis in the community-based view of bullying and core values?
    • evaluating the programme? Do you have any research partners in mind?
    • your estimated timetable for the programme
  • Discussion on the next steps.
#4 Good match determination

Based on everything we have discussed and learned up to this point, can you and the Competence Centre in Denmark conclude that Free of Bullying is a good fit for your organisation and country, and vice versa?

#5 Letter of intent

If you decide to move forward and enter into a partnership with us on Free of Bullying, the Competence Centre in Denmark will send you a Letter of Intent. This will include a short form for you to provide information about the structure of your educational institutions, your motivation for implementing the programme, and a brief project description.

#6 kick-off meeting & Guidebook

Once you have signed the Letter of Intent and completed the form, the process of implementing Free of Bullying in your country can begin. We will send you our Guidebook on Bringing Free of Bullying to your country. This takes you through every subsequent step of implementing Free of Bullying – from preparing the project documents and translating materials, to fully implementing, evaluating and developing the programme.

#7 Project description, organisational chart & budget

You provide the project description, timeline, organisational chart and budget plan, for approval by the Competence Centre in Denmark.

#8 Partnership agreement

The Competence Centre in Denmark and your organisation sign the official partnership agreement. This is also when your organisation will need to:

  • pay the first annual fee to the Free of Bullying Competence Centre, and
  • employ a full-time project manager dedicated to Free of Bullying
#9 Preparation phase

You now start the process of translating, adapting and securing approval (from the Competence Centre in Denmark) for the localised Free of Bullying materials and making preparations for the pilot phase. This phase typically takes around one year.

#10 Pilot phase

The selected institutions taking part in the pilot phase attend the Basic Course, start using the materials and evaluate the programme.

#11 Roll-out phase

Materials are adapted based on the evaluations from the pilot and Free of Bullying is then rolled out in institutions from the chosen age group across the country.

#12 Ongoing development

The programme is expanded to include an additional age group; ongoing quality assurance and programme evaluation are carried out; and materials are improved as required.

and finally…

Remember that, once we have completed the first five steps summarised above, we provide you with a comprehensive Guidebook on bringing Free of Bullying to your country that explains the remaining steps in detail. In addition, the Free of Bullying Competence Centre in Denmark is always available to assist and answer your questions.

During the three implementation phases (preparation, pilot and roll-out), you must be prepared to participate in several meetings and ongoing communication with The Mary Foundation and Save the Children Denmark, including sending status reports, sharing results from your research etc.

At some point during this process, we would very much like to host you on a visit to Denmark. This will provide a great opportunity for us to meet in person and build on our collaboration. It will also give you a chance to visit a Danish institution currently implementing Free of Bullying, to see the programme in action.

If you deem it necessary for ensuring a smooth process in your country and involving relevant stakeholders, we are also happy to participate in additional meetings where we present the community-based view of bullying and the programme. This could take place online or in person in your country.

To get the ball rolling – or simply find out more – please contact our team directly.

A partnership between