What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls (What Works) is a DFID-funded £25 million global research and innovation programme aimed at building knowledge on ways to prevent violence against women and girls (VAWG).
The What Works programme is divided into three interrelated components:
1. What Works: The Global Programmme
2. What Works: Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG) in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises
3. What Works: Economic and Social Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls (VAWG)
Innovation grantee Help the Afghan Children (HTAC) on Study Tour in Hyderabad, India
The financial crisis has seen foreign aid to Afghanistan significantly reduced. This has had notable impact on the work of CSOs and their sustainability. To address this, a group of Afghan NGOs were invited to participate in a study tour in Hyderabad to improve their capacity for financial sustainability. HTAC, who is implementing a far-reaching peace and civic education programme as part of What Works to prevent violence against women and girls (What Works), formed part of that group. There were eight leaders/representatives representing eight national civil society organizations working in various parts of the country in different thematic areas. Mohammad Osman Hemat, Executive Director of HTAC, visited 10 social enterprise organizations and witnessed a range of innovations that helped achieve social impact as well as income generation for the sustainability of their organizations.
What Works at Global Women’s Institute Expert Consultation Meeting
Emma Fulu and Kristin Dunkle from the What Works Global Programme attended the Global Women’s Institute Expert Consultation Meeting in a knowledge transfer exercise. Expert gender-based violence practitioners, policy-makers and researchers presented case studies from around the world with the aim of identifying best practices for research, monitoring and evaluation of gender-based violence in refugee settings. The meeting covered the current state of the research, innovative partnerships in conflict and post-conflict settings, safety and ethics challenges, lessons learned in program monitoring and evaluation, and identifying and creating tools and methodologies for the future. The Global Women’s Institute invited policy maker and practitioner perspectives for a comprehensive and in-depth discussion.
Senior Specialist Scientist, Kristin Dunkle, presented on the What Works Programme, and the inherent and unexpected challenges of conducting VAWG research in post-conflict and development settings. Kirsten concluded by presenting the lessons learned for programme strengthening, working with stakeholders, and planning and resourcing programme roll-out, data collection, data analysis, and dissemination.
Marching on Washington for Women’s Rights and Equality
A number of representatives from What Works attended one of 600 Women’s Marches across the globe to express concerns with the rhetoric and plans of President Donald Trump’s Administration against, among others, women’s rights and equality.
Emma Fulu and Kristin Dunkle stood in a crowd of half a million people to witness a crucial moment for the violence prevention field, where people of all backgrounds stood up for women’s rights, equality, tolerance and respect. This was truly a moment to step back, pause, and reflect on the fact that change is possible because people are willing to support and fight for it.
Tearfund: ‘Engaging with Faith Groups to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict-affected Communities’, DRC
The “Engaging with Faith Groups to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict-affected Communities”, a What Works funded project, seeks to engage and equip faith leaders to be catalysts within their communities to address the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls (VAWG). Tearfund works with their local partner HEAL Africa in 15 remote and conflict-affected communities in Ituri Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Quantitative and qualitative research, including a baseline household survey with 769 participants (400 women, 369 men) and an ongoing panel study, is integrated into the project to inform the intervention and to develop an evidence base for evaluating the approach.
Tearfund’s project aims to address the root causes of VAWG by working to shift attitudes, behaviours and social norms that support gender inequality and enable VAWG. These norms also contribute to stigma, which limits survivors’ access to services and support.
To date, 75 faith leaders (both men and women) and 30 gender champions have been trained to speak out against VAWG and begin to address the root causes within their local communities from a faith perspective. The project engages men and boys, women and girls in the wider community, in transforming harmful concepts of masculinity, through a series of ongoing community conversations, facilitated by the champions. In the past three months, 358 people participated in these conversations (192 men, 166 women).
Training Gender Champions in Mbr’bu, Ituri Province, DRC, with a participatory exercise to understand power dynamics, and how these influence harmful behaviours
Data from the baseline survey supports the focus on faith groups; 95% of respondents identified with a religion, and of those, 83% described faith as ‘important’ or ‘very important’ in their lives. However, harmful gender norms are often condoned or justified by faith teaching, and at baseline, only 5.4% (n=6) of survivors currently felt their faith group was supportive.
The faith leaders trained in this project are now using influential positions in the wider community to speak out against VAWG and stigma. They advocate for gender equality and non-violence from a faith perspective, through existing activities within their faith groups; such as preaching, prayer groups and counselling, men’s / women’s groups and youth groups.
Mariam (right) a Muslim faith leader in Bale, Ituri Province, DRC, described some of the changes she has seen as a result of this project: “I have seen the change in my own family. Before the training, my husband could not help me with the housework, but now he is helping, and we can share decisions.”
The project has also established local community action groups (CAGs) in all 15 communities, training 225 men and women in how to support survivors. They help share information within communities, and practically help survivors to access medical treatment such as PEP kits, at the nearest hospital in Rethy. The CAGs also have a role in advocating for survivors and challenging stigma.
Community actors in Libi, Ituri Province, DRC are mobilised and equipped to address gender violence and to respond to the needs of survivors within their communities
In the News
Responsive and Responsible Leadership
As world leaders met in Davos this month for the World Economic Forum to discuss this year’s theme of "Responsive and Responsible Leadership", the International Rescue Committee (IRC) shared three stories of women who embody those principles.
One is Ebla*(not her real name), a Refugee Community Worker who works for IRC’s GBV support centre in the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya. She spoke to the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises team last year and shared her story. An excerpt has been reproduced in this Newsweek article.
As part of its Kenyan study, What Works has interviewed refugee community workers. We learnt more about the work they do in the community to raise awareness of GBV issues, and their prevention and response activities. These caseworkers have powerful stories to tell about their lives, their work, and their experiences serving their community and specifically women and girls. More will be shared about Ebla*and her colleagues through other What Works news pieces
Ujamaa’s No Mean No Worldwide Programme in Kenya, Featured in The Stanford Daily
The partnered work between Stanford University, Ujamaa (Kenyan NGO), AIHD (Kenyan research organization) was recently shared at the Michelle R. Clayman Institute for Gender Research, through the institute’s quarterly symposium in January 2017. Findings from the No Mean No programme, designed for young girls’ and boys’ empowerment to prevent gender-based violence in the unplanned settlements of Nairobi, was presented by senior researchers, Clea Sarnquit and Mike Baiocchi.
Featuring approximately 3,500 girls and 1,000 boys between the ages of 10 and 14, the current study is the largest of its kind ever conducted. The girls’ program concentrates on empowerment, situational awareness, verbal skills and physical defense. The boys’ program emphasizes healthy gender norms, positive masculinity and bystander intervention.
The researchers responded to whether findings in Nairobi can be applicable to the culture of sexual assault on college campuses in the United States. They explained consistency in the basic theories of intervention prevention, including empowerment and physical defense across cultural boundaries. The difficulty comes with determining what works concretely on a local scale and how to deploy effective programs.
8th South African AIDS Conference: Registration Open
From 13-16 June 2017, Durban is host to the 8th South African AIDS Conference, which will focus on violence against women and girls and HIV, find out more here: www.saaids.co.za
SVRI Forum 2017
From 18-21 September 2017, Promundo-Brasil will be co-hosting the SVRI Forum 2017 together with FIOCRUZ and PAHO/WHO, and supported by a number of key partners. The SVRI Forum 2017 will provide a platform for showcasing research and innovation in the field, enabling participants to learn about new and tested interventions on how to end sexual violence, intimate partner violence and child abuse and maltreatment. For information on SVRI Forum 2017, click here.
Giving Space to Talking About Women and Girls in
Component 2 of What Works in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises, is featured on IRC’s Women’s Protection and Empowerment podcast Giving space to talking about women and girls in humanitarian settings, which was launched in mid-January 2017. Component 2’s episode, published on 6th February, provides an introduction on the global What Works programme, a snapshot of Component 2’s progress to date, and exciting plans for year three of implementation. Listen now on iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud!