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).

minister for uk international development marks international day for the elimination of violence against women and girls with what works

What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls, a global research and innovation programme to help prevent violence against women and girls was launched in South Africa today by UK International Development Minister, Baroness Northover.
The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme will build knowledge on which interventions work to strengthen women and girls ability to protect themselves from violence. The research will provide high quality and rigorous evidence that can be used by civil society organisations, multilateral agencies, governments and academics to develop programmes that will contribute to eliminating gender based violence.
The launch in South Africa, hosted by the Medical Research Council, who lead the consortium responsible for implementing the £25 million programme globally, coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women & Girls.
Baroness Northover said:
“The lives of millions of women and girls are scarred by the effects of violence, with 1 in 3 women beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime. The UK is leading efforts to tackle this violence, and is using the What Works programme to gather vital evidence about what actions make a real difference to people’s lives. In generating this research, we can help women and girls protect themselves and create safer and more prosperous communities.”
Rachel Jewkes, Medical Research Council SA:
“We know there are a lot of gaps in the evidence and data on issues relating to violence against women and girls, not least because of the sensitive nature of the research and data collection.  We are thinking through how to better understand what works, and how to measure change so that we can direct our efforts towards the most effective interventions out there which deliver results at scale. We are looking forward to announcing the recipients of our innovation grants, at the end of the 16 days of activism, on Wednesday 10 December 2014, which are funding cutting edge interventions to prevent violence in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.”
The What Works To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme has three core components. The first component, the Global Programme, is managed by the Medical Research Council testing new approaches to stop violence before it starts in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, and asks how to stop the intergenerational cycle of violence and how the underlying social norms that drive violence can be addressed.
The second component focuses on violence against women and girls in conflict and humanitarian emergencies. This research programme is managed by a consortium led by the International Rescue Committee and is moving forward with important studies in a number of conflict and emergency contexts including DRC, South Sudan, Dadaab in Kenya and Yemen.
The third component of the programme focuses on the economic and social costs of VAWG, estimated in some countries to be 1 – 2% of gross domestic product each year.


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  • Shifting the focus from after, to before, the act of rape

Prevention projects shortlisted for Innovation Grants of up to GBP 1 million

From 800 applications, 12 projects have been shortlisted for the What Works Innovation Grant to receive up to GBP 1 million to support and test cutting-edge violence prevention interventions.
The grant scheme will provide funding of between GBP 300,000 – 1,000,000 to national organisations and international NGOs working across Africa, the Middle East, South and Central Asia, to develop and deliver programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and girls.

The innovation grantees will be announced on 10 December 2014.

Read more.

Global survey of VAWG stakeholders

Last month the Global Programme conducted a survey of over 300 practitioners, policy makers, researchers and activists working across the globe to address VAWG.
The headlines:
- Over 80% of respondents advocated for schools-based programmes as a key strategy to prevent Violence Against Women and Girls.

- 90% of respondents correctly understood ‘prevention,’ to be about “stopping violence before it occurs by addressing the root causes”.

- The majority of respondents had some knowledge of the risk factors or root causes that lead to VAWG, but there were inconsistencies in people’s understanding and a need to further build knowledge in this area.

- Policy and decision-makers greatly valued whether a programme was locally developed or adaptable.

- Respondents said they wanted to be provided with detailed and nuanced findings from rigorous impact evaluations; findings on scale-up and sustainability; guidance on how to adapt interventions; general information on promising types of programmes; information on root causes; and funding and policy recommendations.
The What Works Online Survey Report will be published in December. To receive an update about this, follow us on Twitter or add us on Facebook.

What Works broadens reach with global partners from the UN, World Bank, leading public health organisations, and legal experts

Policy makers, gender advisors and public health specialists from world-leading organisations, have signed up to be part of the Independent Advisory Board for the What Works programme.
The Advisory Board will provide independent quality assurance and advise on best-practice approaches to prevention work. The Board members, who come from a range of disciplinary areas, will connect projects to other work happening in the spheres of economic, public health, legal and community perspectives on preventing VAWG around the world.

The International Advisory Board will hold its first meeting from December 9-10, 2014.

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The Lancet series on VAWG


Policy papers

research, resources and films

The Lancet series on VAWG
The Lancet
has launched a special series on violence against women and girls.  The five papers cover the evidence base for interventions and provide practical lessons from experience in countries. Access the papers, videos and podcasts here.

Prevention video
The Global Programme has also produced a short animation to explain the basic elements of prevention work, and what we know works to stop violence before it starts. Watch it here.

Policy papers
The Global Programme has produced a series of short policy papers, designed to provide a global overview of the research and evidence available, to inform work to prevent VAWG. Find them here.

Read more.

Global partners secured and research agenda set


The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises programme has established a consortium and secured partnerships with globally leading agencies working on gender and humanitarian issues.
This is the second component of the What Works suite of DFID-funded programmes designed to build the field of violence prevention work, which has established its own international partnerships to guide project work.

The International Rescue Committee will lead a consortium in partnership with CARE International UK and the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. The consortium has further established partnerships with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Africa Population Health Research Centre, Johns Hopkins University and Forcier Consulting.
Read more.
The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls: Economic and Social Costs of Violence programme, has been awarded to a consortium of globally prominent organisations. The consortium will be led by the National University of Ireland, in partnership with Ipsos MORI and the International Center for Research on Women.
The programme will look at the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in both conflict and non-conflict contexts, and will develop estimates of the macro-level, direct and intangible costs of VAWG. Further, it will develop innovative methodologies to capture the full impact of violence against women and girls on economic and social dynamics.
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