July Newsletter 2016
Newsletter | July 2016

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 Programme
  2. What Works: Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises
  3. What Works: Economic and Social Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls
For more information on all the What Works components:
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Engaging religious leaders in the prevention of violence against women and girls
Wahid Siddiq and Julienne Corboz

As part of the What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls Programme, Help the Afghan Children (HTAC) is implementing and building evidence about the effectiveness of peace education as a form of violence prevention in Afghanistan. HTAC is delivering a peace education curriculum to high school students (boys and girls), and is working with community members, civil society organisations, and influential and religious leaders to build awareness about the rights of women and girls, and the prevention of violence.

Religious leaders are key stakeholders in HTAC’s intervention and vital to its success. Religious leaders are extremely respected by local communities in Afghanistan and are a source of knowledge and guidance on Islamic, customary and socio-cultural issues. Religious leaders also play an important role in resolving or mediating problems, conflicts and disputes within the community and within households.

To find out more about HTAC’s experience working in Afghanistan and their key learnings, read their latest blog here.

Overview of “Zindagii Shoista - Living with Dignity” project, Tajikistan
Shahribonu Shonasimova

One third to one-half of women in Tajikistan are estimated to regularly experience physical, psychological or sexual violence. Domestic violence and sexual abuse are widespread and perpetrated not only by husbands but also by in-laws.[1] However, most of these cases go unreported, as the overall socio-economic environment in which violence takes place—including the attitudes and social norms that regulate gender and age relations—condones the behaviour of perpetrators and prevents women and girls from seeking legal recourse. For example, approximately half of all women in Tajikistan believe that violence by a husband against his wife is acceptable, with rates even higher among rural residents.[2] In response to this, International Alert together with the international organization Cesvi and four local NGOs (ATO, Farodis, NABWT and WoO), aim to address VAWG in Tajikistan and contribute to its prevention as part of the “What Works to Prevent VAWG” programme. The initial project proposal included components on social norm change, public awareness raising and women’s economic empowerment.

Talk Therapy: Equal Access’s radio programme gets to the root of Gender-based violence in Nepal
Gemma Ferguson

Following an impressive launch event attended by Government, UN, women’s rights advocates and NGOs, the much anticipated radio programme at the heart of the Change Starts at Home project in Nepal, Samajhdari, went live last month.

Broadcast from FM stations in 3 districts of Nepal, Chitwan, Nawalparasi and Kapilvastu, the programme centres on a married couple who run a busy highway hotel in Western Nepal.  As part of their daily work in the hotel, the couple welcome characters from across the country who meet to talk, eat and exchange stories, problems, hopes and dreams.  The name of the programme, Samajhdari, means mutual understanding which echoes the core aim of the programme to encourage dialogue and create happier, healthier and violence free relationships between married couples in Nepal.

Alongside the weekly radio programme, Equal Access, Nepal has also set up 72 listener groups made up of married couples who meet every week to listen to the programme and critically discuss the issues raised.  Although they have only been meeting for a few weeks, already some positive stories of change are emerging from the groups, including one woman whose husband is gambling less and spending more time working in the family business.

With a focus on shifting negative social norms, Equal Access is hopeful that the combination of radio programming, listener groups and community outreach will have a positive effect on promoting violence free relationships in Nepal.  The radio programme runs until the end of February 2017.

What Works shares the latest evidence at the 16th International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.
Dr. Andrew Gibbs and Dr. Kristin Dunkle

On Monday 18 July, What Works celebrated International Mandela Day and the opening of the International AIDS Conference in Durban with an afternoon workshop on Dismantling the Structural Drivers of HIV through Implementing Effective Programmes to Prevent Intimate Partner Violence. Dozens of practitioners, donors, and academics from around the world gathered to hear the latest research on causes of IPV from What Works Director Prof Rachel Jewkes and participate in a roundtable on programme implementation. What Works staff from Stepping Stones/Creating Futures (South Africa), Sonke Change (South Africa), and Indashyikirwa: Agents of Change (Rwanda) were joined by guests from the Skhokho schools intervention (South Africa) to lead a forum on the nuts and bolts of programme planning, including community access, staff training, participant recruitment, implementation fidelity, evaluation, effective academic partnerships, and more! Everyone left energized and full of new ideas for preventing violence in their communities.

The Stepping Stones and Creating Futures programme shared initial findings from their control arm baseline data from 640 participants, in three presentations during the IAC. This is the first time the data has been formally presented. On Tuesday 19th Andrew Gibbs had an oral presentation on the relationship between childhood traumas and current HIV-risk behaviours and intimate partner violence experience/perpetration amongst women and men. In addition, Andrew also presented an oral poster on Tuesday on the prevalence of different forms of transactional sex amongst young women in informal settlements and factors associated with these. Finally, on Thursday Nolwazi Ntini presented a poster on the prevalence and factors associated with women experiencing intimate partner violence in informal settlements.

The What Works data analysis team also showcased two in-progress projects in the poster exhibition hall at the International AIDS Conference in Durban, South Africa.

The first project looked in-depth at data from the original Stepping Stones trial to show that while the programme was highly effective at preventing IPV perpetration among young men who had never previously been violent, men who were already using violence before the start of the study did not stop doing so. This shows the importance of primary prevention and the need to targeted intervention to stop violence after it had started.

The second project used data from five countries in the UN Multi-Country Study of Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific to show that men who report perpetration of violence (against intimate partners, other women, or through gangs) were more likely to self-report experiencing symptoms of sexually transmitted infections. This affirms in new setting the link between perpetration of violence and STI risk among men.

Childhood traumas
Transactional sex
Women’s experience IPV


South Sudan research:  A mixed-methods study on prevalence, forms, and patterns of VAWG

Quantitative data collection in South Sudan began in June 2016, led by the Global Women’s Institute (George Washington University) together with the International Rescue Committee and Forcier Consulting. Over 50 enumerators have conducted household surveys on the prevalence of violence against women and men in Juba town, Juba Protection of Civilian camps and Rumbek in Lakes State. In addition to the quantitative interviews, in-depth-interviews and focus groups have been conducted in the three survey sites and Bentiu in Unity State. It is currently anticipated that data collection will be completed by the end of July, depending on the security situations in the country.

Kenya research: Assessment of comprehensive case management model using task-sharing approach with refugee community caseworkers in the refugee camps of Dadaab

Component 2 is conducting research in Dadaab refugee camp, assessing a comprehensive case management model where tasks are shared between national staff and refugee community workers to provide services for women who have experienced violence.

Data collection in Dadaab, Kenya began in February 2016, co-led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the African Population and Health Research Center. Two research assistants based in Hagadera and Dagahaley camps respectively are conducting quantitative and qualitative interviews at different intervals of woman’s participation in case management services provided by IRC and CARE. The study is focusing on the effectiveness of the task-sharing model, where refugee caseworkers have taken on GBV prevention and response work as part of case management. Data collection will continue until November 2016.

Here a young researcher provides us with a glimpse into what it’s really like to live and work in Dadaab refugee camp and on the realities of women and girls who have made it their home.
Conceptualising violence

It is essential that researchers and activists working in the area of violence against women and girls (VAWG) adopt clear definitions that adequately recognise the variety, scope and impact of violence on women and girls, their families, communities and societies. In Component 3’s working paper, Conceptualising Violence: A holistic approach to understanding violence against women and girls, we examine contributions to understandings of violence from a number of disciplines which have shaped and informed the most common conceptualisations of VAWG today. Read more here.

Costs of Violence against Women: An examination of the evidence

Violence against women, recognised globally as a fundamental human rights violation, is widely prevalent across high-, middle-, and low income countries. It imposes direct and indirect costs and losses on the well-being of individuals, families and communities, businesses, national economies, social and economic development and political stability.

Component 3 has reviewed the evidence, and provided an assessment of what we have learned and the gaps which still need to be addressed in future costing studies and presented the findings in an accessible infographic. To view and download, Costs of Violence against Women: An examination of the evidence, click here.

UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment

A consultation roundtable for input to the UN Secretary General’s High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment was held at NUI Galway as part of the International Association for Feminist Economics (IAFFE) annual conference 2016, chaired by Component 3 Principal Investigator, Nata Duvvury. The conference provided further opportunity for discussion, and review of evidence of the links between violence against women and economic impacts.

Component 3 marks World Elder Abuse Awareness Day

In honour of World Elder Abuse Awareness Day on June 15, Component 3 partner ICRW released a new research brief on violence against older women as part of its VAWG Resource Guide with the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, and the Global Women’s Institute.  To help launch this brief, Jennifer McCleary-Sills, Co-PI for Component 3, wrote a blog about the specific forms of violence experienced by older women, the continuing gaps in data documenting this violence, and the unique opportunity presented by the Sustainable Development Goals’ explicit inclusion of older women in proposed targets.

  • What Works: The Global Programme -
  • What Works: VAWG in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises -
  • What Works: Economic and Social Costs of VAWG
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