What Works Newsletter | October 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:


For more information on all the What Works components:
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Out and About 

Out and About in Dubai by Samantha Willan

September was a great month: over 100 What Works grantees, partners and key DFID staff met in Dubai for four days, and we had a wonderful time! The first two days were spent in capacity building workshops where we debated strategies to ensure our work is always ethical (during research, while running interventions and how to provide care and support to our own staff); role-played how to tackle challenging topics in interviews, such as how do you get a man to talk about violence he might have committed, and how do you get women to acknowledge their violence experiences for the first time; and enjoyed sessions such as on working with data sets to build skills on quantitative and qualitative analysis. The feedback was “we want more!!” as well as some very useful thoughts on improvements for next year.
Then we moved to the Annual Scientific meeting, where we heard from projects about their baseline findings, the highs and lows of intervention implementation and intervention research, the challenges of doing this research in conflict and post-conflict settings, and how to cost violence against women and girls (VAWG) prevention. We also debated Research Uptake, thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to see snap-shots of the interventions, and participated in some of the activities (which generated much hilarity).

Thank you to everyone who participated, shared their knowledge and worked to make it great. And for those that missed out, there will be a report available very soon.

We will be meeting again next year and look forward to more powerful discussions. So watch this space!


2016 Scientific Meeting – Reflections From What Works: Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises

The 2016 Scientific Meeting in Dubai was attended by researchers and practitioners from across the Component 2 Consortium ­– Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises. It was a great opportunity for Component 2 partners to showcase findings and learnings from research conducted in conflict and humanitarian settings to the wider What Works programme.
Dr Mary Ellsberg from the Global Women’s Institute at The George Washington University (GWI) presented findings from qualitative research conducted in South Sudan as part of a mixed methods prevalence study led by GWI in the country. The findings highlighted the links between bride price, cattle ownership, and VAWG in South Sudan and resonated with many of the participants working in non-conflict settings.
Alys McAlpine from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Mairi MacRae from the International Rescue Committee (IRC) presented findings from research conducted in Dadaab refugee camps, Kenya. The presentation focussed on findings from formative research with refugee caseworkers providing VAWG case management services together with NGO workers in the camps. The presentation shined a light on the inspiring and selfless work refugees in Dadaab are engaging in to support survivors of violence, while revealing the physical and psychological toll that many suffer as a consequence.
The meeting also provided an opportunity for researchers from both the Dadaab and South Sudan studies to present methodological challenges of conducting research in conflict and humanitarian settings. In addition, implementing staff from CARE and IRC Kenya were able to showcase the two organisations’ gender-based violence (GBV) case management programming in Dadaab during the implementation roadshow.
Overall the meeting was also invaluable in allowing Component 2 partners to interact and share knowledge with implementing partners, grantees, and stakeholders from across the What Works programme. In particular, it was exciting to begin looking forward to the next phase of the programme and discuss, reflect, and share approaches to research uptake from the broad range of perspectives represented. The meeting was a reminder of the opportunity What Works offers to convene leading VAWG researchers, programme practitioners, and activists to build evidence and ultimately improve the global response to and prevention of VAWG.
What Works at the What Works Global Summit in London
Dr. Lyndsay McLean (Social Development Direct, Core Group) contributed to two sessions on behalf of Component 1, the What Works To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme at the 3ie What Works Global Summit 2016 in London. The first session (25th September) was a workshop on “Generating Evidence on VAWG”. After introducing the What Works programme, Lyndsay spoke to the participants about the technical assistance built into it, which aims to improve the quality of the interventions and the research on VAWG prevention. She highlighted the importance of formative research and developing a robust theory of change based on existing evidence. The participants then engaged in an exercise to develop and interrogate a theory of change for a VAWG prevention intervention, which sparked lively discussion about theories of change and evidence-based interventions.

The second session (27th September) was a panel session on ‘What Works to Prevent VAWG’, which was attended by over 30 academics, policymakers, practitioners and a members of parliament. After introducing the What Works programme and its three components, Lyndsay summarised the key findings of the evidence papers produced by Component 1 on the effectiveness of prevention interventions and VAWG response mechanisms on reducing the prevalence of VAWG, and provided an update on more recent studies that have been published since that date. She then gave an overview of the 17 projects funded by Component 1 and how these were addressing the evidence gaps. Following presentations by Component 2 (Mary Ellsberg and Maureen Murphy) and the DFID VAWG Team Leader (Ashufta Alam), there was great engagement from the audience with a range of interesting questions about the evidence base and about the programme.  
Nata Duvvury Presents to the UNGA on the Costs of Violence Against Women
At the invitation of the President of Lithuania Dalia Grybauskaitė, Dr Nata Duvvury addressed a high level discussion on the economic impacts of VAW. Dr. Duvvury is the Principal Investigator for What Works Component 3 and was invited to address the discussion as an expert advisor. The panel included heads of state from Chile, Lithuania, Croatia and Namibia, as well as Dr. Margaret Chan, Director General of the World Health Organization, and other representatives of governments and international bodies. 

Dr Duvvury shared some of the global evidence related to the extensive cumulative impacts that VAW has on individual women and girls, and the different ways in which it ripples across the economy, affecting families, businesses, communities and whole societies. She drew attention to some of the gaps in our current understanding of the macro-economic impact of VAW, which What Works Component 3 is working to fill. 
The discussion was an excellent opportunity to draw attention to our research with policy makers. While the human rights and health impact of VAW is broadly acknowledged, it has yet to translate into the political and financial commitment necessary to eliminate the problem. Dr Duvvury applauded the work of the United Nations Secretary-General's High Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment, but cautioned against assuming that economic empowerment results in a reduction of VAW. She pointed out that VAW creates a permanent leakage in economic systems, and that if we are really sincere in our commitments to any other gender equality measures, we must invest in ending VAWG. 
What Works at the European Consortium of Political Research
In September, Stacey Scriver (NUI Galway) and Jennifer McCleary Sills (ICRW) co-convened two panels at the annual ECPR on the topic of gender, inequality and political violence. The ECPR is Europe's biggest annual conference of political scientists, and this was an excellent opportunity to further explore the relationship between VAW and conflict, a key aspect of Component 3's research. 
Carol Ballantine (NUI Galway) presented a theoretical framework for understanding the specific role of GBV in perpetuating violent conflict. There is good evidence for a positive relationship between gender equality and peaceful states – both at interstate level, and internally at intrastate level. There is also a body of evidence that shows that situations of armed conflict increase violence against women (VAW), across all types. However, few researchers to date have investigated the ways in which VAW specifically influences the likelihood of violent conflict within and between states. Ballantine explored the relationship between norms of violence and inequality at household and societal levels, and the impact of violence on the capabilities of women, and their knock-on impacts on social cohesion. What Works Component 3 will continue to explore these relationships. 

Dr Emma Fulu Disseminates What Works Research and Resources
Expertise and findings from the What Works, including the What Works Evidence Briefs and the Stopping Violence Before It Starts short video have proved to be effective and adaptable resources in a range of contexts and in communicating evidence on what works to prevent VAW to a wide range of audiences over the last few months.

Recently Dr Emma Fulu along with The Equality Institute and the United Nations Development Programme, supported the Department for Community Development in Papua New Guinea in conducting training on GBV and statistics for a diverse group of local researchers from across the country. The workshop made use of What Works materials to train the researchers in the complexities of GBV research, and to enhance their capacity to conduct ethical research, analyse data, and communicate statistics for advocacy purposes.

In September Dr Fulu led a session at the UNWomen training workshop The Road to Change: A Pacific Regional Consultation on Prevention of Violence against Women and Girls. Here What Works content was used in the training of local researchers to strengthen their knowledge and capacity of current approaches to violence prevention and to develop principles to guide primary prevention work in the Pacific.

What Works resources were also used at Prevalent and Preventable, an International Conference on Practice and Policy in the Prevention of Violence Against Women and their Children in Adelaide, Australia last month. Here, Dr Fulu shared What Works findings within her role as panel member in a session on emerging good practice in primary prevention work within low resource settings. Specifically, Dr Fulu presented the most impactful interventions for preventing VAWG across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. Dr Fulu also used her knowledge of What Works processes and strategies to facilitate a session on approaches for assessing risk and pre-empting backlash against the women’s rights movement and the diverse organisations that are taking part in driving it.

In August Dr Fulu and Dr Mercy Machisa from the South African Medical Research Council acted as Temporary Advisers to the World Health Organization’s Expert Meeting for the development of a consensus on the measurement of emotional/psychological intimate partner violence against women. The outcomes of the meeting will be used as the basis for advocating for a standardised measure of this type of violence in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals.
Spotlight on…
Change Starts at Home 
Equal Access radio program ‘Samajhdari’ (Mutual Understanding) is breaking new ground in Nepal with episodes tackling sensitive subjects including how to talk about sex, asking for consent, and marital rape. The show, which centres on a married couple running a busy highway hotel in Western Nepal, uses drama alongside real life interviews and community voices to weave story lines that encourage happier, healthier and violence free relationships between married couples in Nepal.
Now into its fourth month of being on air, the show is gaining a steady following and receives up to 600 calls a month from listeners. Last month, 66% of those who called said that the program had changed their relationship with their spouse in some way.
Alongside the weekly radio program, Equal Access has also set up 72 listener groups made up of married couples who meet every week to listen to the program and discuss the issues raised. Equal Access believes that having these groups creates safe spaces where participants can challenge existing norms and experience positive changes in their relationships. The early stories of change coming from couples participating in the groups certainly support this, as one group member explained: “after participating in the weekly listeners' discussion group, we have started to talk openly to each other about sexual relationships. We do not divide any work based on gender either, instead we equally distribute workload and help each other out…”
With five months still to go, the program producers and project staff in Nepal are hoping to build on this early momentum with more episodes that challenge social norms and highlight relationships that are positive and equitable. The subject matter for the upcoming episodes will continue to push at the boundaries of what has been aired in Nepal before, but the team are confident that they are responding to a need expressed by their audiences: “as long as we continue to get positive feedback about our episodes, we will continue to tackle these important and long silenced issues on air” says Binita Shrestha, Project Director in Nepal.
With a focus on shifting negative social norms, the staff at Equal Access hopes that the combination of radio programming, listener groups, and community outreach will have a positive effect on promoting violence free relationships in Nepal. The project runs until the end of February 2017.

In the News

How can sex workers negotiate condom use with their romantic partners?
The ‘Samvedana Plus: Reducing violence and increasing condom use in the intimate partnerships of female sex workers’ project was covered in The Guardian in August. The project is led by the Karnataka Health Promotion Trust in partnership with Chaitanya AIDS Tadegattwa Mahila Sangha and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine. Please see the article written by Priya Pillai here:


Coming up

What Works Community of Practice (CoP) Discussion Series
What on Earth is that Statistician Doing?
Quantitative Analysis from Nervous Novice to Confident Collaborator
Join us for a very gentle and friendly introduction to quantitative analysis aimed at all of us non-quantitative people. This discussion will be a brief introduction to quantitative analysis, and by the end of the session you will:
  • Know the four key steps in quantitative analysis;
  • Understand essential statistical vocabulary common across What Works projects; 
  • Be introduced to the different types of quantitative measurement, including how IPV is measured in What Works and what that means for statistical analysis;
  • Understand how key features of What Works projects shape what is possible in quantitative analyses.
This session will help a lot if you want to:
  • Better understand reports and articles that discuss quantitative research;
  • Better understand the quantitative results that your project is producing; or
  • Increase your ability to collaborate meaningfully with your data analysis team.
This will be a very shortened version of a similar workshop that was held in Dubai. The participants really enjoyed it and requested that we run it again. So for anyone who missed out this is your chance!

The discussion will be led by What Works Senior Scientist Kristin Dunkle and What Works Statistician Esnat Chirwa.

Who would enjoy this discussion?
This session is intended for intervention and NGO staff as well as qualitative researchers. If you are already doing quantitative research you probably already know what we are going to discuss!

To register:
Please let Samantha Willan know if you wish to attend and she will send you the necessary link. We will use Zoom (a very easy, low bandwidth platform) to carry out the discussion.

When: Tuesday 25 October 11:00-12:30 (South African time)
(2:00-3:30 Tajikistan/Pakistan, 3:00-4:30, Bangladesh; 2:45-4:15 Nepal, 10:00-11:30 DRC, 12:00-1:30, Kenya/Uganda, 11:00-12:30, Zambia/Rwanda, 1:00-2:30 Afghanistan, 9:00-10:30 Ghana; 2:30-4:00 Delhi)
Please invite anyone who may be interested.





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