Engaging with Faith Groups to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict-affected Communities
Summary of Intervention / Research
The project seeks to engage and equip faith leaders to be catalysts within communities to address the causes and consequences of violence against women and girls. It operates in 15 conflict-affected communities in Orientale Province in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC).
The project helps faith leaders to use their position of influence within affected communities to break the silence on Sexual and Gender-based Violence and promote attitude change around gender inequality, gender roles, stigma, and violence against women and girls.
Humanitarian emergency responses in DRC tend to focus on service provision alone, which struggle to respond adequately to the scale of gender-based violence and its underlying causes. This project develops urgently needed approaches to integrate primary prevention into conflict settings. Harmful social norms, often influenced and justified by religious beliefs in relation to gender inequality, are widely recognized as root causes of violence. Therefore, engaging with faith leaders and addressing these underlying factors is vital for effective prevention.
The project works with faith groups and the wider community through community conversations in the aim of tackling the root causes of violence which include gender inequality and harmful social norms. It engages men and boys, as well as women and girls, in transforming more positive understandings of masculinities, tackling stigma and improving support for survivors within communities.
Tearfund is developing new research on the social attitudes and practices that support violence against women and girls in the target communities. The project seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of working with faith groups to tackle these issues, and contribute to a more robust evidence base for preventing violence against women and girls.
Orientale Province, Rethy District, The Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC)
Project implementation dates: 1st April 2015 – 31st March 2018
Baseline survey (quantitative): Completed August 2015
Endline data collection (quantitative): December 2017
Qualitative panel study: 6 monthly throughout project
Impact report published: March 2018
Maggie Sandilands, Tearfund
Quotes from Transforming Masculinities training:
“I asked my wife for the first time in the many years of being married what I can do to be a better man, husband and father. And she said you never spend time with your children; you never have time for them, but for your ministry and work. I wish I had participated in such a workshop when my children were younger, and still at home. So I could have made an effort to be a father”. Male pastor
“I asked her if I can ask her a question, she said okay. I asked her since the day we’ve been married, what do you want me to change? She asked me whether if she answered would I change? And I said yes I would. She said ‘first ask the trainer to beat you, because you never treat us women like we are important’. She wept when I asked her the question, and said that she ‘always does household work alone, you never help me with the gardening’. But also she thanked me for helping her with the house work”. Male participant from Ngiri, with tears in his eyes when sharing this