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Monday, 01 December 2014 00:00

UK International Development Minister launches What Works in South Africa

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 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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