Professor Rachel Jewkes writes:
Living in South Africa I have become painfully aware of how VAWG deeply impacts on every family, most heinously in the murder of women by their partners. So it feels right, that on the eve on the 16 Days of Activism, we are announcing a series of new evaluations in South Africa that, with support from DFID, aim to find out how to reduce VAWG in the country’s increasing urban informal settlements.
We know that VAWG is a leading cause of illness and death for a third of women globally, and in South Africa its prevalence is alarmingly high. Large studies amongst South African men found that 32% report enacting violence towards partners, and 28% of men have committed rape. Evidence from South Africa, Kenya and Bangladesh reveals that violence against women is most common in informal settlements.
Within South Africa there are two exciting interventions being evaluated – first the One Man Can intervention from Sonke Gender Justice, and the other is the Stepping Stones/Creating Futures intervention implemented by Project Empower. The One Man Can intervention is focused on social norms change, working primarily with men in an informal settlement (Diepsloot) in Johannesburg. If successful, the Sonke CHANGE Trial will be the first to show reductions in men’s violence in an urban informal setting. The Stepping Stones/Creating Futures intervention is focused on informal settlements in eThekwini (Durban), working with young women and men, who are out of school, to transform their gender relationships and strengthen their livelihoods.