AboutAbout What Works


About What Works

What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls is an innovative global programme working in 13 countries across the world building the evidence base on What Works to prevent violence in low-middle income settings.

Alishers Story

Two girls in rural Tajikistan - part of a programme which takes a new approach to tackling violence against women and girls
Credit: Aziz Sattori
“The What Works consortium includes some of the most widely cited researchers in the field. …No other donor has invested comparable resources into VAWG research… this is a highly respected initiative with the potential to make a major contribution to knowledge in the field.”

UK Independent Commission for Aid Impact (2016), DFID’s efforts to eliminate violence against women and girls: A learning review, pp15: 3.2

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is the most widespread form of abuse worldwide: globally, one in three women is beaten or sexually abused by an intimate partner in her lifetimei. DFID’s £25 million flagship ‘What Works to Prevent Violence’ research and innovation programme, which launched in 2014, engages leading international experts to produce rigorous evidence on the most effective interventions to drive down rates of VAWG. The evidence being generated is a global public good, intended to help DFID, developing country governments and international partners everywhere to improve the effectiveness of their efforts to prevent VAWG.

What Works is driving innovation and evidence in three main areas:

  1. The first area is rigorously evaluating 15 innovative approaches to prevent VAWG across 12 countries in Africa and Asia. It is also conducting research on VAWG and disability, and supporting costing studies to generate evidence on the value for money of VAWG prevention programming. The global programme is delivered by a consortium led by the South Africa Medical Research Council (SAMRC) in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and Social Development Direct (SDD). SAMRC also serves as the Secretariat for the overall programme to ensure coordination and synergy between the components.
  2. The second area is focused on Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises led by the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in partnership with CARE International UK and the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. This component is researching the drivers, prevalence, trends over time and effective prevention and response mechanisms for addressing VAWG in conflict and humanitarian settings.
  3. The third area, led by the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway in partnership with Ipsos MORI and International Center for Research on Women, is building the business case for action on VAWG by developing new economic research methods for measuring social and economic costs of VAWG and b) generating data on the impacts of VAWG on households, businesses, and economies. The research is based on empirical studies in South Sudan, Ghana and Pakistan.

The What Works Independent Evaluation, led by IMC Worldwide, is assessing performance of all three components through mid-term reviews (latest March 2018), end-term final evaluation, and 6 monthly check-ins on research uptake.

Our Board

The Advisory Board provides independent quality assurance and advice. The members of the Independent Advisory Board are:

  • Dr. Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Lead Specialist on Gender-based Violence, World Health Organization (Chair);
  • Kalliopi Mingeirou, acting Chief of the Ending Violence against Women, UN Women;
  • Markus Goldstein, Lead Economist, World Bank;
  • Professor A K Shiva Kumar, Co-Chair of the Know Violence in Childhood Global initiative;
  • Mendy Marsh, Specialist on GBV in Emergencies, UNICEF
  • Tina Musuya, Executive Director of the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention and Chair of the GBV Prevention Network;
  • Michael Mbizvo, Senior Associate and Zambia Country Director

i. UN (2006) The Secretary General’s In Depth Study on all forms of VAWG; UN Women (2012) Fast Facts: Statistics on Violence Against Women and Girls. Both accessed 31 May 2012.