Authors: Ballantine, C., Fenny, A., Asante, F. and Duvvury, N.1
South Sudan is a country devastated by war. Since the end of colonial rule, there have been few years when the country has not been affected by conflict. Against this backdrop, the population has largely held to traditional values and close family ties. The world’s newest independent country, it is dominated by strong traditions and low levels of Western-style development. South Sudan shares land borders with 6 countries, making its stability a concern across the Horn of Africa (Frontier Economics et al. 2015). Even as war and conflict persist, so too does daily life, although the social and economic life of the country have been profoundly eroded by constant conflicts. The basis of South Sudan’s development has been, and will remain, its population. The wellbeing and status of women is a fundamental part of this.
Women and girls in South Sudan continue to be at a heightened risk of VAWG including conflict related sexual violence, both in protection camps and in their homes. This presentation outlines IRC programmes dedicated to VAWG prevention and recommendations for how best to expand upon the work taking place.
What are the forms, trends and prevalence of different forms of violence against women and girls (VAWG) in South Sudan? What are the direct and indirect drivers of VAWG, and how are they influenced by the different conflicts that have taken place in South Sudan? Based on a household survey of 2244 women and 481 men, and in-depth Interviews with over 500 key stakeholders, survivors and community members, this presentation looks at the prevalence of sexual assaults by non-partners, and physical and sexual violence by intimate partners, and examines the extent to which these are influenced by experience of conflict. The presentation concludes with a series of recommendations to tackle the issues raised.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious human rights violation and an urgent global health and security challenge. It has been recognised as a key obstacle to development in the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A ecting 35% of women globally, VAWG is both under-reported and under-addressed.1 In South Sudan, VAWG is widespread and while it predates the decades of con ict the country has endured, the on-going violence has exacerbated an already serious issue. Beginning with the civil war in 2013, South Sudan has been in a constant state of crisis, made more acute by extremely high levels of food insecurity and subsequent risk of famine and starvation. All of these factors have put women and girls at even greater risk of violence from both partners and non-partners.
Main Results Report 2017
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a serious human rights violation and a significant global health and security issue. Studies suggest that the rates, perpetrators and types of VAWG fluctuate during conflict; and there is some evidence that sexual violence against both women and men increases during conflict. The global prevalence of sexual violence among refugees and displaced persons in humanitarian crises is estimated to be 21.4%, suggesting that approximately one in five women who are refugees or displaced by an emergency experience sexual violence. Recent studies indicate that intimate partner violence (IPV) may be more common than conflict-related sexual assault; however, both IPV and conflict-related violence are under-reported in these settings. Though several studies have collected robust data on VAWG in humanitarian settings, many experts argue that our overall understanding of the issue remains limited.
Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a significant social, economic and public health problem. No country is immune from this problem and it impacts all socio-economic groups, all ethnicities and all ages. This does not mean it is inevitable; it can be transformed through political will, through increased investment in programmes and policies, and through community support for normative change. The publication has been authored by the Members of Component Two for What Works: Economic and Social Costs of Violence Programme.
The goal of the formative research was to improve understanding of the overall context of VAWG and conflict in South Sudan, as well as to inform the design of the population-based survey and complementary qualitative tools, which is being implemented in the final phases of study. This research report features the methodology involved, and an assessment of the different types of VAWG. The report encompasses aspects such as marriage dowry, violence in girlhood, violence in adulthood, and conflict and VAWG, before finishing with conclusions and recommendations.
What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls is a £25 million global programme funded by the UK Department for International Development which seeks to understand and address the underlying causes of violence across Africa, Asia and the Middle East. The What Works programme is not alone in investing time and resources in researching and prioritising prevention and response to GBV. In 2013, Sweden and the UK Department for International Development jointly launched the Call to Action on Protection from GBV in Emergencies, a global appeal to diverse stakeholders – governments, donors, NGOs, civil society, women’s organisations, the private sector-to make specific commitments to contribute towards transforming the way GBV is addressed in the humanitarian space.
This brief sets out how the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises research portfolio complements and supports the achievements of the Call to Action’s objectives. The Call to Action identifies am “insufficient evidence base on effective programming and systemic response” as one of its areas of concern. As the largest multi-year study currently examining VAWG in conflict and crisis, What Works will play in instrumental role in advancing research in this area.
This project contends that the failure to eliminate VAWG constitutes a drag on national economies and on inclusive human development. There is thus strong incentive for investment by government and other stakeholders to address VAWG – the cost of inaction is signifi cant. This project aims to build knowledge about the impacts of VAWG and thus to mobilise political will to eliminate violence worldwide. Through the development of new costing methodologies that can be applied within different national contexts, this project will provide policy makers with the tools to estimate the impact of VAWG. To develop such tools, it is necessary to collect data and evaluate methodologies within a range of political, economic, cultural and social contexts. This study is therefore being conducted in three countries in the Global South that exhibit marked differences in terms of context: South Sudan, Pakistan and Ghana.
In Pakistan, the project aims to fi ll the gaps in our understanding of the socio-economic impacts of VAWG, focusing on intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence (NPSV). The project will go beyond costs to individuals by providing estimates of the loss to the overall economy of Pakistan. In addition, we examine costs arising from the impact of VAWG on social cohesion and political stability.
Six research studies are being conducted to produce rigorous research and evidence on:
VAWG prevalence in South Sudan: a mixed-methods study on the prevalence, forms, patterns and drivers of VAWG in South Sudan;
Kenya refugee camp case management: an assessment of the comprehensive case management model using a task-sharing approach with refugee community workers in the refugee camps of Dadaab;
GBV response post Typhoon Haiyan: a study on how the humanitarian sector met women and girl’s needs in the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, including the effectiveness of deployed GBV experts;
Impact of cash transfers on women’s protection and empowerment: an evaluation of the impact of cash transfer programming on women’s empowerment and protection outcomes in acute emergencies (future emergency to be determined);
Statebuilding and peacebuilding: an assessment of how different forms of VAWG and the drivers of VAWG have been addressed by national actors in statebuilding and peacebuilding processes; and also exploring how VAWG affects these processes;
Secondary analysis on the impact of Village Savings and Loans Associations in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC): a study on what factors moderated the effectiveness of a group based savings program on the mental health, experiences of stigma, and economic status of a survivor of sexual violence in the DRC.