Rose Wilcher, co-chair of the Interagency Gender Working Group’s Gender-Based Violence Task Force, recently spoke with Rachel Jewkes, Consortium Director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Global Programme. What Works, a program funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) from December 2013 through March 2020, worked in 13 countries across Africa and Asia to build the evidence base on drivers of violence against women and girls (VAWG) and what works to prevent VAWG. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.
Rose: What did the What Works initiative set out to accomplish when it started five years ago?
Rachel: What Works was set up by DFID to drive forward the agenda of prevention of VAWG. It recognized that if we are to meet the goal of preventing VAWG, we need to do more than respond to incidents of violence and support survivors, even though both are incredibly important. There was enough emerging evidence in the field that some prevention interventions were promising in the experimental settings where they were developed and tested, but there was a need for far more evidence. So, DFID set out to fund a program to support innovation, evaluation of innovative programs, and evaluation of programs that have been implemented but have not been rigorously evaluated.