Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is driven in part by gender attitudes, norms on gender inequality and the acceptability of violence, which are socially reproduced and shared. Women’s rights organizations across the global south have dedicated themselves to challenging these. Early evaluations of work they have championed has shown that sufficiently equipped community volunteers, guided in a long-term structured programme, can enable widespread diffusion of new ideas on gender and VAWG and ultimately achieve changes in harmful attitudes and norms across communities.
DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence against Women and Girls Global Programme (What Works) has generated new evidence on the effect of these interventions in a range of settings – from rural areas and small towns of the Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ghana, Rwanda, Nepal, to urban informal settlements in South Africa. Rigorous evaluations have shown the potential for preventing VAWG through multi-year, intensive change interventions with welltrained and supported community action teams, that purposefully engage both women and men to effect change.
An innovative programme to reduce partner violence in rural Rwanda
Intimate partner violence (IPV), which includes physical and sexual violence, economic abuse and emotional aggression within intimate relationships, is the most common form of violence against women globally. IPV can lead to a wide range of negative health consequences including depression, suicide risk, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol abuse, serious injuries, and death . IPV can also constrain women’s capacity to find employment, lead to higher levels of absenteeism and job turnover, lower earning capacity, and more limited occupational mobility . The Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda sought to reduce experience of IPV among women and perpetration among men, and shift beliefs and social norms that drive IPV among couples and in communities. The programme also aimed to foster more equitable, non-violent relationships, and to ensure more supportive responses to survivors of IPV.
Stern, E., & Mirembe, J. (2017). Intersectionalities of formality of marital status and women’s risk and protective factors for intimate partner violence in Rwanda. Agenda, 31(1), 116-127.
Gibbs, A., Jewkes, R., Willan, S., Al Mamun, M., Parvin, K., Yu, M., & Naved, R. (2019). Workplace violence in Bangladesh's garment industry. Social Science & Medicine, 112383
McGhee, S., Shrestha, B., Ferguson, G., Shrestha, P. N., Bergenfeld, I., & Clark, C. J. (2019). “Change Really Does Need to Start From Home”: Impact of an Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Strategy Among Married Couples in Nepal. Journal of interpersonal violence, 0886260519839422.
Gibbs, A., Myrttinen, H., Washington, L., Sikweyiya, Y., & Jewkes, R. (2019). Constructing, reproducing and challenging masculinities in a participatory intervention in urban informal settlements in South Africa. Culture, health & sexuality, 1-16.
Corboz, J., Gibbs, A., & Jewkes, R. (2019). Bacha posh in Afghanistan: factors associated with raising a girl as a boy. Culture, health & sexuality, 1-14.
Javalkar, P., Platt, L., Prakash, R., Beattie, T., Bhattacharjee, P., Thalinja, R., ... & Davey, C. (2019). What determines violence among female sex workers in an intimate partner relationship? Findings from North Karnataka, south India. BMC Public Health, 19(1), 350.