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Policy Briefs

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  • Country South Africa
  • Project Stepping Stones and Creating Futures - South Africa
  • Author -
  • Date of publication October 2018

Violence against women and girls is widespread in South Africa. Women who experience intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-partner sexual violence have poorer health outcomes, including higher levels of depression and alcohol use, and are more likely to acquire HIV.

In the eThekwini Municipality of South Africa, approximately 40% of the population live in informal settlements. With a combination of poverty and unemployment, widespread violence, racism and xenophobia, urban informal settlements have very high levels of violence against women, mental trauma, alcohol and drug abuse, and HIV

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This study draws on three case countries – Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan – to address gaps in evidence and understanding on violence against women and girls (VAWG) during post-conflict transition. It highlights the potential for state-building and peacebuilding processes to address VAWG, and the effect this has in advancing sustainable peace.

This is the first time that a systematic approach has been taken to bridge the gap between VAWG and post-conflict state-building / peace-building policies and processes. The study was led by the George Washington Institute (GWI), CARE International UK and International Rescue Committee (IRC).

This policy brief summarises findings from the study for policy makers.

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This study draws on three case countries – Nepal, Sierra Leone and South Sudan – to address gaps in evidence and understanding on violence against women and girls (VAWG) during post-conflict transition. It highlights the potential for state-building and peacebuilding processes to address VAWG, and the effect this has in advancing sustainable peace.

This is the first time that a systematic approach has been taken to bridge the gap between VAWG and post-conflict state-building / peace-building policies and processes. The study was led by the George Washington Institute (GWI), CARE International UK and International Rescue Committee (IRC).

This policy brief includes an analytical framework, which is a practical tool that can be used by policy makers as a guide to designing fair, inclusive, and sustainable state-building and peace-building processes that include meaningful engagement with the issue of violence and women and girls.

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  • Author Right to Play
  • Date of publication September 2018

Right to Play Pakistan designed and implemented a school-based programme that used sport and play to reduce peer violence and corporal punishment, improve mental health, and change social norms in support of gender equality and non-violence. The programme reached 8,000 children in 40 public schools, with an equal number of boys and girls benefitting. It was rigorously evaluated by Aga Khan University.

This Evidence Brief presents the findings from the end-line evaluation. These show significant reductions in both boys’ and girls’ perpetration and victimisation of peer violence, experience of corporal punishment both at home and in school, and witnessing of acts of domestic violence. Levels of depression and patriarchal gender attitudes have also improved. The positive results demonstrate the potential of investing in sports and play based learning in schools and communities to prevent violence.

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  • Author Mrs Subhiya Mastonshoeva, Ms Shahribonu Shonasimova, Mrs Dilorom Abdulhaeva, Mr Henri Myrttinen (International Alert), Professor Rachel Jewkes & Dr Nwabisa Shai (SAMRC)
  • Date of publication September 2018

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is widespread throughout Tajikistan, with half of all women experiencing violence at the hands of their husbands or in-laws. Young married women aged 18-24 are especially vulnerable. In response, International Alert and its partners, Action, Development and Prosperity (ATO), Cesvi, Farodis and Women of the Orient worked with the South African Medical Research Council to develop an innovative family-centred social and economic intervention tailored to the specific Tajik context with the aim of combatting VAWG. The approach sought to address the reality of young women marrying into strong extended families and facing violence from their husbands and/or in-laws.

This evidence brief reveals that the intervention successfully reduced the number of young women experiencing violence from both their husbands and in-laws by 50%. The mental health, livelihoods and food security of participating families also significantly improved. These findings support global evidence that gender transformative social change interventions combined with empowerment interventions can have a significant impact on reducing VAWG. Such approaches can also have positive impacts on people’s emotional wellbeing, family dynamics and economic security.

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  • Author Erin Stern, Lori Heise and Lyndsay Mclean
  • Date of publication August 2018

The Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda was implemented over four years (2014-2018) by CARE Rwanda International, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre, and Rwanda Women’s Network, in rural Rwanda. The programme aimed to reduce IPV, shift social norms and attitudes condoning violence, and provide more empowering responses to survivors.

This practice brief highlights lessons learned from the Indashyikirwa programme on working with couples to prevent IPV. These include the need to design a culturally appropriate curriculum with content that is relevant and appropriate for the target community, and recruit skilled male and female facilitators who over a prolonged period of time can build a rapport with and equip couples with the skills to build healthy, non-violent relationships.

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  • Author Erin Stern, Lori Heise and Lyndsay Mclean
  • Date of publication August 2018

The Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda was funded by the UK department for International Development, with the aim of preventing and reducing intimate partner violence. The programme was implemented over four years (2014-2018) by CARE Rwanda International, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre, and Rwanda Women’s Network, in Eastern, Western and Northern provinces of rural Rwanda. One of the components of the programme included the training and engagement of opinion leaders to help create an enabling environment for social change.

This practice brief highlights lessons learned from – and assesses the value of – engaging opinion leaders as part of a comprehensive intimate partner violence prevention programme. In order for effective engagement to take place, there is a need to carefully map which key opinion leaders can and should be targeted, and maintain regular dialogue and communication. It is also important to engage them not just as opinion leaders, but also as people in relationships themselves.

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  • Author Erin Stern, Lori Heise and Lyndsay Mclean
  • Date of publication August 2018

The Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda was funded by the UK department for International Development, with the aim of preventing and reducing intimate partner violence. It was implemented over four years (2014-2018) by CARE Rwanda International, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre, and Rwanda Women’s Network, in rural Rwanda. One of the components of the programme included training couples as community activists (CAs), with the view to diffusing the benefits of the programme to a larger audience.

This practice belief highlights the impact of training of 840 couples as CAs, which include them feeling better equipped to respond to IPV, greater community awareness of IPV and greater community support for women’s empowerment and more gender equitable division of household labour. Recommendations consist of training more couples as CAs, adapting the community activism component to the specific country and context in which it is being applied, and ensuring proper linkage between the community activism component and other parts of the Indashyikirwa programme, e.g. engagement with opinion leaders.

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  • Author Erin Stern, Lori Heise and Lyndsay Mclean
  • Date of publication August 2018

The Indashyikirwa programme in Rwanda was funded by the UK department for International Development and implemented over four years (2014-2018) by CARE Rwanda International, Rwanda Men’s Resource Centre, and Rwanda Women’s Network, in Eastern, Western and Northern provinces of rural Rwanda. The programme aimed to reduce IPV, shift social norms and attitudes condoning violence, and provide more empowering responses to survivors. One of the components of the programme involved the establishment of women’s safe spaces, where women and men could disclose and discuss IPV, and be referred or accompanied to health, justice and social services.

This evidence brief reveals that the creation of safe spaces helped facilitate the disclosure of IPV, enhanced knowledge and awareness of more gender equitable norms, offered opportunities for collective solidarity and livelihoods skills training, and improved the quality of and linkages to formal services.

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  • Author What Works to Prevent Violence – A Global Programme To Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls
  • Date of publication June 2018

In Ghana, violence against women and girls is widespread. Recent estimates indicate that 28% of women report at least one form of violence in the past year and 45% report experiencing violence at some point in their lifetime. COMBAT (Community Based Action Teams) is a rural response strategy that aims to (i) reduce the incidence of VAWG in rural communities in Ghana, (ii) protect women’s rights via state and community structures; and, (iii) raise public awareness about the causes and consequences of VAWG. This evidence suggests that community-led evidence-based interventions supported by local actors (e.g. traditional and religious leaders) are uniquely placed to support prevention of, and response to, VAWG in this context.

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  • Author Professor Rachel Jewkes and Dr Julienne Corboz from the South African Medical Research Council and Hemat Osman and Wahid Siddiq from Help the Afghan Children
  • Date of publication June 2018

In Afghanistan, more than 50% of married women report experiencing emotional, physical and/or sexual violence from an intimate partner. Violence against women is associated with intergenerational effects such that the experience and perpetration of intimate partner violence is linked to individual childhood abuse. Furthermore, evidence suggests that children’s exposure to various forms of violence, such as family violence in the home and corporal punishment at school, are strongly linked to children’s perpetration of violence against their peers, suggesting that children learn and reproduce violent norms and practices from adults. In order to prevent violence against children and lay the foundations for a more peaceful society, Help the Children Afghanistan (HTAC) implemented a school-based peace education and community social norms change intervention reaching 2000 boys and 1500 girls.

This evidence brief presents the findings from an evaluation of the programme. The evaluation demonstrated that conducting peace education with children in schools, coupled with activities aimed at changing community social norms, can lead to a reduction in various forms of violence, including children’s peer violence, corporal punishment of children both at school and at home, and domestic violence against women at the household level.

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  • Author -
  • Date of publication -
An evaluation of gender-based violence case management services in the Dadaab refugee camps In the Dadaab refugee camps in north-eastern Kenya, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) and CARE International (CARE) have implemented programmes that aim to both respond to and prevent GBV. A cornerstone of this work has been to train refugees, known as refugee community workers, to deliver aspects of GBV prevention and response work in order to develop a broader implementation of traditional GBV outreach, community mobilisation, and case management.

Between 2014 and 2017, research co-led by the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) and the African Population and Health Research Centre (APHRC), in collaboration with IRC and CARE, was conducted to assess this model and better understand its feasibility, acceptability, and influence among female survivors of GBV accessing care. This report presents the findings of that research.

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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.

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Globally, one in three women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime (WHO 2013). In Afghanistan, recent demographic and health survey data (CSO 2017) indicates that the prevalence of intimate partner violence (emotional, physical or sexual) perpetrated against women aged 15 to 49 is 56%, ranging from between 7% and 92% across different provinces. Based on the baseline for an impact evaluation of Women for Women International’s programme in Afghanistan, this brief describes the factors associated with physical and emotional intimate partner violence. The brief is intended for employees of governmental and non-governmental organisations, and donors, interested in working to prevent violence against women before it occurs.

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Globally, 17% of children are subjected to extreme forms of corporal punishment (UNICEF 2014). National level data in Afghanistan suggests that 78% of children aged 5 to 14 have experienced any violent psychological or physical discipline, and more than a third of children are subjected to extreme physical violence (UNICEF 2014). Based on the baseline study of a project implemented in Afghanistan by Help the Afghan Children, this brief describes the factors associated with violence at school, including children’s experience of corporal punishment by teachers and their experiences of peer violence victimisation or perpetration. The brief is intended for those working in governmental and nongovernmental organisations, and donors, interested in working to prevent violence against children.

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“ We never report when boys touch our private parts at school because we shall be punished by our teacher, and I am very scared of telling my parent.”
Ujamaa-­‐Africa: Addressing Violence against Girls through a school based intervention in informal settlements in Nairobi.

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  • Author -
  • Date of publication -

Sexual violence is prevalent in many conflict-affected environments, including the Democratic Republic of Congo, where it is reported that 1.8 million women have been raped in their lifetime. According to the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on Sexual Violence in Conflict, conflict-related sexual violence is one of the most critical challenges faced by the people and government of the DRC.

Under the £25 million What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme, Tearfund was funded by the UK Government to implement a project – ‘Engaging with Faith Groups to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict-affected Communities’. This policy paper, drawing on research conducted by Tearfund, reveals that faith leaders indeed have unique reach and influence within conflict-affected communities and a mandate to speak into these issues. If mobilised and equipped, they could play a key role in more effective prevention of and response to VAWG.

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At the time Typhoon Haiyan struck the Philippines in November 2013, the primary guidance for preventing and responding to gender-based violence (GBV) in emergencies was the 2005 Inter-Agency Standing Committee's Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings. This study used the 2005 IASC GBV Guidelines as a tool to understand how the humanitarian sector met the needs of women and girls in the Phlippines; specifically looking at how prevention and mitigation of violence against women and girls (VAWG) were carried our in the early phase of the emergency response and investigating the effectiveness of deploying GBV experts to assist VAWG mainstreaming in the humanitarian response.

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