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To reduce risk of HIV and STIs, programmes should promote equitable gender norms. This means working with men to redefine masculinity in other ways, not as dominance and control. To do this, it is important to collect evidence of gender norms and IPV as possible drivers of HIV transmission, and to share new understanding with government, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and community-based organisations (CBOs), funders and communities.

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What is Samvedana Plus? An intervention and evaluation study, Samvedana Plus aims to understand and address violence and HIV risk in the intimate partnerships of female sex workers. This brochure provides background information about the Samvedana Plus study.

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The high prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) amongst women, and particularly those in sex work or female sex workers (FSWs), has been increasingly recognized. Studies involving female sex workers have focussed on violence from clients, often quantitatively identifying risk factors.  Few studies have examined IPV facing FSWs and none have included both male and female partners or taken a community-based research (CBR) approach. Qualitative community-based research is valuable for better understanding the mechanisms by which multi-levelled factors may be increasing vulnerability to IPV, from the perspective of women in sex work and their male intimate partners.

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The Samvedana Poster illustrates the findings from the participatory research in North Karnataka, India. The objective of the study is to understand the drivers of violence and condom use in the relationship between sex workers and their intimate partners. This study was conducted in two separate, three-day residential workshops with 31 female sex workers (FSWs) and 37 intimate partners (IPs).

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The role of the male partners in determining the sex workers’ sexual behaviour is very significant. The male partners’ ideas of masculinity, sanctions given by society and the lack of accountability and responsibility in a sexual relationship increases the risk and vulnerability of their female partners,female sex workers as well as the general population of women, particularly regular female partners. Karnataka Health Promotion Trust has conducted a series of participatory workshops with sex workers and their intimate partners to explore how they understand and interpret their relationships, the reasons for not using condoms in these relationships and the role of violence and its consequences.

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A lack of understanding of the nature and dynamics of sex workers’ relationship with their intimate partnerships made it difficult to design appropriate strategies to address the issues of non-usage of condoms and violence which increase FSWs’ risk and vulnerability. Karnataka Health Promotion Trust (KHPT) tried to address this gap by conducting a series of participatory workshops with sex workers and their intimate partners to explore how they understand and interpret their relationships, reasons for not using condoms in intimate relationships, the role of violence and its consequences.

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Violence against women and girls can be prevented. New studies have shown that carefully designed interventions, which focus on transforming gender norms and work at multiple levels, can significantly reduce women’s experience of violence within one to two years. These interventions show great promise for our goal of creating a world free from violence as envisaged in the Sustainable Development Goals.

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Participatory approaches to behaviour change dominate HIV- and intimate partner violence prevention interventions. Research has identified multiple challenges in the delivery of these.  In this article, we focus on how facilitators conceptualize successful facilitation and how these understandings may undermine dialogue
and critical consciousness, through a case study of facilitators engaged in the delivery of Stepping Stones and Creating Futures and ten focus-group discussions held with facilitators.

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This study uses the 2005 Guidelines for Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Settings as a tool to assess how the humanitarian sector met the needs of women and girls in the response to Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines. It specifically looks at how prevention and mitigation of violence against women and girls (VAWG) were carried out in the early phase of the emergency response and investigates the effectiveness of deploying gender-based violence experts to assist with mainstreaming VAWG prevention and response activities across the humanitarian response. It also links to the revised Guidelines for Integrating Gender-based Violence Interventions in Humanitarian Action, published in September 2015, with recommendations for implementation, funding, research, and more.

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