What Works: Innovative global research to prevent violence against women and girls

  • 10 Dec 2014

What Works: Innovative global research to prevent violence against women and girls – Blog

On 25 November 2014, a global research and innovation programme to help prevent violence against women and girls was launched in South Africa by the UK International Development Minister, Baroness Northover.

"The lives of millions of women and girls are scarred by the effects of violence, with 1 in 3 women beaten or sexually abused in her lifetime", said Baroness Northover. "Violence against women and girls is a global epidemic. Though some societies have made more progress than others, we must all work together to end it."

The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls programme will build knowledge on which interventions work to strengthen women and girls' ability to protect themselves from violence. The research will provide high quality and rigorous evidence that can be used by civil society organisations, multilateral agencies, governments and academics to develop programmes that will contribute to eliminating gender-based violence.

"Stopping violence before it starts" - Video

The launch in South Africa was hosted by the Medical Research Council, who lead the consortium responsible for implementing the £25 million programme globally. The event coincided with the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and Girls.

"We know there are a lot of gaps in the evidence and data on issues relating to violence against women and girls, not least because of the sensitive nature of the research and data collection", said Prof Rachel Jewkes from the Medical Research Council SA and lead of the What Works programme. "We are thinking through how to better understand what works, and how to measure change so that we can direct our efforts towards the most effective interventions out there which deliver results at scale."

Grants for ground-breaking South African and international research programmes

On 10 December, the grants were unveiled for 18 ground-breaking research programmes that receive funding to help prevent violence against women and girls as part of the What Works programme.

These projects will implement and test cutting-edge interventions that aim to fundamentally advance approaches to stopping violence before it starts. The What Works programme will also conduct rigorous evaluations of promising existing projects to assess how they can be taken to scale.

Amongst the grantees are two South African programmes: the One Man Can programme by Sonke Gender Justice and the Stepping Stones and Creating Futures intervention by Project Empower in partnership with HEARD, the Health Economics and HIV and AIDS Research Division of the University of KwaZulu-Natal. Both programmes will engage men and boys to challenge traditional models of manhood.

The What Works programme will add important research to the growing body of global evidence that shows how investments in community-based violence prevention programmes that work across sectors and target both men and women can be more effective and have sustainable, long-term impact.

The What Works programme – three complimentary components

The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme is a flagship programme from the UK Department for International Development (DFID), which is investing an £25 million, over five years, to the prevention of violence against women and girls.

It supports primary prevention efforts across Africa, Asia and the Middle East, that seek to understand and address the underlying causes of violence, to stop it from occurring.

What Works consists of three complementary components:

  1. The Global Programme | The Global Programme is focused broadly on what works to prevent violence against women and girls. It will conduct research, evaluations of existing interventions, and support innovation in programming through a dedicated grants scheme.
  2. Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises | This component is focused on developing research and evidence to fill gaps in knowledge about what interventions work to prevent violence in fragile and conflict areas.
  3. Economic and Social Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls | This third component is focused on the estimation of social and economic costs of violence against women and girls, developing the economic case for investing in prevention.

The Global Programme is responsible for the grants and is implemented by a consortium led by the South African Medical Research Council, in partnership with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Social Development Direct. The Global Programme is responsible for implementing innovation grants and research being announced today.

For more information on the What Works programme, visit http://www.whatworks.co.za/