Prevention projects shortlisted for Innovation Grants of up to GBP 1 million

From 800 applications, 12 projects have been shortlisted for the What Works Innovation Grant to receive up to GBP 1 million to support and test cutting-edge violence prevention interventions.

The grant scheme will provide funding of between GBP 300,000 – 1,000,000 to national organisations and international NGOs working across Africa, the Middle East, South and Central Asia, to develop and deliver programmes aimed at preventing violence against women and girls.

The shortlisted projects reflect the immense diversity of interventions needed to prevent violence against women and girls, from projects that use media and communications, to those that work with communities on the ground to promote social change, to school-based programmes, projects that work with faith leaders, and microfinance projects that work to challenge traditional gender norms.

Shortlisted grantees were selected through an exhaustive review process conducted by the What Works: Global Programme Experts Committee, to find projects that were taking an informed but new and promising approach to stopping violence against women and girls before it starts.

The What Works Innovation Grant scheme has been established to grow the field of violence prevention work, and support organisations to take an evidence-based approach to programme design. In addition to funds, grantees will be provided with capacity development and technical support for researchers and programme staff, to conduct formative research to inform new programmes, and evaluation research to capture learning. We hope too, that the grantees will also form a dynamic community of practice that will promote cross-country and cross-disciplinary learning.

The innovation grantees will be announced on 10 December 2014.


What Works broadens reach with global partners from the UN, World Bank, leading public health organisations, and legal experts

Policy makers, gender advisors and public health specialists from world-leading organisations, have signed up to be part of the Independent Advisory Board for the What Works programme.

The Advisory Board will provide independent quality assurance and advise on best-practice approaches to prevention work. The Board members, who come from a range of disciplinary areas, will connect projects to other work happening in the spheres of economic, public health, legal and community perspectives on preventing VAWG around the world.

Members of the Independent Advisory Board include:

  • Claudia Garcia-Moreno, Lead Specialist on Gender-based Violence, World Health Organization (Chair);
  • Professor Yemane Berhane, Department of Community Health Faculty of Medicine, Addis Ababa University
  • Riet Groenen, Chief of the Ending Violence Against Women section, UN Women;
  • Richard Horton, Editor of The Lancet
  • Sapana Pradhan Malla, Forum for Women, Law and Development and gender advisor to the Nepalese Government
  • Mendy Marsh, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF
  • Tina Masiya, Executive Director of the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention and Chair of the GBV Prevention Network
  • Jennifer McCleary Sills, Gender-based Violence Specialist, World Bank

The International Advisory Board will hold its first meeting from December 9-10, 2014.

Prevention learning series launched with DFID

What Works, in collaboration with DFID launched a new lunchtime learning series dedicated to the issue of violence against women and girls (VAWG). The seminar was a first in what will be an ongoing series of learning sessions that will be presented live, and in future made accessible worldwide via online webinars.

The first seminar, launched by the Head of Profession for Social Development, Paul Healey, on September 24, brought together three of the world’s leading researchers on VAWG, Professor Rachel Jewkes, Dr. Emma Fulu and Dr. Shana Swiss, to present a global review of prevention programmes that are working.

Professor Jewkes, Director of the Global Programme, and researcher with 20 years of respected work in the field of violence prevention, particularly sexual violence and HIV, presented on the importance of primary prevention and why the funding of a programme of this size on violence prevention represents such a ground-breaking moment in the field.

Dr. Fulu, Technical Lead for the Global Programme, with an extensive background of leading research on VAWG in Asia and the Pacific, presented on a recent review of the evidence, conducted by the Global Programme, on what interventions work to prevent VAWG, and what this means for the prevention agenda.

And, Dr. Swiss from International Rescue Committee and the lead of the What Works to Prevent Violence in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises Programme’s inception phase and founder of Women’s Rights International introduced the violence in conflict and humanitarian crises component of the What Works programme.

The What Works to Prevent Violence Global Programme seminars will be held every two months and are designed to provide programmatic staff and policymakers with the information needed to help set priority areas, and develop projects that work; provide researchers with a clear indication of where more work is needed; and help to develop a global agenda for research and work to prevent violence against women.

Follow the What Works Global Programme on Twitter: @WhatWorksVAWG, or Facebook: to receive notifications about the next event.

What Works launch at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict in London

The then Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for International Development, the Rt. Hon. Lynne Featherstone, launched What Works to a packed room at the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict on June 11.

Speakers had to be set up outside the main auditorium, to accommodate the level of interest from policymakers who were willing to stand in order to learn more about the DFID flagship programme. The launch and involvement with the Global Summit received great press with the key message that violence is preventable.

Media highlights:

Shifting the focus from after, to before, the act of rape

On August 7 in Melbourne, Australia at the Schofield Oration forensic specialists gathered to present a new way of considering the evidence around rape in order to prevent it from ever occurring. Professor Rachel Jewkes, Director of the What Works to Prevent Violence Global Programme, presented the guest lecture for the event, on ‘What Works: Strategies for preventing sexual violence’. In it, she presented a global overview of evidence from programmes that have shown to be promising in their efforts to reduce the incidence of sexual and physical violence. She also provided an overview of how violence against women is being viewed through a public health lens, to understand the risk and protective factors that can be influenced in order to prevent violence from occurring.

Research, resources & films

The Global Programme has produced a series of short policy papers, designed to provide a global overview of the research and evidence available, to inform work to prevent VAWG. The papers, authored by some of the leading researchers from the field of violence prevention, including Professor Rachel Jewkes, Lori Heise and James Lang, cover:

  • What do we know about VAWG, and what more do we need to know to prevent it?
  • What interventions work to prevent VAWG
  • How successful are response mechanisms at preventing future violence
  • How do we assess value for money and start to scale up prevention programmes?

Download PDFs via the ‘Materials Section’ at:

The Global Programme has also produced a short animation to explain the basic elements of prevention work, and what we know works to stop violence before it starts. By addressing the social conditions that can lead to violence, and working with people to build communities and men who value and treat women as equals, we can prevent violence from occurring.

NEWS from What Works: VAWG in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises Global partners secured and research agenda set

The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises programme has established a consortium and secured partnerships with globally leading agencies working on gender and humanitarian issues, including CARE International UK, and the Global Women’s Institute.

This is the second component of the What Works suite of DFID-funded programmes designed to build the field of violence prevention work, which has established its own international partnerships to guide project work. The International Rescue Committee will lead a consortium in partnership with CARE International UK and the Global Women’s Institute at the George Washington University. The consortium has further established partnerships with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, the Africa Population Health Research Centre, Johns Hopkins University and Forcier Consulting.

The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls in Conflict and Humanitarian Crises research agenda includes:

  • A population-based prevalence and risks survey in South Sudan
  • An evaluation of case management systems and the roles of refugee community case workers in Dadaab, Kenya
  • An evaluation of responses to gender-based violence during Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines
  • An evaluation to assess the impact of cash transfers to women in an emergency
  • A comparative study in South Sudan, DRC, Nepal, and Yemen to explore the intersection of VAWG and state/peace building processes.

These research studies will provide evidence for effective, cost-efficient, and sustainable programmes that mitigate, reduce and prevent violence against women in conflict and natural disasters.

NEWS from What Works: Economic and Social Costs of VAWG What Works social and economic costs programme establishes consortium

The What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls: Economic and Social Costs of Violence programme, has been awarded to a consortium of globally prominent organisations. The consortium will be led by the National University of Ireland, in partnership with Ipsos MORI and the International Center for Research on Women.

The programme will look at the social and economic costs of violence against women and girls in both conflict and non-conflict contexts, and will develop estimates of the macro-level, direct and intangible costs of VAWG. Further, it will develop innovative methodologies to capture the full impact of violence against women and girls on economic and social dynamics.

It doesn’t take generations, it takes good programming to stop violence against women and girls from occurring

We don’t need generations to stop violence against women and girls from occurring, but we do need well-designed and comprehensive programmes, a paper released today in the Lancet has argued.

To mark International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women (November 25), the Lancet has produced a special series of papers on approaches to preventing VAWG that can be accessed here.

In one of the papers, ‘Prevention of violence against women and girls: lessons from practice,’ Lori Michau, Jessica Horn, Amy Bank, Mallika Dutt and Cathy Zimmerman, draw on their practical experiences of running prevention programmes, to set out a definitive, six-step guide to prevention programming.

Their Principles for Effective Programming to Prevent VAWG, draw on global evidence and reviews, to show that programmes work, when they:

  1. Work across the ecological model
  2. Use an intersectional gender-power analysis
  3. Take a sustained, multi-sector, and coordinated approach
  4. Take a theory and evidence-informed approach
  5. Encourage personal and collective critical thought
  6. Take an aspirational approach that inspires individual and collective activism.

The authors go on to provide concrete case studies of how, and where, these principles have been applied.

They highlight policy work done via Ecuador’s Regulations for Good Living and Australia’s Right to Respect, to build government-community partnerships and connect sectors (health, police, response services) to drive better policies, and set the right social environment for prevention work.

At the community-level, they draw on New Zealand’s Family Violence: It’s not ok and Raising Voices’ SASA! programme in Uganda, that have used creative communications campaigns, and worked with communities to develop self-organised activist movements to change social norms.

They advocate for more, and better work to change peoples’ inter-personal relationships. They argue that programming work in this area has largely remained stuck on awareness raising, but can move beyond that, by developing programmes that work with both women and men, in gender-specific and mixed groups, to promote non-violent norms around masculinity, and less passive norms around femininity.

And, at the individual-level, the authors advocate for a global approach that understands that people must be inspired. They stress that one of the most important principles for violence prevention is to create aspirational programmes, that is, programmes such as Bell Bajao, and Sonke Gender Justice’s One Man Can that provide concrete examples of the world we are trying to create, and of the benefits, in order to inspire positive activist movements.

If you are looking for further inspiration or guidance, head here to watch a video from the launch of the Preventing VAWG series, listen to a podcast on violence prevention programmes in Uganda, or to access all of the articles.