Prevention+ is a five-year (2016-2020) multi-country programme that envisions a world where healthy, respectful, and equal relationships are the norm. To achieve its objectives, the programme addresses the root causes of gender-based violence – the social, economic, religious, and cultural contexts that shape attitudes and behaviour that lead to violence. “In a world where many countries have come to enshrine women's rights and support for gender equality in policy and practice, gender-based violence (GBV), specifically violence against women and girls, still persist. This is because this violence, whether at home or in public, is rooted in gender-based discrimination, inequitable gender norms, and imbalanced power dynamics.” For this reason, the Prevention+ project seeks to transform the social norms and values that enable GBV, and to encourage care, respect, and equality. Activities include advocacy, working with community leaders as well as boys and men, and gender-sensitive training for government staff, service providers, and civil society organisations.
Prevention+ is coordinated internationally by Rutgers, Promundo, and Sonke Gender Justice, and has partnered with the MenEngage Alliance on advocacy strategies and activities. The programme is funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands. It is active in Indonesia, Pakistan, Rwanda, and Uganda, as well as in parts of the Middle East and North Africa region (Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine). The work being implemented under Prevention+ is informed and driven by local partners in those countries.
In order to foster positive interactions and gender-equitable relationships to address the root causes of GBV, the programme:
- takes a multi-level approach: that is, designing interventions at four levels of society - individual (individuals enjoy violence-free and gender just relations), community (communities promote gender equitable norms and prevent GBV), institutional (public institutions and civil society organisations promote gender justice and prevent GBV), and government (laws and policies promote gender justice and engage boys and men to prevent GBV) to transform the intersecting social and structural factors that allow GBV to persist; and
- actively engages young and adult men as part of the solution. Because GBV occurs most often in the context of relationships, prevention requires a collaborative effort. As part of its approach, Prevention+ engages young and adult men as partners and advocates for change - alongside young and adult women - to challenge and transform harmful gender norms and practices.
The ultimate aim of Prevention+ is to contribute to the adoption and implementation of national-level policies and systems of evidence-based programming for violence prevention that are sustained well beyond the initial five-year programme.
In the countries where Prevention+ is active, the programme undertakes the following key activities:
- recruiting the support of trusted community and faith-based leaders to serve as role models of gender-equitable norms, thereby influencing gender-equitable norms and values in the community (community level);
- training institutional staff of government ministries, government representatives, service providers, and civil society to integrate gender-transformative approaches in their day-to-day work. This includes equipping staff with the tools and know-how necessary to interact with young and adult men, women, and couples in a manner free from discrimination and bias (institutional level);
- engaging young and adult men and women in comprehensive GBV prevention programmes offered in partnership with existing community service organisation efforts. For example, through co-facilitated conversations on GBV prevention, young and adult men and women together begin to think and talk about gender equality, sexuality, and non-violent relationships (individual level);
- advocacy efforts that focus on encouraging (inter)national governments to introduce and enact new legislation aimed at preventing and eliminating GBV, and to strengthen enforcement of existing policies or legislation (government level).
The following are examples of activities that are being undertaken by Prevention+ programme in implementing countries:
- In Rwanda, the Rwanda Men’s Resource Center (RWAMREC) seeks to institutionalise gender-transformative approaches to GBV prevention within existing structures by working together with the government and local leaders. The programme works with young men and women in schools through Boys4Change clubs and with couples through evening dialogue sessions called Umugoroba w’Ababyeyi, a government-supported initiative that brings men and women together to discuss community issues.
- In Uganda, Reproductive Health Uganda (RHU) holistically addresses the structural and systemic drivers that allow all forms of GBV to persist. RHU engages with men and boys to prevent GBV, and with the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) and Center for Health, Human Rights and Development (CEHURD) to use lessons learnt in communities to advance national advocacy for GBV prevention.
- Rutgers Pakistan is conducting the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES), in collaboration with the Population Council, Rozan (a national non-governmental organisation, or NGO), and the Ministry of Human Rights. With its partners, the joint initiative aims to provide the evidence needed to strengthen the implementation of laws focused on reducing GBV, and seeks to create an environment supportive of engaging with men to end GBV.
- In Indonesia, Rutgers Indonesia has partnered with Rifka Annisa and Damar women crisis centres, the Pulih Foundation, and Rahima Foundation (a feminist faith-based organisation) to improve overall service delivery. Together, they introduce gender-transformative approaches in community education activities, GBV counselling, and policy advocacy. Rahima Foundation encourages religious leaders to champion equal gender perspectives and healthy relationships within the context of their teachings and marriage courses.
- In the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), gender equality is a topic of longstanding debate; however, little research has explored how social norms related to masculinity perpetuate GBV and conflict. Promundo, UN Women, and their research partners have begun examining these themes through IMAGES research in Egypt, Lebanon, Morocco, and Palestine. IMAGES findings will influence related evidence-based advocacy and action at national and regional levels. In the coming years, a Regional Training Initiative will help civil society and public sector participants build a regional network of future leaders and gender-justice advocates.
1 in 3 women experience physical or sexual violence, most often by an intimate partner. Between 133 and 275 million children witness violence in their homes, per year. An estimated 3.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) is lost due to GBV: this is more than double what governments spend on education.
Rutgers, Promundo, and Sonke Gender Justice, MenEngage Alliance, and Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.
Rutgers website and “Prevention+ - Men and Women Ending Gender-Based Violence” [PDF] on September 22 2017.