The Drum Beat 519 - Gender-Based Violence Communication

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Issue #: 
November 23, 2009

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This issue of The Drum Beat focuses on gender-based violence (GBV) as it affects women and girls. According to the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), "Violence against women and girls is a problem of pandemic proportions... [affecting] at least one out of every three women around the world..." [For additional statistics and context, visit the UNIFEM website]. During this year's 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence campaign, held annually since 1991 from November 25 to December 10, The Communication Initiative (CI) has assembled in this issue a selection of summaries, part of larger pool of knowledge available on the CI sites, addressing: violence prevention, involving men as partners, GBV affecting youth, and guides and tools for organisations working to prevent GBV against women.








1. Sixteen Days of Activism against Gender Violence

In 1991, international participants in the United States (US)-based Center for Women's Global Leadership (CWGL)'s first annual Women's Global Leadership Institute conceived of and created an annual international campaign to communicate this message: violence against women (VAW) violates human rights. Each year from November 25 to December 10, participants use the "16 Days of Action against Gender Violence" campaign as an organising strategy to call for elimination of all forms of VAW (whether in the public or private sphere).




2. Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women - Global

This global platform aims to trigger and highlight actions on ending violence against women. It provides tools to initiate or join advocacy and awareness raising activities around the world, and counts and communicates them in real time. As indicated by the campaign: "Help us reach our goal to count 100,000 actions to end violence against women by March 2010. By creating a profile on you can let us know about your actions and inspire others to join you."

Contact: Urjasi Rudra



3. Solidarity for African Women's Rights (SOAWR) - Africa

Launched in 2005, SOAWR is a coalition of 33 civil society organisations across Africa working to ensure that the Protocol to the African Union (AU) Charter on the Rights of Women in Africa remains on the agenda of policy makers and to urge African leaders to safeguard women's rights through ratification and implementation of the Protocol. The coalition uses media, new technologies, and advocacy to achieve universal ratification of the AU Protocol. To cite only 2 examples: as part of the "colour card campaign", SOAWR issued coloured cards to member states during African Union summits (green for countries that had ratified the Protocol; yellow for those that had signed but not ratified it; and red for those that had not signed it); and the mobile phone campaign "Text now 4 women's rights" enabled thousands of African cell phone users to join the campaign and be updated on the progress of ratification.




4. Violence against Women in Melanesia and East Timor: Building on Global and Regional Promising Practices

This study from the Office of Development Effectiveness, AusAID, Australia, 2008, is part of their efforts to assess the effectiveness of current approaches to addressing violence against women and girls in 5 of Australia's close partner countries: Fiji, Papua New Guinea (PNG), Solomon Islands, Vanuatu, and East Timor. Common customary practices and attitudes that put women at risk of violence in this region include: bride-price (price paid by husbands for their wives); economic dependence of women on men; and compensation and reconciliation to maintain peace between groups and their leaders ("injuries against a woman or girl are dealt with by compensating the male who had rights to her (father, brother, husband). Women are unhappy about family members benefiting from their injuries and feel it undermines their future safety."). The document offers a framework for action and some promising practices.



5. Gender Development Project (GDP) - Indonesia and Kenya

GDP is an effort to address the increased vulnerability of women and girls to HIV/AIDS through evidence-based approaches. It is an initiative of STOP AIDS NOW! (SAN!), an independent organisation formed in 2000 by 5 Dutch donor organisations seeking to work together towards a world without AIDS. GDP seeks to add value to the HIV/AIDS and gender policies of SAN! partners by identifying promising local-level strategies and interventions for HIV prevention that integrate promotion of egalitarian gender-based attitudes, behaviours, and norms, and women's rights. It is being implemented in Kenya (throughout all 8 provinces except North Eastern Province) and Indonesia (Java and Papua).

Contact: Jennifer Bushee



6. Umoja Uaso Women's Group - Kenya

A sister organisation of the US-based human rights organisation MADRE, the Umoja Uaso Women's Group is a community of Indigenous Samburu women formed in 1990 in Kenya by 15 women who were rejected by their husbands and forced out of their homes after being raped. These women founded Umoja as a safe community for GBV survivors. Living and working together, the women of Umoja combat discrimination, poverty, and violence against women, and develop increasing economic autonomy in an effort to enable them to avoid dependence on abusive men.









Through CI Stories, we are seeking stories of how members of The CI Network have used The CI to support their work, connect with others in the network, and/or highlight their work with demonstrated positive impact on their organisation or work.


  • Have you had discussions with colleagues based on information you found through The CI?


  • Have you found materials or contacts to support a new project through The CI


  • Have you distributed CI information to your communities in order to help inform them of what other communities are doing around similar issues?


View stories submitted by others click here.


Please tell us your story click here.


(NOTE: you must be a registered, logged in user to submit a story).









7. Promoting Gender Equality to Prevent Violence Against Women

This briefing document focuses on violence against women by intimate partners. It examines the relationship of gender inequalities to gender-based violence and finds evidence that school, community, and media interventions can promote gender equality and prevent violence against women by challenging stereotypes that give men power over women. It then describes some of the promising methods of promoting gender equality and their effectiveness.



8. One Man Can Campaign - South Africa

One Man Can is a campaign, initiated by Sonke Gender Justice, is designed to support men and boys to end domestic and sexual violence, to promote healthy, equitable relationship between genders, and to reduce the spread and impact of HIV/AIDS. The campaign encourages men to work together with other men and with women for gender rights and justice using materials provided in the organisation's campaign action kit, its workshop manual, street theatre designed to stimulate spontaneous discussion and debate, and the campaign website, intended for sports coaches, fathers, interfaith leaders, teachers, and youth.

Contact: Bafana Khumalo OR Dean Peacock



9. The 2010 Soccer World Cup: Opportunities to Engage Men and Boys in Advancing Gender Equality

This report documents the main themes and discussions that emerged from a 2-day conference held by Sonke Gender Justice Network, Grassroot Soccer, and the Family Violence Prevention Fund in 2008. The objectives of the conference, held in advance of the 2010 Soccer World Cup (scheduled to take place in South Africa), were to: identify and showcase best practices related to sport and social change; identify existing opportunities to engage with the 2010 World Cup to promote gender equality; build relationships between organisations; identify shared strategies for making use of 2010 to engage men in gender equality; find strategies that link gender equality work for 2010 with the 2014 World Cup in Brazil; and discuss strategies to promote child protection around 2010 and beyond. The report points out that there are many opportunities for the global event to help support gender equality campaigns.



See also:









Please VOTE in our Poll:


What is the most persistent problem facing marginalised female children?



  • Lack of access to education.
  • Lack of inheritance and ownership rights.
  • Societal acceptance of sexual teasing and harassment.
  • Forced customs related to sexuality: e.g., FGM, arranged marriage, involuntary prostitution.


VOTE and COMMENT click here.






RESULTS thus far (November 20):



54%: Lack of access to education.

28%: Forced customs related to sexuality: e.g., FGM, arranged marriage, involuntary prostitution.

10%: Lack of inheritance and ownership rights.

9%: Societal acceptance of sexual teasing and harassment.









10. Ethical Issues in Using Participatory Video in Addressing Gender Violence in and Around Schools: The Challenges of Representation

by Relebohile Moletsane, Claudia Mitchell, Jean Stuart, Shannon Walsh, and Myra Taylor

This paper, presented in March 2008, discusses ethical and theoretical issues of conducting participatory research with young people. The report reflects the authors' work with boys and girls in rural schools in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, using participatory methodologies, particularly visual (photo-voice and video-documentaries), to examine the nature and impact of GBV on the lives of young people, and explore possible strategies for intervention. According to the report, while a number of scholars and organisations identify a set of basic principles that should be observed in doing research or working with children through participatory methodologies, there is a relative absence of a sustained focus on ethical considerations and the potential harm that "well-intentioned" researchers might cause in the name of "least harm". 



11. Empower Children and Communities against Abuse (ECCA) - Uganda

ECCA is a non-profit organisation that works to empower in- and out-of-school children and communities to work together against all forms of GBV in Uganda. The organisation works through support programmes, lobbying and advocacy, and capacity building. In addition, ECCA promotes the proactive participation of men in the design and implementation of GBV prevention projects. ECCA works to facilitate the gendered institutionalisation of sustainable community empowerment, psychosocial support, and policy advocacy structures that focus on the prevention of gender-based violence.




12. YouthEngage - Global

Launched in 2009 by Women's World Summit Foundation (WWSF), YouthEngage is an annual programme for action for young people around the world who pledge to prevent abuse and violence against children and adolescents. It aims to involve young people in making a commitment never to commit, condone, or remain silent about abuse and violence against children and to learn about the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), which is commemorating its 20th anniversary in 2009. The ultimate goal is to build, strengthen, and expand a growing international network of youth activists.

Contact: Laure Maitrejean


See also:







On October 28 2009, our sister site, Soul Beat Africa, published: The Soul Beat 140 - Communication and Gender-based Violence.  Please see this issue for African perspectives on the 16 Days Campaign and other GBV initiatives, approaches, and resources.










13. The Reproductive Rights of Adolescents: A Tool for Health and Empowerment

This 2008 publication outlines the general framework of adolescents' reproductive and sexual rights. It focuses on sexuality education, access to confidential health care, child marriage and lack of educational opportunity, sexual violence, and female genital mutilation. The document presents the role of advocacy and lists the human rights standards that apply to adolescent reproductive rights, followed by a more detailed discussion of core issues and approaches that can help ensure that adolescents have the ability to make and act on informed reproductive decisions.



14. Changing the River's Flow Series - A Multi-Purpose Package

The Southern Africa HIV and AIDS Information Dissemination Service (SAfAIDS), in partnership with the Seke rural community, implemented a 2009 pilot project in Zimbabwe in which community dialogues were used to address what were identified as harmful cultural practices. From this project, SAfAIDS developed a series of training materials and tools to support programmers which are interested in advancing their work with communities on addressing gender and culture. These materials have been packaged under the theme: Changing the River's Flow.



15. Monitoring and Evaluation of Gender-Based Violence: Methodologies and Field Implications

by Charlotte Watts, Shelah Bloom, Margaret Greene, and Sunita Kishor

This document is a Rapporteur's text on presentations from the Gender-Based Violence Task Force of the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG) seminar of November 25 2008, on monitoring and evaluation methodology to improve research and influence policy on gender-based violence. These included MEASURE Evaluation's "Compendium of Monitoring and Evaluation Indicators", The Men and Gender Equality Policy Project of the ICRW/Promundo, and insights from the IMAGE and SASA studies.



16. Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through USAID's Health Programs: A Guide for Health Sector Program Officers (Second Edition)

From the preface of this guide written by the IGWG: "The present guide [updating the July 2006 version] is intended to help USAID [United States Agency for International Development] program officers integrate gender-based violence (GBV) activities into their health sector portfolio during project design, implementation, and evaluation. The guide focuses on what the health sector can do, keeping in mind that preventing and responding to gender-based violence requires a multisectoral approach. For each type of health program - from community mobilisation to health policy - the guide explores reasons why these programs should address gender-based violence and how to support GBV activities based on what is known about promising approaches from literature reviews, ...the opinions of leading experts, and feedback from USAID and cooperating agency staff."



17. Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Legal Aid: A Participatory Toolkit

This toolkit, published in 2005, from the American Refugee Committee (ARC) provides 3 tools and a step-by-step process to help field staff design GBV services that will incorporate "adequate, appropriate, and comprehensive prevention and response strategies" with a multi-sectoral approach. One underlying principle of this toolkit is that GBV services and GBV legal aid need to be implemented in a gradual and culturally appropriate manner to maximise effectiveness and to prevent harmful consequences and backlash to the survivors from the community. A second underlying principle is that people in the community are the most knowledgeable of the unique characteristics of their environment and how to best address them. 








The C-Change Picks website and e-magazine both feature selections of case studies, initiatives, resources, and thinking included on The CI website that have been specifically highlighted by the C-Change programme. Funded by USAID, C-Change works with global, regional, and local partners to apply social and behaviour change communication approaches in the health sector - HIV and AIDS, family planning and reproductive health, malaria, and primary health care - and is expanding to the environmental sector.


The C-Change Picks e-magazine is published regularly and features resources recently highlighted by C-Change. The November issue of C-Change Picks focuses on gender norms - click here.


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For a comprehensive view of what has been highlighted thus far, visit the C-Change Picks website.






This issue of The Drum Beat was written by Julie Levy.






The Editor of The Drum Beat is Kier Olsen DeVries.


Please send material for The Drum Beat to The CI's Editorial Director - Deborah Heimann


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