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Research provides needed evidence to advocate for strong laws and programs to combat gender-based violence. Yet research capacity is lagging in many parts of the world including Africa. In response, ICRW, the Gender-based Violence Prevention Network and the South African Medical Research Council undertook a capacity building program that paired NGOs with research institutions in the region. Our experience shows that partnering violence prevention organizations with researchers has strengthened the formers’ skills to carry out relevant action research, and directed evidence into the hands of those best positioned to use it, namely activists and program implementers.