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Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities


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Presented by Carolina Mejia, Abby Cannon, and Sukie Zietz in an August 2014 webinar on gender-based violence and women’s economic empowerment.

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Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities

  1. 1. Perspectives on Gender-Based Violence and Women’s Economic Empowerment in Sub- Saharan Africa: Challenges and Opportunities Carolina Mejia, PhD, MPH Abby Cannon, MSW, MPH Sukie Zietz, MPH Chapel Hill, North Carolina August 12, 2014
  2. 2. AGENDA  Introduction  Methods  Findings  Literature Review  Key Informant Interviews  Discussion and Recommendations  Q&A period
  3. 3. BACKGROUND Gender-based violence (GBV):  All acts resulting in physical, sexual, psychological, or economic harm or suffering based on socially ascribed (gender) differences between males and females.  Complex and pervasive problem.  Rooted in gender-based power inequalities.  Major health and development implications.
  4. 4. BACKGROUND (Cont.)  Women’s Economic Empowerment (WEE) sets a path towards gender equality.  Economically empowered women contribute to more others.  WEE is a structural approach.  Knowledge gaps still exist in trying to understand this relationship between GBV and WEE. Photo by Micaela Arthur
  5. 5. OVERALL GOALS  Gain a deeper understanding of the relationship between WEE programs and GBV; and  Identify promising approaches for programming that would strengthen economic empowerment interventions and reduce risks of GBV.
  6. 6. METHODOLOGY Photo by: Sukie Zietz
  7. 7. Systematic Literature Review  Expanding on a systematic review that included articles published through August 2007.1  Searches were conducted for published articles and reports in 6 databases and in the grey literature.  Publications from Sep. 2007 – Mar. 2014  Studies in low-to middle-income countries  Outcome measures of GBV, intimate partner violence (IPV), child marriage, non-partner physical/sexual violence, and FGC, attitudes towards child beating, decision-making powered and gender equitable attitudes.  Rating of the evidence (effective, promising or unclear)
  8. 8. Research Questions for KIIs  How do programs perceive the influence of WEE on GBV?  What do programs identify as important drivers in the relationship between WEE and GBV?  What are the common M&E practices used and challenges faced by WEE programs to document intervention impact? Photo by: Jack Hazerjian
  9. 9. Key Informant Interviews Inclusion criteria:  Sub-Saharan African countries  Work with women/girls to increase economic strengthening Sampling and Recruitment  Internet-based searches using key terms for programs and countries addressing WEE programming.  Snowball sampling of WEE technical and program staff Photo by: Wayne Hoover
  10. 10. Data Collection & Analysis • 49 in-depth interviews (28 phone and 21 in-person) • Interview responses were entered, coded, and analyzed using Atlas.ti software Telephone In-person Data collection • Analysis entailed iterative process of reviewing the interviews.
  11. 11. KEY FINDINGS Photo by: Micaela Arthur
  12. 12. GBV Experience and Attitudes  20 articles on 19 interventions (of 246) were found to be relevant.  9 articles were deemed effective, 8 promising, and 3 unclear  Measures of physical, sexual, economic, and psychological violence.  8 studies showed small, reductions in violence within the past 12 months.  Many studies showed reduction in acceptance of IPV and among participants and community members challenging traditional gender norms
  13. 13. GBV Experience and Attitudes  Intervention spotlight: Intervention with Microfinance for AIDS and Gender Equality (IMAGE) Photo by: Wayne Hoover
  14. 14. Adolescent Girls  10 programs focused on adolescents and young adults  Life skills plus EE (livelihoods training, cash transfers etc.)  Higher effects among those that integrating life skills and SRH training  Additional outcomes: HIV incidence, knowledge of HIV transmission, risky sexual behaviors, unintended pregnancy, school retention Photo by: Jack Hazerjian
  15. 15. Adolescent Girls (cont.)  Intervention spotlight: Safe and Smart Savings Products for Vulnerable Adolescent Girls4
  16. 16. Male Involvement  Men engaged as allies or partners vs. direct involvement  Men as allies: no studies found significant decrease in IPV though some change in attitudes and care behaviors  Men as participants: no decrease in violence
  17. 17. Male Involvement  Program spotlight: CARE Rwanda and Instituto Promundo VSL program5 Photo by: Jessica Fehringer
  18. 18. Challenges of Evaluation Studies  Lack of clear reporting on indicators  Low number of clusters in RCTs  Population mobility  Participant retention  Evaluation time-period Photo by: Jack Hazerjian
  19. 19. Qualitative Interviews Photo by: Micaela Arthur
  20. 20. Type of Organization and WEE Program Map of Interview SitesInterviews by type of organization
  21. 21. Types of Interventions  Human capital most common form of economic empowerment  15 programs engaged men as allies partners  11 programs did not have a GBV component  GBV components included: awareness education, rights-based/legal education, referral to services, direct services
  22. 22. Program Perceptions of the Influence of WEE on GBV: Reduction in IPV  18 KII respondents reported that their program decreased the experience of GBV.  Included reduction in IPV, sexual harassment in public spaces, and forced sex  Reliance on anecdotes, lack of M&E data There is testimony that GBV decreases. Participation in the program increases their income, and their respect and confidence. This is a positive way of empowering women, which decreases GBV. Women can contribute to the family, as well as understand their rights and capacity. (ID40, East Africa)
  23. 23. Tension and backlash  Terms frequently used to describe problems with husbands or partners as a result of participating in WEE programs  Balance of power and traditional gender norms “We know if we empower women in rural areas especially, there is negative impact in terms of domestic violence. But knowing that might happen, our seminar series are designed to bring together, so role models can give testimony on how they are working together, man is supporting wife, and what [positive] impact it brings to the family through that. To show them you can live better if you live like this couple.” (ID37, East Africa)
  24. 24. Drivers identified in the relationship between WEE and GBV  Improved attitudes towards gender norms  Life skills  Education  Self-esteem  Emotional support systems “The intervention resonates with the participants. They realize they have experience, skills, and are empowered economically. Information alone without economic empowerment is not enough.” (ID01, Southern Africa)
  25. 25. M&E Practices and Challenges Records from a site visit Photo by: Abby Cannon
  26. 26. M&E practices by organization type Studies and international NGOs:  Quantitative and qualitative data  Regular, planned time points  More variety in indicator types  External evaluators
  27. 27. M&E practices by organization type (Cont.)  Country and grassroots NGOs:  Primarily informal, qualitative  Less frequent time points  More focus on inputs  Difficulty prioritizing M&E—lack of funding, time, expertise
  28. 28. M&E Challenges: Demand, prioritization, and funding  Focus is on program implementation.  Lack of demand for M&E.  Limited funding to pay data collectors, train staff, and use more advance M&E techniques. “Program implementation is often about putting out fires, so the normal strategy for the program was difficult, let alone the strategy for M&E.” (ID 23, Southern Africa)
  29. 29. M&E Challenges: Staff and organizational capacity  Volunteers have little to no M&E training  Questionable data quality and consistency  Few qualified staff  Implementing partners’ M&E capacity varies
  30. 30. M&E Challenges: Measurement  Tracking inputs and outputs, but few outcomes and impact.  Only tracking loan repayment and attendance “Our measurements focus on money and ignore other factors. There are longer term issues around creating effective economic behavior change, with bringing people up. We need to measure that.” (ID 41, East Africa)
  31. 31.  Limited expertise to develop/select appropriate indicators.  Lack of clear GBV and WEE indicators M&E Challenges: Measurement  Desire for more documentation of success stories.
  32. 32. M&E Challenges: Methodology  Assessing impact is difficult:  Program overlap  Small sample size  Lack of control group  Time constraints limit longer term outcomes  Tracking mobile populations
  33. 33. “M&E is something very important to be integrated into project management. When you have regular M&E, it gives a prosperous moment to have checks and balances. It also gives a say to the beneficiaries to have an input. And you can influence policy at all levels.” (ID39, East Africa) Photo by: Micaela Arthur
  34. 34. Limitations  Limited evidence on WEE and GBV  Varying quality of articles  Social desirability bias  Selection bias
  35. 35. LESSONS LEARNED 1. Programs that provided only financial capital seem to result in less positive outcomes than those that provided it with other types of capital (social, human, or physical). 2. No conclusive evidence to determine whether WEE-only programs can increase or decrease the experience of GBV. 3. WEE programs with gender components also showed positive results for other outcomes related to women and girl’s health and well-being. 4. The majority of effective and promising interventions involved activities for men alone or men and women in some capacity.
  36. 36. LESSONS LEARNED (Cont.) 5. Improved measurement methods are necessary to understand what increases or decreases GBV or GBV-related outcomes. 6. Lack of evidence on other forms of GBV other than IPV. 7. Lack of capacity and resources to document program impact.
  37. 37. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS  WEE programs should incorporate human as well as social capital components in program design and implementation.  Economic empowerment programs promoting livelihoods among adolescent girls should incorporate safe spaces for girls to access support, mentoring, and share experiences.  Engage men constructively in gender-related activities in order to promote gender equitable norms.
  38. 38. KEY RECOMMENDATIONS (Cont.)  Further rigorous research and evaluation should be conducted on the intersection of WEE and GBV using measurement guidelines to increase the evidence base for improved programming.  Map the pathways in which WEE directly or indirectly affects GBV, given that the current evidence about the mechanism in which WEE impacts GBV is inconclusive.
  39. 39. The Report To access the report: If you need additional information, please contact Carolina Mejia at:
  40. 40. References 1. Vyas S, Watts C. How does economic empowerment affect women's risk of intimate partner violence in low and middle income countries? a systematic review of published evidence. Journal of International Development. 2009;21(5):577-602. 2. Kim JC, Watts CH, Hargreaves JR, et al. Understanding the impact of a microfinance- based intervention on women's empowerment and the reduction of intimate partner violence in South Africa. Am J Public Health. 2007;97(10):1794-1802. 3. Kim J, Ferrari G, Abramsky T, et al. Assessing the incremental effects of combining economic and health interventions: The IMAGE study in South Africa. Bull World Health Organ. 2009;87(11):824-832. 4. Austrian K, Muthengi E. Safe and smart savings products for vulnerable adolescent girls in Kenya and Uganda: Evaluation report. 2014. 5. Slegh H, Barker G, Kimonyo A, Ndolimana P, Bannerman M. ‘I can do women's work’: Reflections on engaging men as allies in women's economic empowerment in Rwanda. Gender & Development. 2013;21(1):15-30.
  41. 41. Acknowledgments The report was prepared by Carolina Mejia, Abby Cannon, Susannah Zietz, Jennet Arcara, and Afeefa Abdur-Rahman of MEASURE Evaluation at the University of North Carolina but it could not be completed without the contributions with many others.  Staff at MEASURE Evaluation for their contributions to this report: MaryBeth Grewe, Katharine L McFadden, and Micaela Arthur (MEASURE Evaluation).  Reviewers who provided valuable insights and helped us to refine the report: Mahua Mandal, Lakshmi Gopalakrishnan, Bernard Agala (MEASURE Evaluation), Kristen Wares, Ana Djapovic Scholl, and Amelia Peltz (USAID), and Madhumita Das (International Center for Research on Women).  The organizations and individuals who participated in the interviews for sharing views on a number of issues related to this study.
  42. 42. MEASURE Evaluation is funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by the Carolina Population Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in partnership with Futures Group, ICF International, John Snow, Inc., Management Sciences for Health, and Tulane University. Views expressed in this presentation do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the U.S. government. MEASURE Evaluation is the USAID Global Health Bureau's primary vehicle for supporting improvements in monitoring and evaluation in population, health and nutrition worldwide.
  43. 43. Questions / Comments? Photo by: Sukie Zietz Thank you!