Background information / Why Host this Event?

Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is a worldwide and gross violation of human rights, and a global pandemic: one in three women worldwide have experienced either intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.  In a world where significant progress has been made in many respects on women’s rights, VAWG is the most persistent indicator of gender inequality. 

Evidence from existing prevention research and practice on VAWG/GBV, suggests that some of the most effective strategies are those that directly address gender norms regarding acceptability of violence against women and girls, particularly through efforts to engage entire communities. These norms are deep-rooted at the individual level (women and girls, men and boys) and contribute to the perpetuation of VAWG/GBV in familial, community, institutional, and political spaces.  

Prevention therefore requires transformational change to the root causes of VAWG – gender and power relations – and must be targeted at multiple levels and spheres of society, through coordinated, multisectoral strategies.

Oxfam’s Experience and Prioritization of Ending VAWG/ GBV

Oxfam recognizes that VAWG/GBV is a human rights violation and a development priority.  Reducing the social acceptance and incidence of VAWG/GBV is a key plank of Oxfam’s Strategic Plan.  Oxfam's Global Program Framework to end VAWG/GBV aims at transformative change that emphasizes four types of interventions through which Oxfam adds value:

  1. Funding and capacity-building support to women’s rights organizations, which are on the front lines of ending VAWG, but which suffer from constraints based on gender discrimination themselves and competes with other development priorities, including shocking under-funding;
  2. Supporting increased access to support services and other resources for survivors of VAWG, including resources to support survivors to act as change agents and leaders;
  3. Strategies and initiatives to support the transformation of social and cultural attitudes, behaviours, and norms, to reduce the social acceptance of VAWG/GBV,  and;
  4. Supporting influencing of duty-bearers to demonstrate their commitment to reducing VAWG/GBV, notably by protecting citizens through stronger legislation and policies, and more effective implementation.

Globally, Oxfam is working in over 40 countries within this framework.  In March 2013 Oxfam launched its VAWG/GBV Knowledge Hub.  The Oxfam Knowledge Hub’s aims to strengthen the program quality, influencing and fundraising of country programs targeting the elimination of VAWG/GBV.  The VAWG/GBV Knowledge Hub began its work with a consultation process that featured an Oxfam-wide survey, which netted responses from over 40 country programs working on VAWG/GBV.  This survey revealed that of the 40 VAWG/GBV programs close to 100% work on changing attitudes, norms and behaviours.  

For 2015-2016 the KH will focus on deepening our collective understanding in changing negative, and reinforcing positive attitudes, norms and behaviours linked to VAWG/GBV (for more info see here).

In particular,  throughout 2015-2016 the KH will explore
  1. what current research is suggesting are effective intervention strategies on challenging  the negative and reinforcing positive attitudes, norms and behaviours 
  2. what research is suggesting are effective MEAL strategies for capturing this complex change; and 
  3. examples of innovative programming on ANB change from the Oxfam confederation and peers.   
The 3 day face-to-face learning event will be pivotal in building momentum around and deepening our learning related preventing VAWG/GBV through ANB change.