The Collaborative was created by a group of global practitioners, activists and researchers who have long worked to prevent violence against women and children. It was our shared observation that much of what has been learned in the last decade about the causes of violence and how best to prevent it has not translated into concrete programming. Given the social and personal costs of violence, we wanted to come together to address this disconnect between research and practice.
In August 2016, this small group met to explore how to move the field forward. Prior to the meeting, we consulted a selection of allied researchers, INGOs, practitioners, and donors. Collectively, we identified a number of challenges in the field including:
- The widening chasm between what is known about effective strategies to prevent gender-based violence and the programming that is currently being implemented.
- The disempowerment of local movements and women’s groups working on violence, given current funding mechanisms and priorities, and the closing of civil society space.
We also agreed on some key priorities for the field:
- Greater investment in women’s organisations and feminist movements in addition to evidence-based prevention models implemented by large organisations.
- Sustained funding for locally owned prevention efforts and a move away from short term project funding.
- Longer inception periods that give organisations the time required to assess local beliefs, norms, and structures that sustain violence, and to design, pilot and optimise programmes before seeking to evaluate them in randomised trials.
- A diversification of sources of knowledge and evidence to enable a more contextualised and accurate picture of the dynamics of VAW and VAC and how to foster social change to prevent violence.
- Governments and donors to break down funding silos and expand sources of financial support for prevention.
In 2017, the Collaborative received planning support from a private foundation with a view to include more voices in the organisational design process and establish the objectives and priorities for our work. We decided to focus on four key areas of work where we felt we can add value to the field:
Our strategy is underpinned by our analysis of the violence prevention field, including the achievements and strengths of the field as well as the structural challenges both external and internal that encumber progress. Our analysis and vision is summarised in our background paper “A call to Re-imagine Prevention”.
We thank the following individuals who have all contributed to the development of the Prevention Collaborative: Samrawit Assefa (Ethiopia), Amy Bank (USA), Khamsavath Chanthavysouk (Laos), Carme Clavel (Nicaragua), Kathy Durand (Canada), Emma Fulu (Australia), Lori Heise (USA), Jessica Horn (Ghana), Shireen Jejeebhoy (India), Kamani Jinadasa (Sri Lanka), James Lang (Thailand), Evelyn Letiyo (Uganda), Lyndsay McLean (UK), Lori Michau (Uganda), Elizabeth Starmann (USA), Lisa Witter (Germany).