TAKING COMMUNITY ACTION TO PREVENT AND RESPOND TO VIOLENCE IN GHANA
Your complete source on everything COMBAT! Our goal is to make all materials on a programme easily accessible in one place. If you are aware of additional resources, please contact us.
The Community Based Action Teams (COMBAT) intervention is a rural response system designed to reduce levels of violence against women and girls and raise awareness about the consequences and drivers of violence in communities. The programme trained community action teams to challenge community attitudes, spread understanding of laws, counsel couples affected by intimate partner violence (IPV), and provide referrals to relevant social services (such as police, social welfare, health, and the commission on human rights).
The programme had four components:
- A seven-session participatory curriculum to train the action teams (each made up of men and women from the community) to promote violence prevention and response
- Trained COMBAT members raising awareness through community meetings, radio programmes, and public announcements, as well as providing referrals to violence support services and managing cases
- A three-day training for staff of state agencies and other stakeholders to build the capacity of organisations and agencies to respond to violence against women and children
- Post-training support and monitoring, including refresher trainings, routine reporting, and ongoing meetings between COMBATs and technical support staff
A quasi-experimental study showed the programme reduced women’s reported experiences of sexual IPV but no statistically significant reduction in physical IPV. There was no change in men’s reported perpetration of IPV or in attitudes or norms related to gender equity. The programme also reduced women’s reports of men’s controlling behaviour.
COMBAT was implemented by the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre) in Ghana and the University of Ghana, with funding from the UK Department for International Development as part of the What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls Programme. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact them first.
- Intriguingly, changes in gender-equitable attitudes and norms did not appear necessary in this setting to achieve reductions in sexual IPV, as reported by women.
- Interventions to prevent violence appear more effective when combined with support for survivors.
- The COMBAT project benefitted greatly from having been implemented and refined in other settings over many years.
- The Rural Response System approach affirmed once again that carefully selecting, training, and supervising community facilitators is essential to programme success.
“THEY [COMBATS] OFTEN MEET US DURING FUNERALS OR COMMUNITY GATHERINGS AND SHARE THEIR KNOWLEDGE WITH US ON VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN…AWARENESS OF PANDEMIC [VAWG] CHANGES PEOPLE’S BEHAVIOURS. SAME CAN BE SAID ABOUT PEOPLE’S ATTITUDE AND BEHAVIOUR TOWARDS VIOLENCE. THEY MADE US UNDERSTAND THAT EVERY HUMAN BEING HAS RIGHT[S] INCLUDING WOMEN AND CHILDREN.”
MALE PARTICIPANT, AGED 32, IN A FOCUS GROUP DISCUSSION