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The Gender Centre

The ‘COMBAT’ Programme, Ghana

This programme developed a Rural Response System (RRS) to mobilise community members, state agencies and other key actors to prevent and respond to violence against women and girls (VAWG) in rural communities in the Central region of Ghana. 

Using Community-Based Action Teams (COMBAT), it aimed to raise awareness about the causes and consequences of VAWG, change social norms and practices that drive intimate partner violence (IPV) and facilitate coordinated responses between COMBAT, state agencies and key actors to support survivors of violence to access counselling, legal and other social services. 

A quasi-experimental evaluation of the COMBAT programme found that the intervention reduced women’s reports of past year sexual IPV by more than half.  Women’s reports of physical IPV and severe IPV (physical and/or sexual) in the last 12 months also declined, but the results were not statistically significant. Men likewise reported declines in perpetration of all forms of IPV, but changes in levels of perpetration between baseline and end line were not statistically different between intervention and control communities.

Examples of COMBAT Activities

  • Facilitation of community discussions by organising meetings in public spaces, churches and mosques, during community festivals, associations or group meetings, and through radio programmes, public announcements and home visits;
  • Using role play, drama and dialogue during these meetings to communicate key messages;
  • Building interactive dialogue by allowing audience members to ask questions following presentations within a group setting or in person;
  • Where appropriate—mediating to resolve conflicts;
  • Where necessary—providing counselling and support including information and referrals for women survivors to access justice and other social services; 
  • When asked by a survivor—COMBAT members may make home visits to discuss problems and incidents reported, or accompany a survivor to report an incidence of violence to an applicable agency or receive social services; 
  • Where appropriate—COMBAT members may also follow up on cases of violence referred to a service provider and follow up with survivors as well.