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Man crafts a drum in Côte d'Ivoire

Cote d'Ivoire - Protection from Gender-Based Violence Project: Impact Evaluation

Objectives: To better understand how the social context of political conflict and violent unrest may impact gender-based violence (GBV), autonomy, and related socioeconomic interventions. Findings from these research activities are expected to explore the external factors that can impact the effectiveness of an existing Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) intervention in areas directly impacted by conflict. In addition, the proposed intervention and research aims to complement quantitative evaluations on what kind of impact the project had on attitudes toward and incidence of intimate partner violence (IPV), household decision making, and other gender norms. Qualitative research will investigate these concepts further to better understand how these processes occur among women participants as well as men’s perspective and the process of change in these attitudes and behaviors.

Background and Rationale:The World Bank is funding the NGO International Rescue Committee (IRC) to implement a ‘Protection from Gender-Based Violence Project’ in Côte d’Ivoire. The project aims to provide prevention and assistance services to victims of GBV in a country that is witnessing a protracted socio-political crisis with peaks of violence, including a period of intense strife. Its objectives are: (1) improved commitment and capacity of local authorities and community members (women and men) in targeted areas to prevent GBV and respond to it; (2) improved access to extended multi-sectoral services for GBV survivors in targeted areas; (3) improved coordination and capacity of local organizations and key stakeholders (e.g., the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Social Affairs, NGOs, the armed forces and UN agencies) in the prevention and response to GBV, including the establishment of a multi-sector GBV referral network.

The prevention component is divided into two sub-components:

  1. Communication for social change: Activities aim to mobilize women and men at three levels (individuals in the community; security personnel and local authorities; and society as a whole) to take steps to challenge norms that oppress women and girls. While community-based activities and awareness raising and training sessions for security forces will essentially be the same (albeit covering a larger area), a social marketing approach will also be introduced to better target society as a whole. The social marketing campaign will indirectly benefit 786,393 people. As a new activity, IRC will implement the Global Crescendo Initiative in six new communities. This initiative uses photography as a tool to give women a voice about their situations and produced very encouraging results during a pilot last year. The direct beneficiaries of this project are 72 women in six villages and activities will indirectly benefit the whole population of the six villages.
  2. Improving women’s self-confidence: These new activities will help women and girls to develop new livelihoods and increase their participation in household decisions. The rationale behind this additional sub-component is based upon emerging findings that women’s economic dependence on men decreases their levels of confidence in terms of taking an active part in actions to challenge norms related to women’s position in the community. The main activities of this component are the Village Savings and Loans Associations (VSLA) and literacy courses for women. These are complemented by Gender Dialogue Groups for both men and women, to provide a forum where gender roles can be analysed and discussed. IRC will target approximately 1,300 women

Research suggests that challenging gender norms and improving the economic well-being within a household can translate into decreased levels of gender-based violence against women. However, minimal evaluation of such programming has been conducted outside of the IMAGES study in South Africa, and large-scale evaluations of such programming in conflict-affected settings such as Cote d’Ivoire are extremely scarce. Equally scarce is programmatic research examining how to reduce men’s perpetration of GBV, as well as the role of family members (beyond the intimate partner) in GBV perpetration in conflict-settings. To this end, a quantitative survey was undertaken in 2010 investigating changes in women’s experiences with GBV, household decision-making, and autonomy.

In November of 2010, exactly one month after the completion of the baseline survey for the quantitative evaluation, a violent post-election crisis occurred in Cote d’Ivoire.  A period of violent civil unrest ensued throughout the country and persisted through May 2011. The regions where the study was originally conducted had been dramatically affected by this crisis. This particular context offers a unique opportunity to conduct research to examine explicitly how the social context of political conflict and violent unrest may impact gender-based violence, autonomy, and related socioeconomic interventions. To date, a handful of studies suggest a link between exposure to civil unrest and increased IPV against women, but this has not been examined extensively. Also, far less is known about how such civil unrest can influence women’s autonomy within the family and household as well as her access to resources. Thus the situation in Cote d’Ivoire could help in understanding how such civil unrest can impact IPV and how the enhanced VSLA and Gender Dialogue interventions can impact GBV in such settings affected by civil unrest.

While quantitative evaluations will provide information on what kind of impact the Protection from Gender-Based Violence Project had on attitudes toward and incidence of IPV, household decision making, and other gender norms; qualitative research is also needed to investigate these concepts further to better understand how these processes occur among women participants as well as men’s perspective and the process of change in these attitudes and behaviors.

Project Details: LOGiCA is partnering with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) to conduct the following specific activities:

  1. Post-Election Crisis Assessment: A quantitative survey will be conducted with a sub-sample of women who participated in the original baseline survey. Participants will be asked to report on their experiences from the timeframe immediately after the election crisis up through the time of the intermediate survey. The assessment will aim to explore the following: (1) levels of IPV faced by women since the onset of election-related violence compared to baseline IPV levels; (2) women’s help-seeking behavior and access to IPV-related resources post-election; (3) how election-related violence may have impacted women’s experiences with control over household resources and household decision-making and experiences with violence and family conflict post-election; (4) experiences such as displacement and loss of resources that may impact women’s success in the program; and (5) women’s coping strategies during and post violence.
  2. Component 2. End-line Qualitative Interviews: While the quantitative evaluation will provide information on what kind of impact the program had on attitudes toward and incidence of IPV, household decision-making, and other gender norms, the qualitative research will investigate these concepts further to better understand how these processes occur among women participants as well as men’s perspectives and the process of change in these attitudes and behaviors. This qualitative component will explore the mechanisms through which participation in VSLA and Gender Dialogue Groups may impact men’s and families’ perceptions of gender norms and GBV perpetration.

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Prevention and Protection against Gender Based Violence in
Côte d’Ivoire

Project Name Prevention and Protection against Gender Based Violence in Côte d'Ivoire
Location Cote d’Ivoire
Primary Beneficiaries Survivors and those vulnerable to SGBV
Duration March – December 2012
Implementation Partner International Rescue Committee (IRC)

Overview: This initiative aims to: (i) to contribute to prevention of gender based violence (GBV) through supporting and promoting community members (men and women) to take action to prevent violence against women and girls; and (ii) to provide advocacy to contribute to the revision of laws related to women’s rights in the Ivorian legislation.

Rationale: Since 2002, Cote d’Ivoire has experienced civil conflict characterized by cycles of extreme violence and relative calm. Chronic violence and population movement have contributed to social disintegration with persisting reports of human rights abuses particularly against women and girls. Following the disputed results of the November 28th 2010 presidential runoff, the humanitarian situation in the country has deteriorated due to tensions and the breakout of violence that have resulted in population displacements and the unavailability of basic services. Despite a marked improvement in economic governance since May 2011, and the holding of legislative elections in good security conditions in December 2011, the divisions within the security forces carry a risk of violent confrontation – with associated challenges in terms of social cohesion and sense of prolonged insecurity. Indeed, GBV was a defining feature of the recent crisis; reports of sexual violence and violence perpetrated by armed groups were higher among displaced populations, although non-displaced respondents reported a higher incidence of survival sex.

Throughout the country, there are insufficient direct services available for GBV survivors and limited adequately trained professionals who are able to help individuals and families cope with the effects of violence. National systems and structures, including statutory and traditional justice mechanisms, healthcare systems, and social welfare systems, are weak.

IRC is currently implementing a GBV program focusing on prevention, economic and social empowerment, response and advocacy. The program’s current strategy is based around four pillars: prevention, economic and social empowerment, response, and advocacy. While the situation has improved in IRC operational areas, continued support is required to sustain these efforts. Impunity, lack of control of the armed forces and the high number of arms in the communities continue to pose a risk to the safety of women and girls.

Furthermore, social change, especially related to gender, is a long-term process; there is a need to capitalize on the progress towards women’s empowerment and respect for women’s rights through continuous support of behavior-changing activities at various levels and with a range of beneficiaries (from community members to government). Furthermore, recent political instability has meant that activities under the prevention and advocacy components could not be completed.

Project Details: This initiative provides specific support to the prevention and advocacy pillars:

Prevention: This first component will implement a social norm marketing campaign – utilizing traditional marketing techniques to alter perceptions on acceptable attitudes and behaviors in the community. The primary targeted audiences are men aged 18 -25 and women aged 18-35. Secondary targets include media/journalists, public health workers/health providers and police.

The campaign will include the following key elements:

  • Encourage women to report domestic violence to an IRC-approved social center;
  • Encourage men to support women who speak out against violence;
  • Encourage men to speak out against violence they see in their community;
  • Promote social norms that support an intimate partnership as a team, requiring communication, equality, and respect;
  • Promote social norms that encourage men to respect and protect women; and
  • Promote social norms that encourage women to view violence as unacceptable in the home and a danger to their children’s future.

An evaluation of the campaign will study the following:

  • Behavior change: Number of men who report violence and report the IRC campaign as a factor; number of women who report violence and indicate that a man encouraged them to do so and report the IRC campaign as factor; and number of women who report violence and report the IRC campaign as factor.
  • Knowledge: Campaign awareness, determined through a quantitative survey to measure campaign reach and whether knowledge objectives were reached.
  • Social norms: Pre- and post-campaign focus discussions with target groups to discover change in social norms vs. privately held beliefs; qualitative and qualitative surveys which will measure community perceptions, rather than individual beliefs

Advocacy: The second component will finalize the process of revising the Cote d’Ivoire penal code and advocate for its approval. The code was revised in 2010, with IRC having played an active part in the creation of the draft. However, the process was halted due to the post-electoral crisis. With the new government in place, it is a timely opportunity to make rapid progress on finalizing the proposition for submission to parliament. Activities will support IRC to work with the Ministry of Justice to complete this process.  

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