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#svrifieldbuilders Leading The Way In Evidence Building And Knowledge Sharing (1)

As 2024 gains momentum, and we prepare for the rapidly approaching SVRI Forum, we have been reflecting on the highlights of the last year in terms of evidence building and sharing this knowledge through  webinars, podcasts and blogs.

SVRI Webinars

We had a brilliant response to several of our webinars this year. The field of violence against women (VAW) and violence against children (VAC) research is moving fast and it has been a privilege to play a role in ensuring that new ideas, solutions and knowledge are shared and made accessible to the broader field. There is a tremendous appetite for learning and webinars focused on tools and measurements, methodologies, and ethical and innovative ways to do things, have especially garnered a great response.

Our top attended Webinar for 2023 was Measuring Intimate Partner Violence: Innovative ways to select outcome measures for impact evaluations. In this webinar Sangeeta Chatterji, and Christopher Boyer, Co-authors of ‘Optimizing the Construction of Outcome Measures for Impact Evaluations of Intimate Partner Violence Prevention Interventions’ discussed, with an expert panel, how nuanced outcome measurements can be used to paint a more complete picture about the effectiveness of interventions. They explained how introducing secondary measures, beyond the binary measure of ‘any vs no physical or sexual violence’ can help us identify impacts such as reductions in the severity and types of violence. Whilst this use of nuanced measures is complicated and challenging, there are real benefits for researchers who can learn from this study with its many implications in terms of how interventions are evaluated.

These are really an important set of papers….All of these outcomes better reflect the multi-dimensional meaningful changes in women’s lives so it really accommodates a view that we care about all of these improvements and changes and we as researchers should not be imposing our pre-conceived ideals that the only thing  [to] care about is no violence or zero violence … ~ (Amber Peterman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill)

The issue of outcomes, in terms of listening to women in communities about types of violence and levels of severity that they wanted addressed as part of an intervention, was also highlighted at another very popular webinar of 2023. During Co-developing interventions to address VAWG: Practical insights from 5 projects, researchers discussed and unpacked the Co-development framework[1] – wherein communities are equal partners from the initiation of a research project and design and development is highly dependent on the voice, self-reflection and lived experience of the participants. Researchers across five projects highlighted how this process of co-development varies across different settings but is always complex and challenging, raising questions about power and balancing different forms of knowledge as well as sincerely trying to create receptive listening spaces and voice for impacted communities.

We really had to let go of assumptions that we held strongly about how knowledge was produced, like representative survey samples and network research, and instead had to sit patiently and work with a group of four young women as they slowly disclosed elements of their lives that would help us all understand better and create something like a solution to the problem of intimate partner violence. ~ (Laura Washington, Project Empower)

Similar themes though from a different perspective were highlighted in the webinar that launched the SVRI /COFEM report- Feminist Research on Violence against Women in Humanitarian and Development Settings:  A Snapshot of Best Practices and Challenges’. One of our top 3 attended webinars of 2023, the discussions highlighted the key challenges related to conducting feminist research in humanitarian settings including the difficulty of providing safe spaces, the risks of trauma for survivors and researchers, ethical dilemmas, and the continued challenge of having outsider knowledge prioritised over local knowledge.

“Consider the ethical implications of participation in the research project in all its constituent phases from the development of the research question to the writing up of the final report. Good practice includes the involvement of those being researched in deciding on research questions and   methods as well as in giving feedback on findings.”  ~ (Executive Summary)

 

SVR Podcast

In service to the field,  the Sexual Violence Research (SVR) podcast provides a platform for our network of researchers, activists, practitioners, and donors to discuss the complex issues they are grappling with as they work towards a collective vision of reducing violence against women and violence against children globally. During these conversations we find ourselves constantly inspired by the expertise and creativity that the field applies to how to do things better, not only in terms of doing great research but also in terms of who we are and how we treat each other within the field.

In that regard, one of the most downloaded podcasts of 2023, the final episode of season 2- explored the concept of ‘collective care’ – the practice of taking responsibility for the wellbeing of each other, as individuals and as a community. With our guests, Natsnet Ghebrebrhan, Director, VAW Prevention Team Director at Raising Voices, and Jean Kemitare, Programmes Director at Urgent Action Fund Africa we discussed the importance of integrating collective care into our organisations, what this can look like, and what the future holds.

Change starts from within us…the essence of collective care is about intentions and actions towards caring for each other. ~ (Natsnet Ghebrebrhan, Raising Voices)

Another top 3 of 2023, was the Role of Climate Change in Violence Against Women. In this episode, we discussed why women are so disproportionately affected by climate related natural disasters and how women in some regions of the world are more impacted than others. Our guests, Aimée-Noël Mbiyozo, Senior Research Consultant at the Institute for Security Studies in Pretoria, South Africa, and Jeanne Ward, an internationally recognised expert on violence against women together considered some of the challenges of researching the effects of climate change on women and how governments and humanitarian organisations should be adapting their climate responses to include the impacts of violence against women.

Climate creates these chronic and acute stressors which can exacerbate or amplify GBV risks for women and girls such as poverty and personal and community conflict. ~ (Jeanne Ward, Global Consultant on Addressing VAWG in Humanitarian and Development Settings)

A constant driver for all of us in the field is how to ensure that research leads to meaningful change. In ‘Research for Impact’, we discussed research uptake and how the planning and funding for it needs to be a priority.  Our guests Ana Flávia d´Oliveira, researcher working at the University of São Paulo, and Diana Arango, Gender-Based Violence global lead for the World Bank Group, explored how to go about doing that including putting together an effective impact strategy. They also discussed positive example of projects within which research impact has been achieved.

The demand is growing for research, for evidence-based interventions. Conversations that are backed by solid evidence. Opportunities to grow the evidence. And for that reason, I am optimistic. ~ (Diana Arango, World Bank)

 

SVRI Blog

In the SVRI blog, we attempt to provide a space and opportunities to share, discuss, and debate: the “how to” of doing great research, programmes, and advocacy and we invite blogs on a wide range of issues to help individuals share their ideas and experiences with the broader world. We really value the way blogs can illuminate voices from different regions providing personal nuance and detail that is an advantage of this form. For instance, we published personal and affecting reflections by Gloria Seruwagi, addressing the invisibility, violence and exclusion experienced by young women with disabilities in humanitarian settings in the East and Horn of Africa.

Sometimes it is difficult to access people, for example people with disability or adolescents in hard-to-reach areas …. Do researchers even “see” me? And if they don’t “see” me, how can they bring the data to me, or [data] about me to others? ~ (Anisie Byukusenge, Gender and Rights Advocate)

From Asia, a blog by Anis Farid, addressed a survey on public attitudes and perceptions to determine Malaysians’ beliefs and understandings on gender equality and VAW. She explored the link between a society’s attitudes and how it ultimately impacts survivors, with examples drawn from survivor interviews.

At SVRI we consistently advocate for increased research to be supported and funded in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), led by LMIC researchers but we also acknowledge and try to address the obstacles, beyond funding, that get in the way. In our last blog published in 2023, the authors (Dartnall, Homan, Lalor and Undie) discussed the inequities and barriers that researchers in LMICs face in accessing and benefiting from ethical review processes. Drawing on their experiences as researchers and research facilitators in the fields of VAW and VAC in LMIC contexts, they made recommendations for improved research supports and infrastructure.

We are inspired by the innovation, creativity and depth of the work we are seeing in the field. We hope that you will stand with us, follow us and engage with us as we continue to provide space and resources for researchers, practitioners, funders and others to exchange skills, knowledge, expertise, tools, and processes that help the field to build, share, and use evidence and knowledge to better respond to and prevent violence against women and violence against children everywhere.

Written by Ayesha Mago, SVRI Global Advocacy Director

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[1] Andrew Gibbs, Laura Washington, Jenevieve Mannell, Jane Ndungu and Rochelle Burgess.

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