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Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Response

Gender-based violence (GBV) is a serious public health issue for individuals all over the world, and it is often perpetuated due to harmful cultural practices and social norms, as well as conflict and instability. Sustained and effective interventions are critical to address, reduce, and one day eliminate GBV. Since 2011, WI-HER has partnered with governments, health facilities and providers, and communities to identify the root causes of GBV and enabled individuals, through our innovative iDARE methodology, to design solutions to prevent and respond to GBV. Today, we are established leaders and preferred partners in improving the identification, care, treatment, and prevention of GBV. 
Our approach
WI-HER works with implementing partners, governments, and communities by providing the tools necessary to respond to and prevent GBV. This often involves identifying community attitudes that perpetuate violence and working directly with healthcare providers to optimize their capacity to provide, for example, trauma-informed care. 
Our services
The WI-HER team: 
  • Conducts on-site and virtual mentoring and training visits, including assistance in cascading training to local organizations and communities.
  • Applies iDARE methodology to engage and support governments, providers, and local communities to identify the GBV risk factors and barriers to essential care and services and to design and implement locally-led solutions. This often involves designing and providing tools to respond to GBV.
  • Implements grants under contract mechanisms to support local organizations to develop comprehensive packages related to GBV care, treatment, and prevention and train healthcare workers.
  • Engages in the community through advocacy and sensitization and supports local partners, civil society organizations, and community-based organizations in their efforts to address and prevent GBV. 
  • Strengthens the capacity of government focal points to engage with communities, including youth, to inform strengthened services and advocate for sensitive and responsive care. 
Examples of our Impact 
Nigeria: Led by the Palladium Group, the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP) is a $250 million project (2018–2024) with the overall goal of improving service delivery and strengthening health systems in reproductive health/family planning, maternal, newborn, adolescent, and child health (MNCH); nutrition; and malaria. IHP supports five states: Ebonyi, Bauchi, Kebbi, Sokoto, and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). Three of the five states are located in northern Nigeria and are considered complex and challenging areas to work in, with high levels of GBV and child and early marriages. 
WI-HER, a subcontractor to the Palladium Group, is the lead partner in providing healthcare workers with the tools to respond to GBV and integrate gender equity, youth, and social inclusion across all IHP technical areas. In Nigeria, the barriers presented by gender norms require the transformation of community attitudes and behavior. Girls are often coerced into unwanted sex or marriage, putting them at a higher risk of unwanted pregnancies, dangerous childbirth, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections, and HIV. They also face barriers to accessing reproductive health information and psychosocial services. 
Through IHP, WI-HER oversees a grants under contract mechanism to support local organizations to provide a comprehensive package of GBV prevention, care, and treatment activities. WI-HER works at the facility level, through multiple on-site mentoring visits, to strengthen healthcare provider capacity to identify and document GBV cases, provide trauma-informed care, and refer survivors to other available social services. As a public health problem, GBV services do not end at the healthcare facility. Our teams also actively engage with the broader community through advocacy and sensitization activities. WI-HER has worked closely with local governments to establish and build the capacity of Gender and Youth Desk Officers (GYDOs) and Gender and Youth Ambassadors (GYAs), who champion behavioral change in the health sector. Through advocacy training and gender-responsive outreach, youth and community influencers are better equipped to mentor their peers and build awareness on, for example, GBV prevention and awareness support services. Read more about WI-HER’s contributions to USAID IHP here.
Rwanda: Rwanda is a success story in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The USAID Adolescents and Children HIV Incidence Reduction, Empowerment, and Virus Elimination (ACHIEVE) Project (2020-2025) is a five-year global effort to reach Rwanda’s most vulnerable to HIV infection—pregnant and breastfeeding women, adolescents, infants, and children. As a subcontractor to PACT, WI-HER leads the implementation of the project’s gender strategy. This involves mainstreaming gender across the community health system to account for gender, cultural, or social disparities that hinder healthcare access. These barriers result in high rates of GBV that contribute to the spread of HIV infections. 
WI-HER mainstreams gender at the national and community level. In addition, WI-HER leads gender integration and transformation and primary and secondary GBV prevention to strengthen the community health system response to HIV/AIDS. WI-HER is working with and building the capacity of local partners, DUHAMIC-ADRI and YWCA Rwanda, to better respond to GBV; develop their own organizational gender, anti-harassment, and GBV policies; and create Standard Operating Procedures for GBV Case Management. 
Low- and Middle-Income Countries: Led by University Research Co., LLC, USAID’s Applying Science to Strengthen and Improve Systems (ASSIST) project (2012-2019) applied improvement science to enhance service delivery for better health outcomes in low- and middle-income countries. WI-HER led GESI integration across the project, supporting local partners and community-based organizations to improve their data collection and analysis and integrate gender into the planning and implementation of improvement activities across several health activities and settings. WI-HER worked with hard-to-reach populations, including youth, adolescent girls and young women, internally displaced people, and refugees, on GBV prevention, access to education and healthcare, and behavior change by designing locally-led solutions to overcome barriers to access.
Additionally, under ASSIST, WI-HER conducted onsite gender integration in quality improvement training in several countries and, as a part of that training, led the integration of GBV as a topic area and focus, including in Nicaragua, Lesotho, and Uganda. WI-HER also played an essential role in identifying data-driven solutions for emerging threats to the health system, such as Zika. For example, WI-HER trained program staff and counterparts in developing contextually appropriate assessment protocols and data collection instruments, planning for and obtaining ethical approval, and facilitating key informant interviews at every health system level, which informed internal program learning, externally guided ASSIST capacity-strengthening activities, and the creation of a Gender Action Plan. Importantly, WI-HER ensured Gender Action Plans considered GBV as a potential risk as a part of programmatic approaches that worked towards outcomes around successful condom negotiation and use. 
Kenya: Under the USAID-funded HIV Service Delivery Support Activity (HSDSA – also known as Afya Nyota ya Bonde) Cluster 2 (2018-2022) led by FHI360, WI-HER worked to improve GBV healthcare service delivery in areas of high incidences of sexual and gender-based violence during the peak of the global COVID-19 pandemic. WIHER helped facilities establish community-driven iDARE teams to identify barriers in GBV identification and management and co-designed solutions, including an effective referral system for victims, to address existing gaps and strengthen GBV service delivery in eight facilities. To increase collaboration and coordination efforts in GBV response, WI-HER also helped facilities link with existing governmental, private, and donor-funded programs that support GBV survivors.
Fiji: Climate change in the South Pacific has caused people to lose their land and livelihoods. The USAID-funded Gender-based Violence (GBV) and REDD+ in Fiji: Tackling Resource Conflict and Addressing Gender-based Risk in the Environment (2019-2022) under the Resilient, Inclusive, and Sustainable Environments (RISE) grant challenge is a partnership between WI-HER and Marstel-Day, a leader in natural resource management and environmental consulting services. In Fiji, Marstel-Day developed a Feedback Grievances and Redress Mechanism (FGRM), a promising conflict and dispute resolution framework. Marstel-Day and its Fijian partner organizations took the framework further by integrating WI-HER’s innovative iDARE methodology to better understand and address conflict and inequities through a GESI lens. Following an analysis, with WI-HER’s support, 
the team developed an adapted FGRM+ that responds to Gender Based Risks (GBR), which integrated steps into GBR case management and embedded linkages to existing resources in Fiji for GBV services. The updated FGRM+ drove a new communication strategy to guide the government in raising awareness and advocating for the use of the FGRM+ among communities, stakeholders, and government representatives on the risks of GBV. The team actively engaged environmental and resource management stakeholders and other civil society organizations (CSOs) that worked in GBR and GBV. The updated process reflected their input, facilitating community ownership and increased awareness of the new program. 
Click here to read more from our latest annual report.

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