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News & Blogs2019-09-24T06:57:57+00:00
1112, 2019

Join WI-HER in supporting ILO C190

By Kelly Dale, Gender Specialist Yesterday was the last of the 16 days of activism against gender-based violence, WI-HER calls on legislators and policy members to step up and fulfill their global commitments to prevent and adequately respond to violence. Step up with legal protections for women. Step up with laws that criminalize violence against women and children. We know that violence against women is an injustice and a breach of women’s basic rights. Yet in over 40 countries around the world, domestic violence is not against the law. Fortunately, as seen in the figure below, there has been a major increase in the establishment of national laws against various forms of violence over the last decade. But progress cannot happen fast enough. Women’s rights movements and campaigns, including #MeToo, NiUnaMenos, and SheDecides among others, efforts have been instrumental in driving legal reform. A recent report from the High-level Group on Justice for Women put it well: “Across the globe, women’s demands for accountability for violations and abuses have gained greater attention than ever before. This is a watershed moment for gender equality, with campaigns and movements worldwide…with women’s marches, local and national-level agitation, and many governments and corporations underlining their commitment to change.” Do laws even matter? The short answer is yes. According to forthcoming analysis by Klugman and Li, laws are key to violence prevention and response due to their ability to both establish and reinforce social norms. They found that the existence of a law specifically against domestic violence is associated with a 3.7 percent lower rate of intimate partner violence (IPV), which is the most common form of violence against women. Their analysis of 84 countries reveals that specific legislation against IPV not only reduces the rate of violence but also reinforces the impact of other laws related to gender equality. Furthermore, a recent World Bank report shows that women are more likely to tolerate abuse when there are fewer legal provisions to protect them. So how can we improve legislation?  As seen above, legislation against sexual harassment in the workplace has lagged behind domestic violence legislation; and as we know, even in countries with such laws in place, sexual harassment in the workplace is pervasive. Many of the recent women’s rights movements have focused on sexual harassment in the workplace, shedding light on the need to fundamentally transform the power structures and discriminatory norms that enable such harassment to take place and to go unchecked. This year, as part of the 16 days of activism, activists are demanding the ratification and implementation of “ILO C190” which recognizes GBV in the world of work as a global concern and a violation of women’s basic human rights. This historic and legally binding Convention also lays out minimum standards to prevent, identify, and provide redress in cases of GBV in the world of work. You can learn more about the Convention and campaign, here. WI-HER is proud to join the movement in calling for the ratification of ILO [...]

512, 2019

Building Capacity for Research: Announcing WI-HER’s Desk Review Development Training

By: Maddison Hall When I joined WI-HER in the Fall of 2018, I had just returned to school as a Master of Public Health candidate in the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. I immediately began working on country-level desk reviews as part of the USAID ASSIST Project, and I continued to write and contribute to a variety of desk reviews spanning a range of topics during the year. I had undertaken research projects in my undergraduate studies and had gathered evidence to develop programs in my career before returning to school, but I had not ever completed a desk review. My mentors at WI-HER guided me through the process, providing feedback and support as I learned to identify appropriate resources and build the evidence I acquired into a cohesive written format. […]

2511, 2019

News/Press Release:  Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act Stakeholder Sensitization Meeting Success Ahead of 2019 16 Days Celebrations, Bauchi, Nigeria

November 22, 2019 By Helen John, IHP Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi State, Nigeria and Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC Participants at VAPP Stakeholder Sensitization Meeting pose for group photograph. Photo Credit: Max Photos Sixty-three (63) Bauchi State lawyers, representatives Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs), traditional and religious leaders, NGO representatives, and members of the media joined the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP), lead gender partner WI-HER, LLC, and IKRA Foundation for Women and Youth Development on November 21, 2019 at the High Court Complex to discuss violence in the State and support the domestication of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition (VAPP) Act. The VAPP Act, passed by Nigeria’s National government in 2015, is an improvement on the penal and criminal code in relation to violence. It resulted from the need for protection of persons against the different forms of violence and applies to violence at home, in society, and in private and public spheres. Further, the VAPP Act expands definitions of violence to include acts against men and boys, and also provides protection for victims/survivors of violence and punishment for offenders. As part of IHP’s activities in Bauchi State – which contributes to State-level reductions in child and maternal morbidity and mortality – IHP works to strengthen State-level policies and practices. Strong collaboration with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs, the Social Welfare Department and the Judiciary, and other actors contributed to pulling together Stakeholders to discuss the VAPP Act and the success of the Meeting. IHP Gender Advisor, Helen John, makes presentation at the VAPP sensitization meeting. Photo Credit: Max Photos More than 50% of Meeting participants were not aware of the VAPP Act prior to the gathering. With that, the Meeting provided the space to hear about violence trends in the State (which is on the rise!), examine ways in which violence influences health, understand the current legal landscape and reflect on its inclusiveness, and learn about the VAPP Act and discuss what can be done at State level. During the Meeting, Stakeholders provided the following recommendations to facilitate the domestication and passage of the VAPP Act: Involve different interest groups to ensure the VAPP Act takes different interests in Bauchi State into consideration. Publicize the VAPP Act through other means such as the media, traditional and religious leaders, and grassroot NGOs to understand the provisions of the Act so there is less resistance to laws that are made to protect them. Use data and evidence of cases of violence in the State in presentations to further drive home the need for the speedy passage of the Act by the legislators. Promote that the VAPP Act also consider the rehabilitation of offenders, not just victims. Collaborate with Hausa singers to publicize the VAPP Act through songs. A success is raising awareness of the VAPP Act, the Stakeholder’s Meeting is timely against the backdrop of the international-recognized 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence campaign which runs from November 25 (International [...]

2511, 2019

The impact of shame

By: Kelly Dale, Gender Specialist Research on gender-based violence (GBV) during humanitarian crises, including intimate partner violence (IPV) and forced child marriage, often focuses on women. This research presents women as victims of war and displacement who need protecting from their male family members or foreign humanitarian aid workers.[i] It often presents men as patriarchal perpetuators of violence, and too often ignores the issues of male roles and masculinities all together. This narrative contributes to the demonization of men and marginalization of women. It strips women of their agency and does not allow for a deeper understanding of why men are more likely to perpetuate violence during conflict or following displacement. Globally, rates of GBV are higher in these contexts due to a range of factors, including trauma, poverty, stress, lower self-esteem, and early exposure to violence, which conflict and forced migration increase –be this from the crisis itself or the social and economic consequences–resulting in negative coping behaviors and a higher propensity for violence. This in part stems from perpetrators’ sense of insecurity, powerlessness, or shame due to inability to meet certain economic and social norms attributed to men.[ii] […]

2111, 2019

Monitoring and Measuring Social Accountability: What does inclusiveness look like?

Allison Annette Foster, Thumbiko Msiska, and Marleen Vellekoop.  November 20, 2019 Napoleão Bernardes, popular two-time mayor of Blumenau Brazil, opened the annual GPSA Forum 2019 this week. Speaking to a full house of global participants at the World Bank meeting hall, Mr. Bernades challenged social accountability advocates to see Social accountability as part of good governance. Social Accountability, he proposed, brings empathy into policy and creates the space for governments and civil society to meet around the same table.  This process enhances transparency and accountability, which enables governments improve the quality and accessibility of public services. Our group of practitioners and researchers are a part of a community of practice around SA that have been working together to achieve just that: an institutionalized system of social accountability that raises excluded voices to be heard by decision makers and to influence policies that improve services and advance equity. Our team of researchers[1] and development practitioners explore how  social accountability actually works. We are asking questions that will be important for sustainability, self-reliance and transparency: What does accountability look like in a sustainable context? How we will monitor progress, recognize gaps and opportunities for improvement, ensure inclusiveness, and measure success? What kind of indicators can capture or reflect and track inclusiveness, meaningful participation, and power shifts? In an interactive session on the first day of the Forum[2], our team shared our recent work to increase inclusion in health system decisions and health service improvements. Mr. Thumbiko Msiska of CARE|Malawi presented a case study of his experience in Malawi introducing social accountability through various approaches  and highlighted the successes and challenges faced as Malawi partners aim to scale SA practices. Marleen Vellekoop of Options and Allison Annette Foster of WI-HER, LLC shared recent works from Ligia Paina et al[3] and Adriana Martin-Hilber et al[4], and demonstrated an accountability framework that has been the basis of a monitoring tool that is currently being used to integrate monitoring into the accountability process. That framework is also being adapted to help governments assess their own state or national programs for effectiveness and inclusiveness. The session brought about a rich discussion with participants from DRC, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Malawi, USA, Cambodia, Indonesia, Senegal, Cameroon, Dominican Republic and other countries. All session participants agreed that monitoring progress in social accountability is difficult because accountability initiatives are often abstract and complex, existing of dynamic interactions between social actors. Nevertheless, monitoring and evaluating efforts to increase accountability are essential to better understand the effectiveness of accountability interventions.  In particular, discussions among representatives called for the following to improve inclusiveness in governance: As social accountability programs are institutionalized, there needs to be a sustained practice of bringing excluded voices to the center of decision making. More learning is needed on how the inclusion of marginalized groups is achieved. Although inclusion is the focus of social accountability interventions, our M&E practices are not always inclusive. Complex M&E tools and technologies can sometimes present barriers to SA intervention beneficiaries so that they are [...]

1911, 2019

Family Planning Commodities Donation Makes Splash at National Obstetrics Fistula Center, Ningi, Nigeria

By Helen John, IHP Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi State, Nigeria and Morgan Mickle, Gender Specialist, WI-HER, LLC “This is actually a partnership that works. We were thinking after the fistula consultation meeting held, that will be all, but we were proved wrong. This donation wouldn’t have come at a better time because the Center is out of stock”. – Dr. Umar Nasiru Ibrahim, Managing Director of the Ningi National Obstetrics Fistula Center Fistula Advisory Committee Chair presents donated family planning commodities to Ningi National Obstetrics Fistula Center Managing Director In September 2019, the USAID-funded Integrated Health Program (IHP) and lead gender and social inclusion partner WI-HER, LLC supported the first Fistula Technical Consultation Meeting in Bauchi State out of which was formed the Advisory Committee on Fistula in Bauchi State. One of the roles of the Advisory Committee is resource mobilization for fistula prevention, care, support, and rehabilitation. […]

1110, 2019

International Day of the Girl Child 2019 Theme: GirlForce: Unscripted and unstoppable

By Helen John, Gender, Social Inclusion, and Community Engagement Advisor, Bauchi-Nigeria “You were meant to be a queen Even though you are hidden behind the curtain, your majesty, the world awaits your ascension oh do not fear, grab your rod, your symbol of authority with a smile and rule Because you are unscripted, unstoppable!” Okwy Obu is a writer Girls enjoy camp activities. Photo Credit: Kelly Dale who resides in Enugu, Nigeria […]

910, 2019

A Ray of Hope for a Fistula-free Society

A Ray of Hope for a Fistula-free Society By Morgan Mickle and Allison Annette Foster Gesse VVF Center, Birnin-Kebbi, Kebbi State, Nigeria. Photo Credit: Morgan Mickle Dr. Abubakar met us at the door dressed in traditional Kebbi dress and a warm smile that says ‘Sannun ku’ or ‘welcome’ in Kebbi’s Hausa language. Immediately, we noticed the nicely painted walls, the clean floors, and the organized well-equipped rooms. Dr. Abubakar is the Chief Medical Director of the Gesse VVF (Vesico-Vaginal Fistula) Center, located in Birnin-Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State, Nigeria. Dr. Abubakar has a vision of a society where there is no fistula. More importantly, he sees a world where all people have access to quality care is the norm, and each individual is treated with honor and respect. His commitment is to those most vulnerable – Women. Marginalized. Poor. […]

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