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Violence committed by men against women in intimate relationships is a pervasive problem around the world. Patriarchal norms that place men as the head of household are often to blame. Previous research suggests that trusted authorities can shift perceptions of norms and create behavior change. In many settings, a compelling authority on behavior in relationships is religious leaders, who are influential sources of information about proper conduct in relationships and gatekeepers ofmarriage, but may also uphold traditional gender roles. One way leaders exert their influence is through premarital or couples counseling courses. In this study, we test whether, if given an opportunity to offer a more progressive religious interpretation of gender roles during these courses, religious leaders could motivate men to share power and thereby reduce violence. Building on existing faith networks of Christian religious leaders in western Uganda, we conducted a large pair-matched, randomized controlled trial among 1,680 heterosexual couples in which participants were randomized to attend a 12-session group counseling course or wait-listed. We find that the program shifted power from men to women and reduced intimate partner violence by five percentage points, comparable with more intensive secular programs. These improvements were largest among couples counseled by religious leaders who held the most progressive views at baseline and who critically engaged with the material. Our findings suggest that religious leaders can be effective agents of change for reducing violence.

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Published Paper
Date:
August 11, 2022
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In Liberia, we have continued our global tradition of rigorous, applicable research by building foundational research capacity and generating evidence to reduce poverty and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

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Brief
Date:
April 11, 2022
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The Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) Initiative has launched the fourth round (Fall 2021) of its competitive fund. Proposals are due by 11:59pm EST December 17, 2021. We particularly encourage multidisciplinary teams that include researchers that are from the countries where the field research occurs, and includes researchers with previous gender/IPV experience. Those interested in applying are asked to first read through our funding priorities on our website.

With this call for proposals, IPA solicits proposals from research teams interested in expanding their existing studies to further investigate this important topic. In most cases, we expect to fund studies in which the intervention was not originally intended to target IPV, and the assessment of IPV outcomes were not part of the original study design. However, we will consider funding for the expansion of studies already focused on IPV where there is a unique opportunity to add novel insights. Thematically, there is particular interest in women’s economic productivity and labor market engagement; the most effective “plus” programs for “cash plus” activities; couples counseling and mental health support from paraprofessionals; partner selection and “dating violence”; and adolescent mentorship and soft skills training programs. However, we will be happy to consider a broader range of interventions so long as the research studies are ethically designed and there is a plausible theoretical basis for why we would expect to see changes in IPV. Examples of projects that received funding in previous rounds can be found here.

The application materials for this call for proposals are:

Please contact the IPV Initiative team with any questions.

Type:
Research Resource
Date:
November 05, 2021
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Over the last five years, there has been increasing interest from global stakeholders in the relationship between cash transfers and gender-based violence, and in particular, intimate partner violence (IPV). Interest has grown both within the development and humanitarian spaces, although empirical research is mainly concentrated in the former. A mixed-method review paper published in 2018 found that, across 22 quantitative or qualitative studies in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs), the majority (73%) showed that cash decreased IPV; however, two studies showed mixed effects, and several others showed heterogeneous impacts (Buller et al. 2018). A more recent meta-analysis of 14 experimental and quasiexperimental cash transfer studies found average decreases in physical/sexual IPV (4 percentage points (pp)), emotional IPV (2 pp), and controlling behaviors (4 pp) (Baranov et al. 2021). A feature of this literature is the high representation of evaluations from Latin America, primarily government conditional cash transfer programs. In addition, programming was generally focused on poverty-related objectives, and none of the programming was explicitly designed to affect IPV or violence outcomes more broadly.

Type:
Report
Date:
July 07, 2021
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Durante la pandemia del COVID-19 la mayoría de países en el mundo establecieron medidas de confinamiento domiciliario. Estas medidas, aunque efectivas contra la propagación del virus, han tenido consecuencias no deseadas sobre la convivencia en los hogares. Según la OCDE (2020), las niñas y mujeres corren un mayor riesgo de sufrir violencia durante períodos de cuarentena obligatoria debido a la falta de personas o recursos que normalmente pueden ayudarlas a prevenir o enfrentar situaciones violentas. Pasar más tiempo en casa y la inestabilidad económica y laboral son otros factores de riesgo en este contexto.

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Brief
Date:
April 19, 2021
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The COVID-19 pandemic is an unprecedented global challenge that has affected the health and livelihood of billions worldwide. Citizens of low-income countries have been affected by the pandemic in nearly all areas of life, and the impacts have been particularly challenging for those with limited access to social safety nets. Bangladesh is especially susceptible to the negative economic impacts of the pandemic due to its strong ties to the global economy, and these negative demand shocks are likely to persist throughout and after the pandemic.

Researchers conducted two rounds of phone surveys in July 2020 and December 2020 with 3,125 vulnerable households with children across seven regions of Bangladesh. Across the two rounds of surveys, we find that the negative economic impacts of the COVID-19pandemic have persisted at least six months after the lifting of the general economic lockdown at the end of May 2020. Collectively, these findings point to several areas of need for vulnerable households, particularly in the area of education, mental health, and gender-based violence.

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Type:
Brief
Date:
March 24, 2021

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