Globally, violence against women is a leading cause of premature death and morbidity for women. Almost one-third of women report experiencing intimate partner violence (IPV) or sexual violence by a non-partner at some point in their life, and nearly 40 percent of all homicides of women are committed by an intimate partner.
Despite the scope of the problem, little is known about how to reduce IPV, and the evidence that exists has not revealed the underlying mechanisms that work and why. Many of the existing programs are very broad in scope, and most evaluations of these programs have not “unpacked” their various components. Innovative methods for IPV reduction are needed to address this pervasive problem.
In addition to a lack of evidence about what works, accurately measuring IPV and related outcomes is often challenging. Research is needed to validate existing tools, standardize best practices, and to test innovative approaches that may improve measurement.
To address these challenges and facilitate progress in reducing IPV globally, Innovations for Poverty Action has partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to launch a joint IPV initiative. Under the research leadership of Jeannie Annan and collaboration of other affiliated researchers, the initiative will work across several fronts to:
- Design and test innovative solutions and scale the ones that work.
- Identify underlying mechanisms influencing IPV.
- Address methodological and measurement challenges in violence research and its related fields.
IPA and the IRC are jointly conducting the initial scoping work in Liberia, a country with relatively high levels of IPV, and where both IPA and the IRC have a field presence.
The work in Liberia consists of:
- An initial piloting phase to design and identify innovation solutions worth testing with a full-scale impact evaluation.
- Implementation of innovative ideas: testing and refining them on a small scale.
In addition, the initiative is working both to substantially increase the evidence on IPV and to help spur innovation in the sector. With a competitive fund, we are working with researchers to leverage existing IPA studies to investigate IPV outcomes. We are also advising researchers on how to conduct violence research ethically.
In the first round of the competitive fund, we supported additional data collection on six projects, enabling researchers to measure whether the interventions reduce the prevalence of intimate partner violence, in addition to the outcomes already being researched. The approaches range from cognitive behavioral therapy to conditional and unconditional cash grants, to financial education for women through a tablet-based app:
- Incentives for Seasonal Migration and Food Security in Bangladesh
- Tablet-Based Financial Education in Colombia
- Comparing Livelihood Approaches for the Ultra-Poor in Ghana
- Prosoli Conditional Cash Transfers in the Dominican Republic
- Educate! Evaluating a holistic entrepreneurship and leadership development program in Uganda
- Cash Transfers and Mental Models in Kenya