Our Perspectives

The lessons from the ground on Gender-based Violence


girls from QenaGirls from Qena where the whole community has joined forces to end FGM. Photo credit: Jose Sanchez/UNDP

To commemorate this year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, our innovation lab in Egypt will work with young people to develop an IT application that helps victims report cases of gender-based violence (GBV). The space offered to these young champions of the GBV cause is just one of many examples of how social innovation is providing solutions to tackle and prevent violence.  

Across the world, similar bottom-up initiatives pick new angles to address GBV. In Uganda, the organization Raising Voices has developed an ambitious project called SASA! It explains to social activists  what power means, both its positive and negative uses, and has successfully reduced community tolerance of GBV. In Azerbaijan, an  organization for gender equality explores different cultural values –what they call “national values”- that can help raise awareness about the need to reduce GBV.

Many of these initiatives focus on making the voices of the people heard. Also in Uganda, the Manya Human Rights International Film Festival is providing film training for marginalized women so that they can tell their own stories through documentaries. As the UN-led consultations on the Post-2015 agenda have shown, people who participated in the discussions care and are willing to commit around efforts to reduce violence. These voices have fed into the ongoing intergovernmental negotiations on the new set goals and targets that will guide the development agenda after 2015.

Another area where innovative initiatives are helping address the gaps at the global policy level is the production and analysis of data around GBV. For example, the Global Network of Women Peacebuilders elaborated a very comprehensive set of indicators to capture progress in countries implementing the Resolution 1325 , which is the frame to work on gender issues in conflict-affected settings. This is helpful for decision-making purposes in the selected countries and it feeds into the global discussion about the type of indicators needed to ensure accountability on the implementation of the Resolution. It is also building capacities locally to produce quality data.    

In a critical year in terms of policy at the multilateral level, bottom-up examples of prevention and elimination of GBV can inspire the Member States to make better decisions. In a topic usually associated with heavy normative and top down approaches, social innovation is becoming an increasing source of solutions and inspiration.


Gender equality Sexual and gender-based violence Women's empowerment Egypt Innovation

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