“Community Conversations at Mamandor Community, Tonkolili” Photo by Concern

Community approach to GBV

The work of the Irish Consortium on Gender Based Violence is generally focused on humanitarian response: less has been done about the prevalence of GBV in more stable environments. Many countries have a high level of acceptance of violence against women and girls. Those experiencing it have little or no support or services available to them. To discuss this, in June 2009 we held an event called Gender Based Violence Learning Day: Effective Responses to GBV.

This Learning Brief covers the issues raised at that event:

How do I design a programme to tackle Gender Based Violence?

  • Approach sexual violence as a community issue – it affects everyone.
  • Set an appropriate and achievable timeframe for the programme.
  • Take some time to analyse what needs to be done.
  • Have one easy-to-articulate objective that includes everyone, eg ‘a safer community for all’.
  • Identify project partners – we are stronger when we work together.
  • Work closely with local partners. Be sure to involve both male and female staff.
  • Involving men is important, but the priority is on supporting women and girls.
  • Find ways in which you can promote, scale up or replicate what you are doing in other communities.

What can I put in place to help the process succeed?

  • Be clear about your working methods: examples to guide you through the process include theirc.org and www.raisingvoices.org/publications.php
  • Focus on community ownership: change must come from within the community, it cannot be imposed.
  • Access funding and resources: this includes people, materials and money.
  • Get support: you need ongoing support from legal and national sources as well as the community.
  • Invest in the project: guidance and investment in people and resources is vital for long-term success.
  • Monitor and evaluate to track your progress and impact within the community.

What implementation issues should I be aware of?

  • Use different ways to get people involved: use different channels to get the attention of men and women.
  • Entry points to a community come from different sources, eg religious leaders, teachers, etc.
  • Begin at grassroots: If no local services exist to address GBV, you must begin within families, through discussions with health service workers etc.
  • Be practical: campaigns that raise awareness are useful but don’t do enough. Practical solutions are necessary. Hold people accountable for their actions.
  • Change must be forever: positive change must be embedded into the community if it is to take hold.

Teach your community that GBV will not be tolerated and that perpetrators will be challenged.

There is no easy, one-size-fits-all solution to rape and sexual violence.

A series of clear and integrated approaches that work with and within the community will create the best opportunities for change.


Download the full learning brief