Tag Archives: Policy

  “Selling food Tangail,Bangladesh” Photo by Christian Aid Ireland

Millennium Development Goal 1 (Poverty & Hunger)

What is Millennium Goal 1?

The Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions, in order to meet the needs of the poorest and least developed countries. MDG 1 is to eradicate extreme poverty and hunger, by:

  • Halving, between 1990 and 2015, the proportion of people whose income is less than $1 a day; and the proportion of people who suffer from hunger.
  • Achieving full and productive employment and decent work for all.

What is the relationship between poverty, GBV and MDG 1?

According to the World Health Organisation, GBV affects one in three women globally. Despite its close links to poverty, to date GBV programmes have tended to focus on health and legal issues rather than food security. Deep-rooted gender inequalities in the distribution of power, resources and responsibilities are creating a spiral of poverty, GBV and food insecurity. Alongside the global rise in food prices and the debt crisis, this is putting the achievement of MDG 1 under severe pressure.

How does GBV impact on…

  • Household food security: Where it is the woman’s role to provide food, GBV creates a loss of productivity. Violence often results in direct costs to access health or legal services. Using money in this way means less for food.
  • Education and work: Violence leads to lower productivity, absenteeism, lower levels of education, and often lower earnings by survivors of violence.
  • Health: The physical and mental health issues some women experience as a result of GBV can have a serious negative impact on their ability to work. GBV is risk factor for HIV, which also impacts on household food security.
  • Carer roles: It affects the capacity to care for children, the sick and the elderly.
  • Land rights: Widows or those negotiating rights and access can be at risk of GBV.

What can we learn from case studies?

IMAGE Programme, South Africa: This programme showed how a combination of microfinance and training interventions can reduce levels of GBV and the risk of HIV and AIDS. Topics covered included gender roles, cultural beliefs, relationships, communication, GBV, and HIV. It aimed to strengthen communication skills, critical thinking, and leadership. It encouraged wider community mobilisation to engage young people and men, and used creative ways to engage chiefs and leaders. After two years instances of GBV were reduced by 55%. This inclusive, holistic approach shows how possible it is to make a difference for the most vulnerable groups.

Farmer Field Schools, Northern Uganda: Developed by the Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to focus on production, financial and life skills in the short and medium term. In a neutral setting, men and women can discuss and design programmes as peers. GBV is introduced as one of a number of special topics that affect households, rather than discussed as a single issue. This project made a positive difference in the areas of social, human, financial and physical capital. It demonstrated that food and income security have a direct impact on reducing the contributory factors that cause GBV.

Women’s Support Association, Ethiopia: This both prevented and responded to GBV using a number of key strategies. The programme worked with both men and women at national, community, small-group and self-help level. It used community mobilization to promote behavioural change, which resulted in positive social, economic and political impacts. Integrating education, empowering women, and engaging men in planning and implementation were key to this project’s success.

What key GBV lessons can we learn from such programmes?

  • GBV can’t be treated in isolation. The risk environment for GBV, HIV, poverty and hunger are similar. Considering GBV in the strategies to address these are effective.
  • Engaging men is critical.
  • Organizations must combine skills and create platforms where multi-disciplinary groups can come together.
  • Greater coordination of overall funding structures is necessary.
  • Research and evaluation continues to be important.

What are some entry points for breaking the downward cycle of poverty and GBV?

  • There can be resistance to using GBV as an entry point. Focusing on livelihoods can be the best place to start.
  • Linking GBV to HIV is an important programming and funding opportunity.
  • Be pro-active. Use the school curriculum, for example. Music can be used to encourage discussion about masculinity power dynamics.
  • Programme design should be flexible.
  • Advocacy is necessary on the ground as well as countrywide and internationally.

How can we measure and monitor impact where multiple actors are involved?

  • Indicators must be reasonable and not overly focused on one area.
  • Impact on GBV should be measured against and across all the disciplines involved.
  • It is important to use both qualitative as well as quantitative information.
  • Encourage people to tell their stories and determine their own progress.
  • Measure progress at different stages using a range of tools and indicators.

Download full learning brief

  “Preventing Early Child Forced Marriage, Ethiopia” Photo by Christian Aid Ireland

Gender Based Violence, Poverty and Development

What is Gender Based Violence?

Gender based violence (GBV) is any act or threat of harm inflicted on a person because of their gender. It is experienced more by women and girls than by men and boys. GBV takes place in families, in communities, and in cultures. Research suggests that nearly one out of every three women globally has experienced psychological, physical or sexual partner violence during their lifetime. Although it is a universal issue, it is more common in less developed countries and those suffering civil conflict. An abuse of human rights, failure to address GBV amounts to complicity.

What has poverty got to do with GBV?

GBV has very close links to poverty. Recession and economic downturns can act as triggers for incidences of GBV. The impact of GBV on health and productivity can in turn lead to increased poverty. GBV behaviour can be ‘taught’ by one generation to the next, which in turn can make it more difficult to leave poverty behind. It is critical that any anti-poverty strategies include programmes for dealing with GBV.

What is the impact of GBV?

It impacts on households and communities. At household level, violence often results in direct costs to access health or legal services. And when money is spent in this way, there is less for food. Secondly, the health issues some women experience as a result of GBV can have a serious negative impact on their ability to work. This has a direct impact at the community level, where violence leads to lower productivity, absenteeism and often lower earnings by survivors of violence.

How does GBV feature in the Millennium Development Goals?

Together, eight Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) form a blueprint agreed to by all the world’s countries and leading development institutions, in order to meet the needs of the poorest and least developed countries.

  • Goal 1: Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger. Studies have shown that GBV can increase levels of hunger and child malnutrition. Violence impacts on family economics, and less money means less food and security.
  • Goal 2: Achieve universal access to education. Violence within the educational system is a daily reality for many women and girls. Whether in the home, school, or community, GBV limits access to, and participation in, education.
  • Goal 3: Promote gender equality and empower women. Gender inequality persists in most countries, and while violence against women goes unchecked and its long-terms consequences go unacknowledged, this Goal will never be reached.
  • Goal 4 & Goal 5: Reduce child mortality and improve maternal health. GBV has direct impacts on child mortality and maternal health. Partner violence during pregnancy results in increased infant and fetal death, low birth weight and under-five mortality. It also significantly impacts on maternal mortality.
  • Goal 6: Combat HIV and AIDS. GBV is widely acknowledged as a key risk factor for HIV and AIDS. Violence undermines the ability of women and girls to negotiate safe sex practices or to leave partners who engage in high-risk behaviour.
  • Goal 7: Ensure environmental sustainability. Women and girls play a significant role in agriculture in many developing countries, and are crucial to economic survival and success. GBV can and does, limit their participation.
  • Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development. No global partnership can proceed without women’s voices and genuine participation. GBV excludes women and undermines the future of this development.

How should we respond to GBV?

A serious and complex international problem, it requires a range of responses:

  • International: Several United Nations Security Council Resolutions have made significant advancements towards dismantling the culture of tolerance and impunity associated with perpetrators of GBV.
  • National: A growing number of governments have passed legislation criminalizing GBV. Many have incorporated considerations of GBV in development plans.
  • Community: Local interventions are crucial. Awareness raising campaigns, provision of local services for survivors of violence, and a determination to shift gender norms all make a difference. Sample projects have shown that a multi-strand, holistic approach that engages with both men and women can produce more positive outcomes, which have a greater impact on the community.

Our policy recommendations

GBV needs to remain high on the political and development agenda at all times including during periods of economic hardship.

We call on our politicians to:

  • Continue to highlight GBV as a fundamental human rights violation and as a priority issue to promote sustainable development and reduce poverty.
  • Promote clear leadership and action within the international community.

We call on the broader development community to:

  • Make anti-GBV programmes a priority and fund them accordingly.
  • Commit resources to strengthening women’s economic and social power.
  • Approach services holistically, so sufferers’ composite needs are addressed.
  • Support effective responses to reduce and prevent violence and include men in the education and awareness raising programmes.

We call on our national governments and international donors to: