ActionAid Ireland

ActionAid Ireland’s Work on GBV

ActionAid Ireland currently works on gender-based violence issues with ActionAid Kenya (AAK), Ethiopia (AAE), Nepal (AAN) and their local partners, as part of our Irish Aid funded Women’s Rights Programme. In the areas where we work, harmful traditional practices like female genital mutilation (FGM) and child marriage are often still practised, and rates of domestic violence and the sexual harassment of women are incredibly high. In addition to this our programme aims to include and support the most marginalised women of the communities we work with. These women have no income of their own and are often excluded from society. They are unable to afford proper housing or education for their children, and thus the cycle of poverty continues. Both of these issues are deeply rooted in societal norms and behaviours, because of this, at ActionAid Ireland we have, in partnership with University College London’s Centre for Behaviour Change, created a programme of behaviour change to tackle these issues facing women in Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal.

The behaviour change technique works to simply change behaviour that creates social issues such as child marriage, harassment, or FGM. The problem that we wish to tackle is initially diagnosed. Following this we analyse the issue to figure out what behaviours are causing this problem. Finally, we create an intervention to change the problematic behaviour and this will then lead to the social issue reducing and eventually disappearing.

Our approach is unique for three reasons; the first is that it is sustainable. By combating the behaviours at the centre of these social problems we can create a change that is long-lasting. Secondly, unlike some development techniques that have been used in the past, behaviour change affects every member of the community. As the techniques focus on the behaviours of the average person it means that all members of the community are involved. This has allowed for increased opportunities for women’s leadership across countries, as well as more men and boys stepping up against violence and harmful practices. Finally, the third reason our approach is unique and important is that the behaviour change techniques are very adaptable. This technique is being used currently in Kenya, Ethiopia and Nepal, all individual nations with very different cultures and within which we are tackle different issues. In addition to this, we have also used this technique in Ireland where we are tackling FGM within migrant communities.