Ethiopia’s project on sexual harassment secures World Bank funding


The World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) awarded funding to the Addis Ababa University School of Public Health and Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

The funding aims to create an innovative podcast to try and stem intimate partner violence (IPV) in refugee camps.

The winning team will pilot the podcast in the Dollo Ado refugee camp to try to reduce IPV. A growing body of literature suggests that IPV is the most common form of violence in humanitarian settings, even as it often goes unreported in these settings. Furthermore, there is limited evidence on effective prevention interventions for the humanitarian context.

The winning idea aims to generate new evidence on IPV and approaches to prevent IPV in humanitarian crises. Specifically, the project will generate new knowledge on risk factors for IPV in Dollo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia, as well as how social networks and information sharing channels are organized. The podcast has enormous potential because of its reach to substantial numbers of people in an unobtrusive manner.

A multi-disciplinary team consisting of ICT intervention specialists, operational and humanitarian, GBV research, and anthropologic experts will conduct the project over a 24-month period. The proposed project is a stand-alone research project that will complement ongoing IPV research in Dollo Ado, Ethiopia.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime. Beyond the devastating personal costs, gender-based violence inflicts a steep economic toll: estimates of resulting lost productivity run as high as 3.7 percent in some economies.

The Development Marketplace Awards aim to help individuals, communities, and nations stamp out GBV. The idea for the awards, which first launched one year ago, honors GBV victims and survivors around the world, and is in memory of Hannah Graham, daughter of a longtime World Bank employee.

The winners of this year’s awards range from efforts to reduce inter-partner violence among refugees in Ethiopia to community approaches to prevent gender-based violence in the Amazon of Peru.

“Gender-based violence thrives on secrecy and indifference with devastating consequences,” World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said. “We cannot stand by while so many women suffer harm that’s completely preventable. Through this competition we hope to shine a spotlight on gender-based violence and inspire innovative solutions. It is my honor to congratulate and thank the 2017 Development Marketplace winners for taking action to end GBV.”

An expert panel reviewed more than 200 proposals submitted to the Bank Group and SVRI following an open call in July 2016 for innovations to prevent GBV in low- and middle-income countries. Winning teams, which received up to US$150,000 each, were chosen based on overall merit, research or project design and methods, significance, team expertise, and ethical considerations.

“The efforts funded by this award will produce evidence which will enable policy makers to design effective policies and programs to prevent and respond to gender-based violence thus contributing to a world in which women and children are free of violence and able to reach their full potential,” said Alessandra Guedes, SVRI co-chair and Regional Advisor for Family Violence at the Pan-American health Organization/WHO. “The SVRI and World Bank Group have identified a global portfolio of superb innovators that we can learn from.”

The SVRI Grant, a global innovation award started in 2014, previously awarded more than US$1 million to nine projects in seven countries. SVRI uses an innovative mix of evidence-based information, communication and technology media; capacity-building workshops; on-granting and hosts an international Forum every two years to advance and expand research on sexual and intimate partner violence globally.

Through the Development Marketplace platform, the World Bank Group and its partners have awarded more than US$65 million in funding to more than 1,200 innovative social enterprises and raised awareness about the role of social enterprises in addressing challenges facing the poor.

The winners include:

  • Sexual Harassment Among Jordanian College Students: Pilot Testing a Promising Primary Prevention Intervention (Jordan, Middle East/ NorthAfrica)

Team: Information and Research Center – King Hussein Foundation and Emory University

  • Gender Equity Model – Promoting Women’s Economic Empowerment and Fighting Gender-Based Violence (Egypt, Middle East/North Africa)

Team: The American University of Cairo

  • Gender-based Violence Prevention in the Amazon of Peru Project (Peru, Latin America)

Team: University College London and DB Peru

  • Building the Evidence Base for ‘Safe Families’ – a Comprehensive Community-led model for Violence Prevention in Solomon Islands. (Solomon Islands, East Asia)                                          Team: The Equality Institute, Oxfam Solomon Islands, and Oxfam Australia
  • Combatting Culturally-endorsed Sexual Violence in Kyrgyzstan through Innovative Education and Information Technology (Kyrgyzstan, Central Asia) Team: American University of Central Asia (AUCA)
  • Building Research Capacity and Data Use for Gender-Based Violence prevention and Response in Adolescents/Young Adults (Nigeria, Africa)

Team Together for Girls

  • Mapping for Policy (Pakistan, South Asia)

Team: The Urban Institute and Information Technology University Data Science Lab in Pakistan

  • Building the Evidence to Understand and Prevent Campus Sexual Assault in Swaziland (Swaziland, Africa)

Team: University of Swaziland and The Regents of the University of California, San Diego

  • Development of Standard Measures to Support Gender-Based Cyber Violence (GBCV) Prevention (Uganda, Africa)

Team: International Center for Research for Women

  • Piloting a Customizable, User-Designed Information and Communication Technology-based Approach to Reduce Intimate Partner Violence among Refugees (Dollo Ado refugee camps in Ethiopia, Africa)

Team: Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Addis Ababa University School of Public Health