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Lessons on approaches

Promoting multi-sector, multi-level approaches: Virtually all sectors of society can contribute to addressing VAW – e.g. health services, education systems, courts of justice, police, armed forces, religious and other traditional authorities. An effective campaign needs to reach all sectors relevant to its themes and goals, and intervene at multiple levels so as to mobilize a wide range of individuals, local groups, government institutions and other decision-makers for change.

Example: The annual 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence Campaign, first launched by the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, has become an international annual event that rallies activists, government leaders, students, academia and the private sector in many countries around the world to demand an end to violence. It has created links and synergy among a wide range of initiatives around the world.

See the 16 Days site dedicated to youth from Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Combining approaches in multi-pronged strategies: Both policy and institutional change, and transformation in individual attitudes and behaviour are needed to end VAW. Policy/Institutional change, such as more effective enforcement of laws criminalizing VAW, is necessary so as to safeguard women’s rights. At the same time, the social and psychological roots of VAW need to be tackled. Multi-pronged strategies that combine these approaches, intervening at many different levels and coordinating the participation and cooperation of different stakeholders can make for successful campaigns. One example is a campaign that works directly with law enforcement officials to change their mindsets about VAW, while also strengthening the networks and linkages between such officials and VAW service providers (shelters, legal aid, etc).

Example:  Soul City in South Africa, combines nation-wide educational entertainment via TV and radio serial dramas with community mobilization and advocacy for effective implementation of the Domestic Violence Act.

View the case study of a 1999 Soul City multi-media series.

Addressing intersectional issues: Women and girls whose citizenship status, physical ability, descent, age or other factors make them vulnerable to discrimination, are often disproportionately affected by VAW (WHO & UNAIDS, 2010. Addressing Violence Against Women and HIV/AIDS: What Works?). Campaigners must involve women facing such intersectional issues in designing, implementing and monitoring the campaign, so as to reduce marginalization and ensure the campaign reaches vulnerable groups.