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Eliminating Violence Against Women- International Day


To mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women we reflect on why it is so important to solve this problem and highlight some of the work that SDDirect is doing on behalf of vulnerable women and girls


Despite an increase in global efforts to bring the topic to the policy agenda, violence against women remains a global pandemic. Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is one of the most widespread violations of human rights worldwide, affecting one-third of all women in their lifetime. It is the leading cause of death and disability of women of all ages and has many other health consequences. VAWG is a fundamental barrier to eradicating poverty and building peace.

Evidence shows that violence emerges from the interplay of multiple interacting factors. These include genetic endowment, experiences of violence and abuse in childhood, relationship dynamics, household and community structures and social norms, the macro-level and global-level forces that shape prevailing norms, access to resources, gender roles and the relative power of men versus women. Interventions that have the potential to reduce rates of VAWG are, similarly, many and varied: they may target one or more risk factors and operate across single or multiple settings.
Women and girls have been a central focus of SDDirect’s research, programming and policy-related work for the last 15 years. 

In this article we’d like to showcase DFID’s What Works to Prevent Violence: A Global Programme in which SDDirect is a core partner.  We are part of a consortium led by working with the South African Medical Research Council and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine that is supporting 10 innovation grants and seven research projects across Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

  • One of the innovation grants that we support with technical assistance is No More Violence: A gender transformative approach to building community resilience and responses to VAWG in Tajikistan. This project is supporting the establishment of family based micro enterprises, primarily for women, as an entry point to working with family members on a range of interventions. The intended result will be improved gender attitudes and changed behaviours amongst family members that can reduce VAWG, particularly for new brides and improve the ability of women and girls to make and act on their own decisions within families. 
  • SDDirect is also involved in conducting an impact evaluation of Indashvikirwa: Agents of Change for gender-based violence (GBV) Prevention implemented by CARE Rwanda and two Rwandan NGOs to build GBV prevention interventions around Village Savings and Loans Associations. This includes training for couples, opinion leaders and service providers and provision of women’s spaces for GBV survivors and women at risk. The impact evaluation includes a cluster randomised control trial (RCT) of the couples’ intervention with a strong focus on qualitative research.
  • The What Works Programme has been recently featured in a Lancet Editorial and on the latest DFID blog which marks the occasion of the 2015 International Day of Violence Against Women.

About the International Day

By resolution 54/134 of 17 December 1999, the United Nations General Assembly designated 25 November as the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and invited governments, international organizations and NGOs to organize activities designed to raise public awareness of the problem on that day. Women's activists have marked 25 November as a day against violence since 1981. This date came from the brutal assassination in 1960, of the three Mirabal sisters, political activists in the Dominican Republic, on orders of Dominican ruler Rafael Trujillo (1930-1961).

Join the Campaign!
From 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, to 10 December, Human Rights Day, the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign promoted by UNiTE is a time to galvanize action to end violence against women and girls around the world. To follow the campaign visit

Photo credit: Lyndsay McLean