In a recent World Bank publication, GBV was recognized as a serious constraint to women’s agency as it “both reflects and reinforces underlying gender-based inequalities” (World Bank 2014). Across the Bank, attention and programs that focus on addressing GBV is growing. A stocktaking of such interventions found that the majority of activities were in Latin America and the Caribbean and Sub-Saharan Africa, and specifically in the Social Development, Gender and Development, Public Sector Governance and Health sectors. In South Asia, attention to GBV is also growing and the issue has been recognized in the most recent update of the regional strategy.
The World Bank has launched a multi-faceted regional strategy to end Gender-based violence in South Asia. The programs draws on the wealth of findings and recommendations of the recently concluded report “Violence Against Women and Girls: Lessons from South Asia” We felt it was important to coordinate closely programmatic work with research and translate that directly into operations in the Bank’s own programs and with their partners in the South Asia region.
The development objective of the present program is to identify and test effective practices for preventing and responding to VAW in South Asia. The program deliberately takes a broad approach – focusing on GBV and not just violence against women and girls as this allows for greater involvement and attention to crucial issues of masculinities and gender issues for men and boys.
Program activities will focus on:
(i) learning from good practice interventions within and beyond the region and integrating these within Bank operations;
(ii) promoting greater dialogue and innovative models for collaboration in terms of raising awareness and responding to GBV; and,
(iii) creating a system of managing and disseminating lessons. The activities supported under this program will focus on both prevention and response.