Global Report on Results


Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

Gender-Based Violence (GBV)

Gender-based violence (GBV) refers to any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (gender) differences, like power inequalities between women and men. GBV violates a number of human rights. UN defines violence against women as “any act of GBV that results in, or is likely to result in, physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering to women, including threats or such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life”.

Overall goal: Men and women are mobilised and act together to address harmful practices encouraging gender-based violence

Summary of the programme’s main achievements compared to overall goal

The GBV programme contributed to reducing the stigmatisation associated with GBV and changing social norms by empowering and engaging women, men and faith actors. The GBV programme focused on preventing GBV, protecting girls and women, providing safety for GBV survivors and facilitating their access to justice, and advocating for the passage of laws and monitoring the enforcement of existing laws related to GBV. More than 4.1 million men and women gained knowledge about their right to a life free from GBV through NCA and partners’ efforts.


Strengthening Civil Society
Deviations and Lessons Learned
Global Outcome Results


FBOs and religious leaders mobilised to end GBV

This programme aimed at empowering women to be aware of their rights, but also to challenge both women and men on their own cultural and social norms that contribute to sustain GBV practices within their families and communities. FBOs and religious leaders, not the least female faith leaders, play an important role in either sustaining or challenging social norms on gender and GBV. NCA therefore focused on mobilising these actors to engage in the work against GBV – both in addressing rights-holders at the grassroots, as well as duty-bearers at different levels. NCA saw this as particularly important because powerful conservative faith-based actors are joining forces to reverse rather than promote women’s rights, including sexual and reproductive health rights. These conservative actors are building networks in several of the countries where NCA works, justifying their positions with faith-based arguments. Together with the ACT Alliance, World Council of Churches (WCC) and World Young Women’s Christian Association (World YWCA), NCA therefore organised side-events and worked to influence the agreed conclusions at the UN Commission on the Status of Women meetings in New York in 2013 and 2014, promoting faith actors with contrasting reflections.

22 We Will Speak Out (WWSO) is a global coalition of Christian-based NGOs, churches and organisations.

With this as a backdrop, NCA achieved important results. Using faith-based resources and engaging in dialogue from a faith-based perspective, NCA succeeded in mobilising FBOs and religious leaders against GBV. Supporting the development of tools for the reinterpretation of religious dogma in the Bible led to the development of the Tamar campaign in many church congregations, while the Saaxarla campaign in Somalia used messages from the Quran to address GBV. In many countries, religious leaders, as moral duty-bearers, took a stand against GBV and included messages on a zero tolerance towards FGM and other forms of GBV in their sermons. The programme also succeeded in building bridges between FBOs and the women’s movement, which is often not an easy task. As a result of this, FBOs participated in several campaigns against GBV and lobbied for changes in laws and policies related to GBV and the rights of women and girls. For example, in 2013, 40 partners and NCA staff from 15 countries in Africa were trained by NCA’s South African partner Gender Links on advocacy methods for mobilising around the annual global 16 Days of Activism against GBV campaign. This event, which previously had been dominated by women’s organisations, opened new arenas of involvement for FBOs, and new alliances between FBOs and women’s organisations were created. Christian FBOs also established the We Will Speak Out alliance against GBV22 and a number of interfaith consultations on GBV and gender were facilitated by NCA in Ethiopia, DRC, Kenya and Malawi to mention a few. In 2013, for the first time, FBOs participated in the CSO Alliance monitoring the SADC Gender Protocol in Southern Africa, and the same year the first award for FBOs for outstanding work on gender justice was given to one of NCA Tanzania’s partners.


Faith-based actors contributed to change of social norms upholding FGM and other harmful practices

23 FGM is mostly carried out on young girls between infancy and 15 years, mainly by unskilled practitioners, and comprises all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for non-medical reasons. FGM has serious health hazards, which affect reproductive health and is a human rights violation.

WHY: In Ethiopia, Somalia, Mali and parts of Kenya a majority of girls and women are subjected to FGM23. This harmful traditional practice is performed owing to a mix of cultural, religious and social factors. Religious scholars don’t prescribe this practice, but some practitioners believe it has religious support and is a necessary act for girls to become women. Despite laws, national actions plans and criminal codes banning FGM, abandonment of the practice is still far from achieved as community agreements are essential in order to end the practice.

WHAT: NCA and partners use a range of different strategies to achieve abandonment of FGM. Three strategies are used in all contexts and have proven to be effective in changing peoples’ attitudes and behaviour: 1) challenging religious leaders to take a stand against FGM and integrate this as part of their religious teachings, 2) engaging men and women in community dialogues aimed at collective abandonment and 3) promoting laws against FGM.

RESULTS: Important steps were taken in Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia towards achieving acknowledgement of religious leaders that FGM is not a religious prescription, and many religious leaders have become change agents in the movement to eliminate FGM, child marriage and other forms of GBV. In Mali, NCA and partners had success in reducing early marriages.

In Ethiopia, there are signs of change leading to the abandonment of FGM in target areas. 143,000 women and men participated in community conversations and 86 communities declared zero-tolerance towards FGM. NCA and partners have contributed to this change through a combination of methods, such as challenging FBOs to engage against FGM. Three of the main denominations declared zero tolerance towards FGM. The Inter-Religious Council of Ethiopia, representing seven religious institutions, endorsed a statement condemning FGM. NCA and partners also worked with traditional structures (Iddirs) to revise their by-laws by including articles banning FGM. As both religious and traditional leaders have great impact on shaping public opinion, NCA believes these efforts have contributed to the change that is slowly taking place in Ethiopia.

Also in Kenya and Somalia, the engagement of religious and community leaders in condemning FGM as a non-religious practice has contributed to transforming attitudes and practices. Through community dialogues, men, women, girls and boys are gaining knowledge about harmful practices and the need for change. In Kenya, NCA has witnessed a change in attitudes from 2011, when FGM was a taboo subject to 2014, when community members engaged freely on the matter, many saying “no” to FGM in public. This is a first step towards abandonment.24

24 Abandoning the Blade. The Situation of Female Genital Mutilation in Madera and Kajidao Counties, Kenya, 2014

In Mali, where no law against FGM exists, it has proven difficult to mobilise imams against FGM, but NCA and partners have contributed to a notable change in the mentality of religious leaders, influential community members and parents about early marriages. Increasingly imams, mayors and community leaders are refusing to “bless” weddings involving minor girls. The project, which has also contributed to the signing of three local conventions to end the practice of early marriage in 52 villages, had an impact beyond the target areas, as 13 additional municipalities asked for similar conventions. In total, 282 child marriages were prevented in the target areas.



To a large extent the 18 country level GBV programmes were implemented as planned, except in Sudan, due to lack of government approval of the partners. In Vietnam, NCA phased out the GBV programme during the reporting period, and in Somalia NCA started a new joint programme on FGM/GBV with Save the Children in 2013. In Pakistan, NCA’s GBV programme ended in 2013, while a new programme was designed and the funding secured from the EU delegation from 2015. Some country programmes shifted between Women, Peace and Security, GBV and Women in Governance, as the three programmes are complementary to each other. For example the GBV programme in Mali was adapted to a new situation of war and conflict, which required interventions to assist rape survivors.

The lessons learned from this strategy period will input NCA’s GBV programme in the new strategy. Firstly, NCA has seen that changing social gender norms is challenging and requires long-term work and involvement by all relevant stakeholders. Applying methods such as Community conversations, Behaviour Change Communication and Positive masculinities have proven to be successful for changing social norms.

A second lesson learned is that we need to apply the gender power analysis more systematically, establish baselines and make use of research-based knowledge in monitoring of results. Thirdly, NCA has learned that FBOs can potentially become strong advocates for women’s rights, but that it is dependent on their willingness and ability to change own structures, culture and practice of male dominance. Engaging men at all levels to use their influence to end GBV is a prerequisite if GBV is to be reduced. The combination of committed actions by faith-based actors and awareness-raising of the legal rights of girls and women has led to changes in social norms and has had great impact on the lives of many girls and women. However, faced with the trend of conservative religious alliances undermining sexual and reproductive health rights and other women’s rights, NCA needs to put an emphasis on bringing out alternative voices from male and female faith leaders defending these rights and promoting gender justice. NCA has seen over the last years that this is best done by employing faith-based tools and engaging in dialogue from a faith perspective.

Global Outcome Results

All global programmes have defined global outcomes. Here is a summary of the main results per global outcome.

OUTCOME 1: Rights-holders are mobilised to claim their rights to a life free from gender-based violence

This outcome was to a large extent achieved in all programmes through capacitating rights-holders not to tolerate any forms of GBV. Rights-holders learned to speak up against GBV and to identify various forms of GBV, often accepted by traditions, families and society. Rights-holders also learned where their claims should be directed to avoid GBV. As a result, more attention towards the rights of the girl child became apparent.

OUTCOME 2: Faith- and community based organisations are mobilised to prevent and reduce all forms of harmful traditional practices

One of the successes of the programme has been to mobilise FBOs, CBOs and religious leaders to reduce GBV. Continuously promoting abandonment of FGM and other GBV through specific interventions with religious leaders has led to results, Ethiopia and Kenya being the best examples. In Mali, Sudan and Somalia, it has been more difficult to achieve this, as religious leaders are more likely to defend a “milder” form of FGM. However, in northern Mali, Imams were engaged in addressing child marriages.

OUTCOME 3: Faith- and community-based organisations have been influenced to transform and change beliefs, attitudes, behaviour and practices that uphold GBV

It has been challenging to raise GBV issues within the churches. This was experienced by staff and partners in Southern Africa. Still major achievements are observed as there was willingness to critically review own practices and to reinterpret theological dogma. In Myanmar, Pakistan, Laos, Vietnam and Guatemala, the programmes documented changes in attitudes and practices which led to breaking stigmatisation of GBV.

OUTCOME 4: Duty-bearers take responsibility to promote positive and transformative masculinities to overcome GBV

Changing violent forms of masculinities has proven to be important to reduce GBV. Specific initiatives promoting positive masculinities were taken in Myanmar, Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan and South Africa. This increased men’s involvement in the projects, including faith actors. The programme led to young men becoming more open to change, and religious leaders, often men, gained new insight into men’s role in the causes and consequences of GBV.

OUTCOME 5: Duty-bearers are influenced to implement national laws and domestications of legal frameworks preventing GBV and promoting the rights of women and girls

NCA’s partners in Mali, Guatemala, Zambia, Kenya, South Africa, Angola, Myanmar, Vietnam, Pakistan and Ethiopia. have influenced duty-bearers to adopt and implement national laws related to women’s and child rights. NCA’s partners contributed to increasing rights-holders’ knowledge of and to the implementation of the existing laws. Linking resource partners, like female lawyers’ associations and FBO partners was an important strategy to achieve this.

OUTCOME 6: GBV survivors and groups at risk have access to safety and justice

The programme achieved probably more than expected related to this outcome. Direct support to organisations providing shelters/safe houses for GBV survivors was a key strategy in Guatemala, Haiti, Pakistan, Malawi and Zambia, while in other countries NCA provided psychological, medical, legal and economic assistance. The total number of GBV survivors assisted is not available as it has not been recorded systematically.