In response to the problem of women experiencing violence in the home, the IRC is implementing a socioeconomic intervention to combat GBV in C??te d’Ivoire. The IRC is using a Village Savings and Loans Association (VSLA) methodology along with business skills training as the economic component to increase savings opportunities and capital acquisition.
To help inform current knowledge regarding the specific components that are needed to successfully reduce intimate partner violence, a randomized community trial that is currently underway will answer the following questions:
What is the incremental impact of Gender Dialogue Groups added to the VSLA program on (a) economic independence; (b) experiences of physical and sexual violence by an intimate partner; (c) household decision-making; and (d)gender attitudes?
What is the process and potential pathways by which the different programmatic approaches (VSLA + Gender Dialogue Group/VSLA only) might influence levels of violence, economic independence and decision-making?
In October 2010, a baseline survey was conducted with 1271 women who were enrolled in the study (96% of participants). Partner violence against women was a widespread occurrence with 2 out of 3 (66.8%) women reporting having experienced emotional, physical, or sexual violence in their lifetime. Over 6 in 10 (62%) partnered women who experienced physical or sexual violence in the past year reported seeking help from another person (mostly family, friends, community members); only 7.2% reported seeking formal services such as medical or legal services. Women’s responses indicate that most household financial decisions are made by their partner. Though half of all women reported discussing financial disagreements with their partner, some 30-40% of women also reported yielding to their partners’ decision.