Violence against women and girls is not a new phenomenon. Globally, 1 in 3 women has experienced one form of violence (World Health Organisation). From 25th November to 10th December every year, there is a global campaign to challenge violence meted out to women and girls. This year’s theme was “ORANGE THE WORLD: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.
In 1998, the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (the Gender Centre) took the bold step of undertaking a nationwide research to ascertain the prevalence of violence against women and children in Ghana. At the time of the research, violence against women was largely a hidden problem. The publication of the study report titles “Breaking the silence and challenging the Myths of Violence against Women & Children in Ghana” in 1999 set the stage for a nationwide mobilization around tackling the pervasive issue of violence against women, leading to the passage of the Domestic Violence Act in February 2007.
The dearth of empirical data to support lobbying and advocacy strategies for law and policy reforms was one of the reasons that led to the formation of the Gender Centre. Consequently, research was identified as one of the programming activities of the Centre in order to achieve its overall goal of promoting the human rights of Ghanaian women.
In 1998, when the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre (Gender Centre) undertook a nationwide research on violence against women, (one in 12 critical areas in the Platform of Action), one of the expected outcomes of the research was to identify ways and means of combating the problem. The findings of the research led to the development of a number of activities to address the problem identified, including the absence of support to victims of violence in rural communities.
When the Gender Centre conceptualized its Nyinkyim Anti-violence Project, it recognized the need to put together a comprehensive training programme for its partners to ensure a deep understanding of violence against women in order to be able to respond effectively to victims of violence in those communities where partners operated. The training programme was also intended to train other civil society organisations as well as state agencies such as the Police, health and social welfare personnel and indeed all stakeholders who interacted with victims of violence in any way.
In 1998, the Gender Studies and Human Rights Documentation Centre, in collaboration with eight implementing partners: Action Aid Ghana, Centre for Development of People (CEDEP), General Agricultural Workers’ Union (GAWU), Maata “N” Tudu, Amasachina, Associates in Development (ASSID), Centre for Sustainable Development Initiatives (CENSUDI) and Bawku East Women’s Development Association, (BEWDA) undertook a nationwide research on violence against women and children (VAWAC). More…