Gender, Gender-based Violence

Implementing the USAID Strategic Framework for Africa to achieve the vision of "Healthy, Prosperous Africans Living in Peace and Freedom" requires a multidimensional strategy that draws wisely on past experiences while pursuing new approaches to build a better future for citizens of countries in various stages of development. To that effect, and in this strategic area, Africa's Health in 2010 puts a stronger multisectoral focus, drawing in new partners to build synergies with health and poverty alleviation, focusing on gender, youth, and urbanization issues. The project focuses for now on gender and gender-based violence (GBV).

Gender-based violence is defined by the United Nations as "any act of gender-related violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivation of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life.", Gender-based violence is a pervasive public health and human rights problem throughout the world. At least one woman in every three has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime. Gender-based violence can result in many negative consequences for women's health and well-being. It can also affect their children and undermine the economic well-being of societies.

Most violence against women takes place within families, and the perpetrators are almost exclusively men, usually partners, ex-partners or other men known to women. Forty population-based quantitative studies, conducted in 24 countries on four continents, revealed that between 20 and 50 percent of the women interviewed reported that they had suffered physical violence from their male partners.

Africa's Health in 2010 is addressing gender-based violence in Africa to raise awareness and lift the veil of silence over the magnitude of this problem in Africa and to build the capacity of African institutions to adequately address its consequences.

The project focuses its work on the following strategic priorities:

  • Awareness raising, advocacy and dissemination of best practices in reducing gender-based violence
  • Improved regional coordination of GBV focus, strategies and interventions
  • Capacity building of African institutions and of health care providers to better respond to gender-based violence
  • Monitoring and evaluation of gender-based violence on the continent
  • Promoting the prevention of Female Genital Cutting (FGC)

Contact Us: Reena Borwankar, Gender, Gender-based Violence Advisor

Publication Quick Links

Breaking the silence

East Central Southern Africa Health Community (ECSA-HC) and Africa’s Health in 2010 collaborate to catalyze efforts against gender-based violence and child sexual abuse, prompting health ministers and faith leaders to speak up and resolve the growing crisis in the East, Central and Southern Africa region. Read More (PDF)

Africa 2010 raises awareness of magnitude of GBV in sub-Saharan Africa
On April 20, Africa 2010’s Gender, Gender-based Violence Advisor, Reena Borwankar, and Elisabeth Sommerfelt, Senior Maternal-Child-Newborn Health Advisor at the Academy for Educational Development presented at a panel discussion on Gender-based Violence in sub-Saharan Africa, at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, in Washington, DC. They presented the findings of an Africa 2010 publication they co-authored titled Gender-based Violence in sub-Saharan Africa: A review of Demographic and Health Survey findings and their use in National Planning. Moderated by Vivian Lowery-Derryck, Inaugural Fellow in the Advanced Leadership Initiative at Harvard University, the presentation ended with comments by Diana Prieto, Senior Gender Advisor, USAID Office of HIV/AIDS and Mark Blackden, a consultant for the International Finance Corporation. A summary of the event, including video recording, presentation, and related links are available on the Wilson Center website.

This Website is made possible by the generous support of the American people through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The contents are the responsibility of Africa’s Health in 2010 Project, managed by the Academy for Educational Development, and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID or the United States Government.