The Accelerator for Gender Based Violence (GBV) Prevention team had the honour to attend the SVRI Forum this year, hosted in Cancun, Mexico on 19-23 September 2022. After two years of COVID-19 isolation and lockdowns, it was pure joy to meet colleagues, feminist activists, researchers, donors and policy makers face-to-face. The Accelerator for GBV Prevention has been in operation since February 2022 when its two co-directors, Muthoni Muriithi and Lara Fergus came on board, but ts creation dates back to 2019 when GBV Prevention experts, practitioners and researchers came together to dream of an initiative that would bring the GBV field together to advocate for more and better funding for GBV Prevention.
Some key highlights for us from SVRI include
- A long-awaited chance for face-time: As a new initiative, it is important for us to be engaged with, learn from and collaborate with the GBV Prevention field, SVRI gave us the chance to meet in person – often for the first time – with a wide array of collaborators and partners working on GBV Prevention including our own partners, donors and advisory group members. We strengthened existing relationships and built new ones, and learned more about the work happening across the world on GBV prevention. We came back feeling refreshed, basking in feminist solidarity and feeling encouraged at the amazing work that is happening across the world to end GBV.
- We hosted a participant driven event: ‘What Counts: Measuring Progress for ‘More and Better’ Funding and Policy to Prevent GBV’. Last year at Generation Equality Forum (GEF) we submitted a collective commitment to progressing a Shared Advocacy Agenda for more and better funding and policy for evidence-driven, feminist-informed GBV prevention. The challenge now is to work out ‘what counts’ as such funding and policy! At SVRI, we held a workshop with funders, women’s rights organisations and prevention researchers to kick-off our new project to define, measure and track prevention funding and policy and gather initial inputs. This was the start of a co-creation process with partners that we shall continue to engage with over a couple of months.
- Serendipitous encounters at the Accelerator for GBV Prevention Booth: We used our exhibition space to connect with people, provide information about our work at the Accelerator, and share some snazzy ‘merch’! We received a lot of interest including from new organisations who would like to be involved in the work of the Accelerator, and learned about other organisations working in this space including our booth neighbours. We had many organisations sign up to be a ‘Fearless Co-Creator, and work with us to define our advocacy strategy for more and better funding.
We had the honour of hosting a booth at SVRI that allowed us to share our mission while learning more about the GBV community. In frame: Marie-Simone Kadurira, Communications Consultant at The Accelerator for GBV Prevention, at our SVRI Booth
Some of our key takeaways from the SVRI Forum
- We were happy to see a lot of enthusiasm and action to ensure that the commitments made under GEF on gender based violence are actualised and we noted a strong and cohesive call for more policy and resources to be allocated towards GBV Prevention. The time is now!
- A diversity of voices, we noted that the GBV community has embraced a more intersectional analysis on GBV prevention including making space for women with disability, LGBTQI community, understanding that GBV cannot be addressed without understanding how intersecting power structures and oppressions inform or impact the lived realities of women and gender expansive people.
- The comradeship and informal nature of SVRI Forum enabled different stakeholders to engage with each other, it was lovely to be in a room with policy makers, donors, activists and researchers all committed to ending gender based violence and willing to find solutions together
- We heard a clear rallying call for a clear and coherent advocacy agenda to get more laws, policies and resources to invest in evidence based, practice and feminist informed GBV prevention strategies with so many organisations and institutions sharing their experience and resources on good practice and strategies to end GBV
The Forum let us know that we (The Accelerator) are on the right track, the time is ripe for action
We all need to continue on the momentum generated during SVRI and build a strong advocacy agenda that shapes and transforms the way in which investment and funding for GBV Prevention is structured and organised. This calls for sustained, core and flexible funding to feminist activists and women’s organisations doing this work, calls for governments to invest more resources in gender transformative policies that address the root cause of GBV in their countries and build the evidence based on what feminist informed and practice informed good prevention programmes and policies look like. We need everyone on board if we are to end gender based violence and we need to do it together.
All in all, a gratitude-invoking experience that we will use to strengthen our connections and mobilise support to advocate for GBV prevention funding to ensure we all live free of violence.
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Partners and Co-Booth Hosts joined us in our call for a #FearlessFuture. In Frame: COFEM Representative at SVRI