Scaling Up for Zero Tolerance: Civil Society Leadership in Eliminating Violence Against Women and Girls in Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa

Wednesday, September 3, 2008
Global Aids Alliance, CSVR, Rwandan Women's Network
Southern Africa
Central Africa
Southern Africa

Based on the Global AIDS Alliance's August 2006 report Zero Tolerance: Stop the Violence AgainstWomen and Children, Stop HIV/AIDS, this report explores successes—and challenges—of scaling upcomprehensive national programs to prevent, respond to, and mitigate the impacts of violenceagainst women and girls (VAW/G) and violence against children (VAC). The countries selected forthe study—Ghana, Rwanda, and South Africa—demonstrate concerted efforts to address theproblem. Each country provides positive examples that VAW/G and VAC can be addressed, despitethe incredibly high prevalence of violence and the strong role that socio-cultural norms play inperpetuating this epidemic of violence. In each of the three countries, civil society has played astrong advocacy role. These countries are by no means perfect in their response; the reporthighlights consistencies in how countries attempt to address the problem and provides examples foractivists to use in developing their own advocacy agendas to address VAW/G and VAC, a keycomponent of addressing HIV/AIDS. (GAA's 2006 Zero Tolerance report is available at

The research on which this report is based was conducted by experts in the countries profiled,through literature reviews, interviews with experts and stakeholders, and legal analysis. Whilethese experts were guided in their research by the seven pillars of a comprehensive response onwhich the Zero Tolerance campaign is based, the issues emphasized by the background studiesproduced for each country are in large part those selected by the researcher herself as indicative ofkey successes and important challenges. As with efforts to address HIV/AIDS, solutions to VAW/Gand VAC are connected intricately to local context, and any situation analysis must sit firmly withinthis context and be conducted primarily by those who know it well. Where this report speaks ofviolence against children in addition to violence against women and girls, it is in large measurebecause this issue was highlighted by local experts as salient to the discussion. This report containsboth a summary of the points raised in the background case studies produced in the three countriesprofiled, and analysis that is a combination of that done by the authors of the background studiesand the author of this report. For further detail on the in-country efforts highlighted in this report,please see the background documents at

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Zero Tolerance Civil Society Leadership VAW Ghana Rwanda South Africa, GAA CSVR RWN, Aug 2008