Direct cash transfers coupled with behaviour change communication could reduce violence against women inflicted by their partners by 26 per cent, a study has revealed.
‘Our study in Bangladesh found that the combination of transfers and behaviour change communication led to women experiencing less violence from their partners. But transfers alone did not have this effect,’ said the study conducted by the International Food Policy Research Institute and Cornell University.
The researchers of the IFPRI and Cornell University conducted the study in Bangladesh titled Transfers, Behaviour Change Communication, and Intimate Partner Violence: Post-programme Evidence from Rural Bangladesh.
‘The study results suggest that adding behaviour change communication, which we found economically and socially empowered women more than transfers alone, was necessary to sustain the reductions in violence. Given that the behaviour change communication was focused on child nutrition, not violence or gender, we think a key function it played was to bring women together and increase their social status,’ said Shalini Roy, an IFPRI research fellow.
The reductions in violence were found 6-10 months after the intervention ended, providing the first evidence that such benefits could be sustained after cash transfers and related programming cease, the study said.
Researchers’ analysis suggests that, in cultural contexts like rural Bangladesh, partner violence may be curbed by giving mothers cash as well as behaviour change communication to further empower them.
The study draws on the Transfer Modality Research Initiative, a pilot safety net program in rural Bangladesh implemented from 2012 to 2014.
TMRI’s primary aim was not to change gender dynamics, but to improve household food security and child nutrition. To assess its effectiveness, the World Food Program in collaboration with IFPRI conducted an impact evaluation of the program.
The study examines how providing cash or food transfers to very poor women in Bangladesh – with or without intensive nutrition behaviour change communication – affected Intimate Partner Violence.
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