Thinking of a Career in Emergency Management?
- BY Nicole Pelette
The Combating Gender Based Violence in Bangladesh (CGBV) project recognizes that prevention of violence requires sustained and comprehensive action at individual, family, organizational and societal levels. The project will focus on primary prevention, stopping violence before it occurs, as it is a strategic approach to ending violence against women and girls. The project aims to generate knowledge and evidence to create evidence-based prevention interventions.
The project also builds on the knowledge, lessons learnt, experience and partnerships that UN Women in Bangladesh has gained by supporting small scale violence prevention projects since 2011. As part of the UN Trust Fund, a project titled, Safe School and Safe Community (SSSC) was implemented in 80 Higher Secondary schools of 4 districts on sexual harassment prevention from 2014-16. SSSC built the capacity of the schools to comply with the High Court Directive to prevent sexual harassment. UN Women is also working, since 2014, with 4 universities to prevent sexual harassment through student campaigns, building institutional capacities of universities & the University Grants Commission and advocacy, through its Building Capacity to Prevent Violence Against Women (BCPVAW) project.
Violence against Women in Bangladesh:
Risk of violence and harassment in work or in public is a barrier to better opportunities for women and girls. Fear of violence is one of the reasons often cited by families, in rural Bangladesh, for removing girls from school and marrying them off while they are still children. The threat of harassment and resultant risk of ‘dishonor’ can prevent young women from attending tertiary education and keep women in low-value traditionally female occupations in or near the household.
There is no nationally representative study of violence against girls in the public sphere, but there are small scale studies that tell the story. Sexual harassment is a serious impediment to girls’ access to their way to school, college or social visits, and 45 percent of girls and 73 percent of their parents considered stopping education due to such harassment (Alam, Roy, and Ahmed 2009). A study by UN Women showed more than three quarters of female students of tertiary education institutes faced sexual harassment at least once (UN Women-HDRC, 2013).
Furthermore, domestic violence is very high in Bangladesh. The Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics’ (BBS) Second National Survey of Violence Against Women found that 73 percent of ever-married women have experienced some form of violence from their spouses in their lifetime. More than one in four women reported experiencing sexual or physical violence in the past 12 months. Abusive relationships often have a socio-economic component, with household resources and financial decision making controlled by men. Socio-economic violence includes coercing women to turn over their earnings, denying them financial autonomy, withholding payment from them in a family business by relegating their productive work to ‘housewife duties’, or making them unfit to work through physical abuse.
Causes and contributing factors for VAW in Bangladesh:
The widespread violence against girls and women in Bangladesh is rooted in harmful notions of masculinities and social norms that tolerate violence and allow it to continue unchallenged. Social norms and attitudes that tolerate violence against women are wide spread. Traditionally, a strong gendered division of labor exists, and men think women should stay at home. A 2011 survey carried out by the Bangladesh National Human Rights Commission (BNHRC) found that 63 percent of married women agreed that women can be beaten by their husbands, or family members, for disobedience or when their behavior is considered to bring dishonor to the husband or the family .
Acceptance of violence against women as the social norm not only results in high prevalence, it also perpetuates inter-generational transmission of violent behavior. Wide acceptance of violence against women is also related to a culture of silence for those who face violence and impunity for perpetrators. The BBS study found that 73 percent of women affected by violence never reported their experience to anyone, and less than five percent reported to a formal authority (local leader, health care worker or police). A study exploring the disclosure and help seeking behavior in slums in Dhaka, found that women were more likely to seek help when faced with frequent and severe abuse. In most cases, help was sought from informal sources. The same study also identified women’s educational status, and presence of children to be associated with seeking help.
Duties and Responsibilities
CGBV Programme Objectives:
The CGBV Programme intends to create a holistic framework of integrated and mutually reinforcing interventions to address the underlying causes of violence against women and girls, improve their access to educational and economic opportunities, and promote their equal status in society.
CGBV will enhance the capacity of civil society to design, implement and sustain primary prevention of gendered violence, while also strengthening government mechanisms and strategies identified under Bangladesh’s 7th Five Year Plan and the National Women Development Policy. The project will generate evidence to build knowledge on prevention strategies. The CGVB will engage and capacitate local stakeholders and high-level leadership of key institutions such as local government, civil society organizations, women’s organizations, education institutions and workplaces.
More specifically, the programme aims at the following outcomes: i) strengthening national legal and policy framework to prevent violence against women; ii) promote favorable social norms, attitudes and behaviors to prevent violence against women; iii) policy and programming is increasingly informed by an expanded knowledge base on effective approaches to prevention of violence against women.
Under the Outcome i), one of the key Outputs is: Public and private institutions have increased capacity to implement policies to prevent Violence against Women (Output 1.1).
This Output will identify and implement strategies for the enforcement of the High Court Directive on Sexual Harassment in selected private and public institutions in Bogra, Comilla, and Patuakhali. This will involve engaging with authorities in charge of targeted institutions (e.g. local government leaders, university and education institution administrators) on addressing violence against women, with a specific focus on sexual harassment. Institutions will be supported to conduct safety surveys and build their capacity to design and effectively implement measures to address sexual harassment and violence against women.
To design and implement interventions under this Output, UN Women is planning to conduct a rapid mapping exercise at district level to identify authoritative bodies in charge of coordinating and monitoring the work of educational and workplace institutions, public and private, (e.g. University Grant Commission, Chambers of Commerce), and at upazilla level to identify private and public institutions that may act as potential partner for UN Women.
The purpose of the mapping is firstly to identify selected institutions and then to assess their awareness and commitment to prevent violence against women, with a specific focus on sexual harassment.
It is expected that the consultant will start from the district level to identify and engage with authoritative bodies in charge of regulating and monitoring the work of education, private and public institutions at Upazilla level. This exercise will have the objective of getting the buy-in of those bodies before engaging with more decentralized institutions.
On the basis of this first level mapping, the consultant will continue the mapping at Upazilla level (one central Upazilla/Sadar at each of the 3 districts) to identify private and public institutions, such as colleges, upazilla offices, police stations etc. at Upazilla level to assess their understanding of the Sexual Harassment Directive and other prevention measures addressing violence.
The purpose of the mapping is to provide UN Women with an overall picture and understanding of who the potential partners at district and central upazilla level are, and whether they have in place measures to address sexual harassment and violence against women.
The final objective is to provide UN Women with an overall understanding of the major players at district, and upazilla levels to build partnership with public and private institutions to ensure effective implementation of the Sexual Harassment Directive and other measures to prevent violence. The mapping is not intended to be exhaustive but to provide UN Women with an initial understanding of who are the potential partners and actors at district and upazilla level.
Once the mapping will have provided an overall picture of the current players in the specific districts and upazillas, UN Women will conduct safety audits in one or more institutions identified during the mapping to assess the safety concerns of women. The safety audits will be conducted in a participatory fashion, involving women’s group, committees or networks within the institutions.
The findings from the safety audit will support UN Women to gain understanding on the safety situation in the identified institutions, to support the next phase of the project and to select the institutions where most interventions to prevent violence against women are needed. The safety audits will also serve as a baseline to evaluate potential improvement in women’s safety after programmatic interventions.
The overall assignment will support UN Women to design specific interventions to implement the High Court Directive.
Scope of Work:
Under the overall guidance and supervision of the Programme Specialist -EVAW, the National Consultant will undertake the following tasks:
Duration of Work: The assignment will commence upon signing the contract and accomplished no in March 2019
Supervision and performance evaluation: The consultant will be directly supervised by UN Women Programme Specialist, Ending Violence Against Women (EVAW).
Fund transfer modality: Respective deliverables and documents will be reviewed by UN Women before processing any payment.
Payment schedule is as followings:
Technical Competencies: Experience in issues related to gender equality and ending violence against women.
Required Skills and Experience
Education: Master’s degree in social sciences, public policy/administration, governance, gender studies or similar. A PhD will be an added value..
Language and others: Excellent command of English and Bangla (written and oral) is required.