Outcomes: Empowering Girls and Women: the role of Health and Education in Eliminating Violence Against Women

panel-vawOn 25 November 2016, to celebrate the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, the Commonwealth Secretariat hosted a short film screening of Nancy A One Girl Revolution followed by a panel discussion.

The event was preceded by a round table discussion hosted by the Commonwealth Secretary General – Baroness Patricia Scotland. The roundtable, facilitated by Dr Joanna nurse Head of Health and Education commenced with a general overview by Professor Charlotte Watts, Chief Scientific Advisor & Director of Research and Evidence Division, Department for International Development (DFID).

The roundtable looked at the wider context of issues in which Gender Based Violence sits followed by a general discussion on country perspectives and challenges, multi-sector policy responses and areas of potential synergy and collaboration for scaling up action.

Below is a summary of outcomes from the roundtable:

  • Developing Commonwealth Best Practices tool kits 
  • Research on economic costs to address overlap of resources and duplication of efforts
  • Evidence based data to address issues, identify and implement preventive measures to change societal attitudes 
  • Multi-disciplinary approach beyond health and education
  • One institutional Commonwealth Action Plan and Implementation Strategy 
  • Engage men and involve male champions 
  • Provide technical and financial support for the effective implementation of existing laws and policies
  • Undertake law reform of repugnant laws that violate the human rights of women and girls
  • Draft legislation(s) of model laws to effectively address violence against women and girls
  • Commemorate VAW month of March for the Commonwealth where all agencies come together to share good practices, strategies, innovations that have worked
  • Mobilising technical and financial resources to support community champions directly working on the ground on issues 
  • Involving faith based organisations and leadership
  • Marking 25 November and 16 days of action against VAW (annually). This starts the Commonwealth campaign to end VAW leading to CHOGM 2018. 


The panel discussion event was held opened by Dr Joanna Nurse,  with Rt Hon Patricia Scotland, providing welcoming remarks.

This was then followed by the screening of the extract from the moving short documentary of Nancy – A One Girl Revolution with inputs from both Nancy Tommee (star of the film) and Ladi Dariya, Commonwealth Girls Education Fund (CGEF) Ambassador.

Professor Watts then gave a presentation on ‘Eliminating Gender Based Violence: evidence on and opportunities for prevention’ before the panel discussions commenced. The panel focused on how the Commonwealth can best further the aims of “Empowering Girls and Women and Eliminating Violence” and explore the role of health and education in supporting this including ending harmful practices such as female genital mutilation (FGM) and early, forced marriage.


You can watch the whole event here.