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Our approach to impact

The project stems from the understanding that impact has been defined too many times in the past in euro-centric, programmatic or short-sighted ways, which this project aims to depart from. Our main premise is that meaningful and impactful interventions emerge when they are designed from the ground up informed by empirical evidence and real-life experiences. When research in domestic violence remains embedded in euro-centric or universalist theories of what causes or maintains domestic violence and is distanced from the diverse lived realities of affected individuals and communities, its value for real individuals and communities becomes questionable.

The current project is the result of previous long-term research in Ethiopia working with the laity and the clergy to understand better the realities that sustain the problem of domestic violence. That experience evidenced the need to build clergy preparedness to respond to domestic violence victims and perpetrators and to develop more integrated domestic violence response systems that bring together secular and religious stakeholders to achieve relevance and positive outcomes with the local communities.

We understand that such locally-grounded and integrated approaches cannot be achieved without the support, specialisations and good-will of researchers and practitioners, stakeholders and communities in these societies. The project is thus committed to a dialogical, self-reflexive and mutually beneficial approach to partnerships that promotes the professional growth of all parties. Team development constitutes a key impact objective of this project.  

While the project is guided by a detailed impact framework stemming from these three objectives, we consciously leave the meaning of ‘impact’ open to exploration for the full duration of the project, anticipating the need to adapt to new conditions and to leverage on new resources as we engage with project partners, stakeholders and communities in Ethiopia, Eritrea and the UK.  

Project objectives and impact strategies

  1. Consolidate a decolonial approach to domestic violence research that prioritises local worldviews and promotes reciprocal and mutually beneficial research partnerships;
  2. Integrate religio-cultural and psychological parameters more substantively in domestic violence research and practice and improve religio-cultural sensitivity in secular governmental and non-governmental domestic violence support systems;
  3. Equip religious personnel as appropriate in different contexts to enable them to better respond to victims and perpetrators of domestic violence while minimising safety risks for victimised parties.
  1. Taking a dialogical approach in working with project partners and project stakeholders;
  2. Employing participatory, ethnographic and people-centred methodologies in research and intervention approaches;
  3. Creating opportunities for growth for all team members in the project countries.
  1. Building the evidence base on the relationship between religious parameters, human psychology and domestic violence through systematic literature reviews and new research with victims/survivors and perpetrators;
  2. Improving understanding around the role of religio-cultural parameters in state-led and non-governmental domestic violence sectors through trainings, awareness-raising events and direct communication;
  3. Creating opportunities and platforms for learning across sectors, disciplines and stakeholder groups through knowledge exchange activities and public engagement.
  1. Working with clergy, theologians and seminarians to increase understanding of gaps in clergy teaching and shortfalls in pastoral mediation and improving curricula and training approaches for clergy;
  2. Holding participatory and reflective workshops to equip clergy with new theological knowledge on gender relations, marriage and domestic violence and a better understanding of the realities of domestic violence in their communities and their role in the continuation/deterrence of the problem;
  3. Employing local legal, psychological or other specialisations in domestic violence services provision to equip clergy, theologians and seminarians with knowledge of referral systems and (inter)national safeguarding protocols.