The URDR researchers are concurrently running a number of research projects. These take place worldwide. Some selected examples of current and recent projects are offered below.

Case studies for European Commission DEVCO

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The URDR is assisting the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) in the development of a selection of case studies for EU staff (at HQ and EU Delegation level) on engaging with religious actors around gender equality and/or gender-based violence. In developing these case studies, the URDR is partnering with House of Sarah (Fiji), ABAAD (Lebanon), Episcopal Relief & Development (Liberia), SAfAIDS (Southern Africa), and Prevention+ (Indonesia).


Practice-Based Knowledge Material Development, for The Prevention Collaborative

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This 2019 study carried out a literature review and virtual verbal consultations with practitioners around the world to identify and document tools for how organisations can better collect, synthesise and apply practice-based knowledge and experiential learning to prevent violence against women and girls across the sector.  It delivered a learning brief and interactive training sessions for prevention mentors within organisations on using the practice-based knowledge cycle to better prevent VAW/G in Southern contexts. To date, these have been piloted in Kenya and Myanmar.

PhotoVOICE 2.0: Harnessing religious women’s agency in responding to VAW and VAC

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The Zambian Anglican Church, with the help of Episcopal Relief and Development, invited the URDR to do in-depth research into the ways that the Zambian Mother’s Union (MU) contributes to or resists violence against women and against children. Participatory, qualitative research was conducted, primarily relying on an adapted form of Photovoice. Photovoice, a community-based participatory research method was uniquely adapted by the URDR team for use with new mobile technologies, to allow research with and by marginalised groups. Rural women, illiterate women, and women who only speak local languages could be included not only as participants, but as research assistants. Outputs related to this work include internal research reports, international conference presentations, media pieces and journal articles

Ending Violence Against Children Scoping Study, for Joint Learning Initiative for Faith & Local Communities

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The URDR delivered a multi-faith Scoping Study for the End Child Violence Hub of the Joint Learning Initiative on Faith and Local Communities. The study assessed the current evidence, identified emerging issues and provided insights for members, policy makers and practitioners for future research in relation to the various roles of faith communities in both perpetrating and ending violence against children. It included consultations with experts, six organisational case studies and a detailed literature review in collaboration with Queen Margaret’s University, Edinburgh. A set of reports and two learning briefs were published in 2019 and were translated into multiple languages as well as a webinar series. In 2020, a new phase of the partnership with JLI has started to document good practice case studies for the Consortium on Nurturing Values and Spirituality in Early Childhood for the Prevention of Violence for a forthcoming toolkit.

Training Multi-Faith Leaders in Liberia, for Episcopal Relief & Development

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The URDR updated a GBV toolkit for Muslim and Christian faith leaders in Liberia, to revise it and mainstream a more survivor-centred, trauma-sensitive power lens. The URDR also designed, developed and field-tested three new curriculum modules in Bong County, Liberia around 1) Trauma and Resilience; 2) Theological Frameworks for GBV prevention and 3) Violence against Children.

The URDR also conducted a comprehensive baseline evaluation for Episcopal Relief & Development’s VAWG Programme ‘Engaging Faith-Based Organisations to Prevent VAWG’. The baseline evaluation gathered and analysed relevant data and information on the project goal, objectives and outcomes to provide a baseline against which future evaluation data will be measured for impact and efficacy. It included quantitative and qualitative fieldwork in several counties in Liberia.

Research on religious and traditional leaders in VAWG prevention, for BMZ GIZ

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 The programme “Partnerships for Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Southern Africa” (PfP) is a programme funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), implemented in South Africa, Lesotho, and Zambia. The URDR is accompanying one of its flagship projects in Zambia, namely Religious and Traditional Actors Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls. The flagship is conceptualised, steered and implemented by a multi-stakeholder group.

Faith Communities and LGBT+ Belonging in South Africa, for The Other Foundation

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This research used a qualitative methodology to engage five Christian church denominations in South Africa to identify changes taking place within some faith spaces for queer inclusion and affirmation. It prioritises the voices and stories of LGBTIQ people of faith as key generators of evidence in the field if exclusion of queer bodies is to be addressed. A 2019 report entitled “From Exclusion to Embrace” has been published as well as media articles on this research and church sermons with dialogues between researchers and queer participants.  

In 2020, a second phase of the research started that included the development and piloting of a two-day sexuality workshop for inclusive churches. It brings queer and straight voices together in safe spaces for experiential storytelling. This work is being done in collaboration with local partner Genderworks.

Campus rape culture at Stellenbosch University

Working with a group of female staff and students from Stellenbosch University, this research project uses an adapted form of Photovoice to explore understandings of campus rape culture at the university. The aim of the research project is to focus on the drivers of campus rape culture, as experienced and understood by female students at SU. This entails looking at the dominant constructions of masculinities and femininities, the social influences on gender identity formation, and the practices that impact these. There is a focus on the constructions, influences and practices that promote campus rape culture, but also on those that can counter it. URDR outputs that highlight the need for this research include media articles, discussion pieces and journal articles.