Nepal, radio, drama, GBV, SGBV, Gender based violence, sexual gender based violence, intimate partner violence, film, research, mutual understanding, marriage, married couple, curriculum, community researchers

The B.I.G Change: Change Starts at Home

EAI launched Change Starts at Home to expand our work with Nepali women and girls. This unique project has been designed to test our social behavior change and norms methodologies with rigorous academic research and independent impact assessment.

A Project of
Nepal, UK Department for International Development (DFID); Emory University; South African Medical Research Council (MRC)

Project Mission — Working with couples to prevent intimate partner violence in Nepal.

The program had a very influential impact in our life. Earlier he did not talk to me about any of his plans… Now we talk to each other about most of the things we do. Even our sexual relationship only happens after mutual content.” 

– Bikani, Change Start at Home participant

According to our baseline survey, conducted in 2016, with 1,800 women spread across three Nepalese districts (Nawalparasi, Chitwa, and Kapilvastu), 1 in 3 (30.3%) women reported physical and sexual partner violence within the last year. At the same time, nearly a third (29%) had experienced emotional partner abuse.

PROJECT ACTIVITIES: 

Across the three districts, 360 married couples participated in the nine-month intervention, which included a comprehensive curriculum – the B.I.G Change Curriculum – weekly interactive Listening and Discussion Group meetings, community outreach activities and an innovative 39 episode radio drama series call Mutual Understanding (Samajdhari). Combined, these components address social norms, attitudes, and behaviors that perpetuate violence against women and girls.

Change Starts at Home (Change) is a continuation of the ground-breaking work implemented in our UNTF funded, multi-award-winning Voices program. Part of the Department for International Development (DFID)’s flagship ‘What Works to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls’ research and innovation program, Change is one of 13 innovation grants, led by the South African Medical Research Council. A key part of the ‘What Works’ focus is to generate rigorous evidence on what is effective to prevent VAWG. For this, EAI works with Emory University. Our local partners include Interdisciplinary Analysts (IDA) and Vijaya Development Resource Center (VDRC)

The project’s primary objective was to give married couples the knowledge, skills, and space to safely address power imbalances in their relationships, the impact is reinforced by activities that aim to bring couples, their families, and community leaders together in a movement to change social norms, attitudes, and practices. As a result of the program, couples reported they are arguing less, making decisions together and discussing financial plans. Couples are sharing household chores, childcare, and engaging in consensual sexual relations.

Ashram, Nepal, Change Starts at Home, Gender Violence, Domestic Violence, Radio

"We learned how to analyze the consequences of our behavior and how it will impact us. Now, even when I get angry, I remember the things that were discussed in the sessions and try to tame my temper."

The Change Starts at Home intervention is part of a randomized controlled trial (RCT) implemented by Emory University that focuses on the impact of activities on IPV rates and norms at the community level. The final phase of the study is currently underway. The goal of the endline data study is to prove that one year after the initial program ended, the normative changes between the couples are far-reaching and long-lasting.

Additionally, EAI received a grant from the World Bank (link to project page) to study the impact of norms diffusion. Evidence supporting the best strategies to measure and track norms change at the community level is nearly nonexistent. Most evidence is produced via laboratory experiments or game theory leaving IPV researchers without tools and processes to determine the impact and pathways to larger-scale norms change. The World Bank-supported study will contribute to minimizing the gap in evidence on the diffusion of gender norms in low-income settings with the end-goal of preventing violence against women (VAW) more broadly. Finally, EAI is in the process of combining all of the Change Starts at Home materials into a toolkit that can be made available to peers and practitioners to scale the impact of this important work.

Impact & Reach of this Project

93%

of couples completed the program.

350+

Married couples participated in this nine-month program.

90%+

Couples said that they noticed a positive change in themselves or in their relationship.

I know if it weren’t for my wife, then my home would have been destroyed. My wife endured everything in the hope that I would change and now we have a good relationship… I even tell my friends and neighbors about the good things I have learned from the radio program and the weekly sessions. Ashram
Change Starts at Home participant

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