In honor of the UN Women’s 16 Days of Activism to fight gender-based violence (GBV), the Alliance has awarded funding for research to evaluate the links between clean cooking solutions and GBV in humanitarian settings. The research, to be conducted by Plan International Spain, in partnership with Johns Hopkins University and Plan International Rwanda, will take place in a Rwandan refugee camp over a 12-month period and will examine the impact of a clean cookstoves distribution program, along with a livelihoods intervention on the risk of gender-based violence, including intimate partner violence and non-partner violence.  Plan’s research will investigate the potential of clean cooking interventions, paired with agency-based empowerment training using the Alliance’s Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook, to reduce the risk of GBV.

Over the last 20 years, international concern over GBV in humanitarian settings has grown substantially. Recent detailed assessments suggest GBV rates between 25% and 75% (UN Women, 2013), with women and adolescents at the highest risk.  The Alliance is commissioning this research after a recent white paper determined that current data and research was insufficient to make a clear link between clean cookstoves interventions and the occurrence of GBV.

“This research study in Rwanda’s Mahama refugee camp constitutes an excellent opportunity to contribute to the international efforts of understanding the intricate relationship between the use of cookstove and fuel interventions and the prevalence of gender based-violence in humanitarian settings,” said Eduardo Reneses, Program Director of Plan International Spain. “Once results are ready, they will inform Plan International’s work in Mahama, as the organization is responsible for child protection and gender-based violence in the camp, as well as many other organizations working in refugee camps worldwide.”

While humanitarian settings can increase the risk of violence, the underlying causes are often existing attitudes and beliefs that promote or allow discrimination and violence against women and girls. Previous research conducted by Johns Hopkins University’s Bloomberg School of Public Health using an agency-based empowerment training has shown promise in addressing GBV and IPV in low-resource settings with disenfranchised populations. Many of these agency-based empowerment methods are integrated in the Alliance’s Empowered Entrepreneur Training Handbook and have resulted in significant impacts on women’s economic and overall wellbeing.