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Confl Health. 2018 Jan 31;12:5. doi: 10.1186/s13031-018-0138-0. eCollection 2018.

Evaluating the communities care program: best practice for rigorous research to evaluate gender based violence prevention and response programs in humanitarian settings.

Author information

1Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing, 525 North Wolfe Street, Unit 435, Baltimore, MD 21205 USA.
Comitato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo dei Popoli (CISP) Somalia, Nairobi, Kenya.
UNICEF, Juba, South Sudan.
Consultant, Gender based violence in Emergencies, Sydney, Australia.
5UNICEF, New York, NY USA.



Gender-based violence (GBV) is a significant issue for women and girls in humanitarian settings. Innovative primary prevention programs are being developed and implemented with existing response programs to change harmful social norms that sustain GBV in humanitarian settings. Social norms are expectations of how women, men, girls and boys should behave, who should have power and control over behavior, and how families and communities value women and girls and support their rights and opportunities.


The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) led Communities Care program is a primary prevention and response program designed from the understanding that within the context of conflict and displacement, there is an opportunity for positive change in social norms that support gender equity, and decrease GBV. The goal is to support communities in humanitarian settings to create healthy, safe and peaceful environments with quality response services for women and girls by transforming harmful social norms that uphold violence into norms that promote dignity, equity, and non-violence.


This manuscript will highlight the use of best practices in GBV research to rigorously evaluate the Communities Care program in two diverse in humanitarian settings, Somalia and South Sudan.

Conflict of interest statement

The appropriate federal and state government ministry in each of Somalia and South Sudan and the Johns Hopkins Medical Institution Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved the study protocol and oral (phase 1 and 2) and written consent (phase 3). The government ministry provided a letter of approval to Johns Hopkins and the local implementing partners to use as they reached out to authorities and key stakeholders to implement the research and evaluation in each participating community.The authors of the manuscript provide consent for the publicationThe research and evaluation was undertaken by Johns Hopkins University (NG, NP, AC). NG, NP, AC declare no competing interests The Communities Care program was developed by UNICEF staff and consultants (MM and SRH). JM and AR staff of UNICEF South Sudan monitored and supported the implementing partners in South Sudan.Springer Nature remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations.

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