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Intervention strategies

Last edited: July 03, 2013

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  • Once an assessment has been completed, organizations must decide which issue(s), gap(s) or problem(s) they will target with their programming—this is the “problem definition” stage in the Project Cycle diagram above.  When the key problems have been defined, organizations and individuals can begin to develop intervention strategies.
  • VAWG programme design must determine the most critical gaps that an organization can reasonably, ethically, and safely fill.  Intervention strategies should be selected based on:
    • the characteristics of the community and the targeted participants
    • the institution’s capacity to carry out the programme and its experience
    • the geographic setting and the stage of the emergency
    • the experience of other actors working in the same setting, or with similar interventions; good practice models can be used and modified if needed.
  • Interventions should also be inclusive of monitoring and evaluation strategies that will be in place throughout the duration of the programme and will allow the organization to see if activities are on track and help identify any unanticipated problems or barriers and quickly mitigate risks.
  • Even in the early stages of a humanitarian crisis, intervention strategies should also, whenever possible, consider how to ensure sustainable programming by taking into account models for longer-term interventions. (See Section IV:  Strategic Framework for Longer-term Interventions.)  
  • Coordination with other VAWG actors is essential in identifying the particular added value of an intervention, as well as in reducing the risk of replicating programming, making the most of limited resources, and working towards a comprehensive prevention and response action plan. (See Section  V:  Coordination as Key Component of Addressing VAWG.)
  • While every setting will present unique challenges that must be considered when developing intervention strategies, there are some challenges that are generally consistent across settings and should be taken into account, as identified below.

Designing Intervention Strategies

Key Challenges

Possible Solutions

Relevant Tools/Guidelines

Short Funding Cycles:  In conflict-affected settings, particularly in the early stages of an emergency, funding opportunities are often available only in short cycles (3, 6, and 12 months) and it can therefore be challenging to identify strategies for interventions that can be accomplished in short cycles, but that still maintain a long-term vision (Vann, 2004, Module 4).


  • If possible, work with the coordination mechanisms to advocate with donors for funding; this is most effectively done when coordination partners are working collaboratively towards common objectives and goals identified in an action plan.
  • Coordination Handbook

Sustainability of Interventions:

  • Whenever possible, work with local partners to build their capacity rather than introducing stand-alone projects  Approaching partnerships in a systematic and strategic way can help fill gaps, identify like-minded persons, include a more holistic approach to your programming, gain support from communities and government partners. 


  • Women’s organizations, in particular, often have a strong understanding of the local context, the capacity to mobilise communities, and knowledge of local authorities and structures. WROs are uniquely placed to create and sustain change at the community level and should be treated as innovators not only programme implementers (DFID, 2012)


DFID, A practical guide on community programming on violence against women and girls, p 6.


IRC. 2009. IRC Partnership Guide: Understanding Partnership and Applying Organizational Resources to Promote It. 


IRC.  2010.  Women of 100 Hands:  Civil Society Partnerships in GBV Prevention and Response; Principles and Promising Practices.


ARC . 2009. Partnership Approach Guidance and Tools.


Irish Joint Consortium Learning Brief (n.d.):  Effective responses for GBV:  Developing a Community-based Approach


Ethical and Safe Approaches




Coordination and Referral Strategies/Processes




 ‘Taking Programming to Scale’