The sustainability goals place emphasis on improving the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable. In this panel we reflect on what the anthropological imagination can bring to development programmes working on reducing social harm.
The sustainability goals emphasise the need to improve the health and wellbeing of the most vulnerable. Focus is placed on reducing violence against women and girls (VAWG) which are now acknowledged as the most embedded forms of abuse with shockingly high global prevalence rates. The category of VAWG includes 'harmful cultural practices' (e.g. child marriage, FGM, Infanticide, bride price and dowry), intimate partner violence, sexual assaults, work and school based harassment, rape during conflict, domestic violence. Multi and bi-lateral funded programmes bring ending VAWG together with access to justice and peace building. Increasingly anthropologists are being employed to generate new insights and data in relation to these programmes. In particular anthropologists are tasked with understanding the triggers for long-term mind-set change. In other words answer questions around what needs to happen for VAWG to be de-normalised, for families to no longer offer bride-price and dowry for their daughters, to end genital mutilation. Offering women and girls routes to recourse when they suffer abuse is seen as key to challenging its normalisation. Key questions we would like to explore; how can and are anthropologists contribute to the goal? Are the theories of change behind access to justice and VAWG programmes accurate? Are programmes complex enough to account for the web of factors that interplay in fragile contexts leading to or sustaining VAWG? In this panel we invite papers that reflect on what the anthropological imagination brings to multi-disciplinary development programmes with a particular focus on ending VAWG?