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ActionAid Ireland – Using behaviour change to support women and girls achieving their rights

ActionAid Ireland receives funding from Ireland for its Women’s Rights Programme (WRPII) in Ethiopia, Kenya, and Nepal. WRPII supports safer and more economically secure lives for women and girls. WRPII also works with men and boys to encourage the adoption of positive behaviours to ensure the rights of women and girls within their community.

ActionAid Ireland and the Centre for Behaviour Change at University College London utilise the Centre’s Behaviour Change Wheel for gender work. This is an analysis process used to understand the behaviours underpinning a problem such as violence against women and girls, to identify positive behaviours and to consider how capability, opportunity, and motivation can influence positive behaviours (COM-B). The Behaviour Change Wheel also guides the types of interventions and policies which can support wider change in a society.

In Nepal, one intervention responded to sexual harassment on buses. Using COM-B, the process identified the bus conductor as the key person on a bus with the opportunity to stop an incident of sexual harassment. Positive behaviour by the conductor could also have a multiplier effect on passengers. The programme now works with bus drivers, unions, and transport companies to promote wider change. In Ethiopia, WRPII works with the Menja community to eliminate negative traditional practices around menstruation (such as forcing women to sleep outside of the house during their period) and supports work on improving women’s livelihoods.

Three years into the COM-B approach, ActionAid Ireland is considering how it can be expanded across the ActionAid Federation. They know that the approach needs time and must be community led, and firmly believe that COM-B creates the conditions for more lasting social change.


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