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Addressing gender-based violence in Northern Ghana: the role of communication

Alo, S. A. (2018) Addressing gender-based violence in Northern Ghana: the role of communication. PhD thesis, University of Reading

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To link to this item DOI: 10.48683/1926.00078774


Gender-based violence (GBV) against women and girls is pervasive in sub-Saharan Africa, including Ghana, where one in three females has experienced violence of some kind. This gendered violence stems from multiple factors across the individual, relational, community and societal levels and are associated with many negative health consequences and developmental issues for women and girls. It is suggested that strategic development communication can serve as a tool to empower groups and individuals, and provide alternatives to cultural norms and practices that promulgate gender unequal power relationships. However, lack of gender perspectives poses challenges to the implementation of effective communication strategies and programme activities. This study examines the role of development communication in addressing GBV against women and girls in Northern Ghana through the operations of three case study non-governmental organisations, and a , review of certain print and broadcast media and government activities. The study employed both qualitative and quantitative research methods and a multiple case study approach to achieve its objectives. Data was gathered using focus group discussions, key informant interviews, communication mapping and diagramming techniques, questionnaires, direct observation and document review. The study found evidence of the usage of communication strategies including both media and social oriented methods and tools by the three NGOs in addressing GBV in northern Ghana. However, most communication activities ignored the important role of social change in facilitating community action against GBV. Raising awareness about GBV alone is not enough to tackle the root causes and gender unequal power relationships underpinning GBV against women and girls at multiple levels. Moreover, these communication interventions by NGOs were ad hoc, unsustainable and heavily reliant on the availability of funding thereby limiting a long-term approach and reducing the effectiveness of GBV interventions in Northern Ghana. Policies must be reviewed and implemented to address gender and communication in the fight against GBV and gender inequality in Ghana. Communication strategies must challenge the trend to trivialise gender reportage in the media; with a focus on influencing the general public towards non-acceptance of gender norms practices which perpetuate GBV against women, yet are firmly entrenched in cultural and religious dogmas. In summary, modes of communication and messages must be targeted to the appropriate audience, e.g. radio or community meetings for rural women who need to better understand their human rights, socio-economic empowerment and where to seek redress when abused.

Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Supervisor:Cardey, S.
Thesis/Report Department:School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
Identification Number/DOI:
Divisions:Life Sciences > School of Agriculture, Policy and Development
ID Code:78774
Date on Title Page:2017


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