Economic and social costs of violence against women in South Sudan: Technical report
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Elmusharaf, K., Scriver, S., Chadha, M., Ballantine, C., Sabir, M., Raghavendra, S., Duvvury, N., Kennedy, J., Grant-Vest, S. and Edopu, P. 2019. Economic and Social Costs of Violence Against Women and Girls in South Sudan: Country Technical Report. Galway: NUI Galway.
Introduction Violence against women and girls (VAWG) is widely recognised as a violation of human rights and a challenge to public health. Further, VAWG is an under-examined, but crucial component of the overall crisis in South Sudan. VAWG has economic and social costs that have not been adequately recognised either in South Sudan or internationally. These costs not only impact individual women and their families but also ripple through society and the economy at large. The impacts of VAWG on economic development has not been adequately investigated, analysed or quantified in South Sudan. In recognition of the dearth of knowledge of these impacts and costs, particularly in fragile and developing contexts, the UK Department for International Development (DFID) funded this research to investigate the social and economic costs of VAWG in Ghana, Pakistan and South Sudan (2014– 2019), as part of its wider What Works to Prevent Violence research and innovation programme. A consortium, led by the National University of Ireland, Galway, with Ipsos MORI and in collaboration with Dr. Khalifa Elmusharaf from the University of Limerick, conducted the research to estimate the economic losses caused by VAWG as well as the non-economic costs of violence on the economic growth, development and social stability of South Sudan. A National Advisory Board, composed of stakeholders and policy-makers in South Sudan, provided important inputs to the research, ensuring the relevance of the findings to the context. Methods This study used a quantitative approach including surveys of individual women, households, and businesses. 1,996 women were surveyed in Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Jonglei, Warrap, Western Bahr-El-Ghazel and Western Equatoria; and employees and managers from 99 businesses in Juba and Yei completed surveys. The fieldwork was not attempted in protection of civilian camps or in areas where active conflict was ongoing due to concerns for the safety of interviewers. Additionally, the survey did not collect data on women’s experiences of conflict and how conflict was/is driving VAWG. Statistical analysis was undertaken to explore the broader ramifications of the costs of violence. Given the differences in economy between areas experiencing direct conflict and the areas we surveyed, estimates of the impacts of VAWG to the economy have been scaled to reflect only the areas surveyed. Assumptions and limitations A key assumption in the study is that any type of violence (economic, psychological, physical or sexual) has negative impacts for women experiencing such behaviours. We have therefore explored the economic impacts of any behaviour of violence across the different locations where women experience violence, including the home, the workplace, educational institutions and public spaces. Recognising the reluctance of women to disclose incidents of violence, we have to assume that prevalence is far higher than most studies can estimate. Where the number of women reporting violence is underestimated, then the costs of violence will be even more so. An important limitation of the study is that areas in active conflict were not included in this study. Thus, given the conflict situation in South Sudan, the survey covers only 38% of women aged 18–60 in South Sudan in 2016. Moreover, given the potential for significant differences in economic activity and social structure due to current conflict, it is not possible to extrapolate the findings of this study to the country as a whole. Hence, the estimates of this study provide an insight into the potential economic impact of violence experienced by women and girls for the broader economy with respect to the 38% population coverage. Furthermore, the costs estimated in this study are not comprehensive given the narrow focus on tangible costs. Estimates presented in this report must therefore be seen as an indication of the impact of VAWG and not a full accounting. Nevertheless, the contribution of knowledge from this project on the social and economic costs of violence, though incomplete, is an essential first step in making the economic case for investment in activities to prevent, reduce or eliminate VAWG.
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