The Power of Data: How Women- and Gender-Focused Research Organizations Can Advance SDG 5
Questions & Answers


Wednesday, March 16, 2016
8:30 a.m.-10:00 a.m.
Church Center UN


In addition to questions answered during the program, panelists provided answers to additional questions submitted, but not addressed in person due to time limitations:


Q. In seems that each organization, NGO, institution is attempting to collect data on SDG-5. How can we ensure that we all work together in collaboration, to make data-collection and analysis an integrated and holistic process, without having overlaps and duplication in what each of us do? (Alina from SPRING Accelerator)

SD Sharma: One of the ways is to keep having symposiums like this where we come together and share our work. But beyond this, I feel archiving of your work/data is really important, and make that archive accessible to people. Not only online archives help in keeping track of what is already available, they are useful channels through which different institutions can exchange ideas and possibly even contribute to each others' archive.


Q. For Clementina Furtado—What are the laws regarding abortion in Cape Verde? I am interested to know more about the policy forcing women with disabilities to have abortions.

C. Furtado:

In terms of law we have the Constitution of the Republic of Cabo Verde which advocates for equal rights for all citizens, regardless of their social status (Article 23). We have the law on pregnancy No. 9 / III / 86 of December 31, and on February 14 they came up with decree number 7-87 (Law on Voluntary Interruption of Pregnancy). They legalized abortion when requested by pregnant women up to 12 weeks of pregnancy (the law is for all women). The law also allows the termination of pregnancy for reasons that have to do with health. They are also allowed to commit abortion in case the life of a pregnant woman is at risk; to preserve the physical or mental health of a pregnant woman; if the mental and physical health of the new born is at risk ( Article 3). Some women have financial limitations which force them to choose illegal abortions because it is cheaper causing serious problems for the mother. Cabo Verde also follows the national conventions and treaties, including the Convention of CEDAW and the Pequim Action Platform, ratified in 1994. The COMMITTEE of CEDAW conducted a study in 2010 and they reported the following aspects: shortage of information on the number of complaints of sexual and reproductive health, were missing. They also reported that there is lack of information related to reproductive health for women with disabilities, and reported cases of forced abortion and sterilization of disabled women (ICIEG 2013). Because of such complaints, our center (CIGEF) will conduct another study whereby the result will inform us and the policy makers to take measures to resolve this situation.


Q. Do you consider participants’ quotes can weaken a scientific research because it may turn it into a “narrative text” far from the scientific language we use in research? (Linda Alameddine from Partnership Center for Development & Democracy)

C. Furtado: 

It depends on the goals we have set and on the techniques used to collect and analyze data. I believe that statistics are very important. However, it is necessary to use other techniques that will help us better understand the data, thus giving a better consistency. In regards to the participant´s quotes, I think that they should be literally transcribed, and by doing so they will be value added to our research. The quotes from participants help us get information that statistics and documents would not provide us. Quotes serve as additional source of information. We should be able to use the quotes in a in a proper way.


Q. How can NGOs working with marginalized groups of women and girls, such as those with disabilities, work with research organizations to make sure they are counted in data and intersectionality is captured? (Meghan Hussey from Mosaic International)

C. Furtado:

One of the strategies to include all women and girls in these conditions is to invest in education, information and raise awareness regarding equal rights and opportunities for men and women. Studies conducted in 2012 showed us that, particularly in the case of people with disabilities, the situation is more complicated, especially for people with cerebral palsy. However, the partnerships between the various institutions have been successful as it has contributed for the inclusion of people with disabilities. The government should make the public policies to be more inclusive, because that is the only action that would satisfy us. The Institute for National Statistics is the one that provides us with information on disability in the country. We are aware that there are still situations of isolation of people with disabilities. However, efforts have been made to address this challenge. An important measure that has been taken has to do with the Strategic Plan for People Disability. The focus has been mainly on women. They get special attention, because they are the ones who are more vulnerable.


Q. How can we overcome the challenge of counting and collecting valid data on hidden populations, especially women and girls with disabilities in many less developed countries, who are often literally hidden due to shame and stigma? (Kelly Lytle from Mosaic International)

C. Furtado:

This is a great challenge, you're right. We have situations whereby people isolate their disabled family members for a long period of time. However, we have been working hard to raise awareness among these people, to empower them, so that they can understand that all human beings, regardless of their conditions, have the same rights to socialize. One of the major steps that have been taken is related to the elaboration of the Strategic Plan for people with disabilities: Education, vocational awareness and training, socio-economic inclusion. We also intend to raise awareness in our society to enable them to defend their rights. Although we have limited resource in our country, I think we have statistical data of high quality. I believe that today, more and more people with disabilities are taken into account as part of the national census. Nevertheless, we must continue to work with these families to avoid isolating them.

SD Sharma (for both previous questions): One of the ways is to target that shame and stigma by giving them visibility. I know a lot of work is now happening in the domain of sexuality & disability (, TARSHI), but we need more. The organizations working on these specific issues should take their work out in form of workshops, lectures, etc., as well the other research organizations should feature these issues to give them visibility.


Q. If the purpose of research is to find solutions, do you ever interview of survey the oppressors—the men/boys and government official who commit acts of gender-based violence? If so, what have you uncovered or found? If not, why not? (Gail Marquis from the WCW Council of Advisors)

C. Furtado:

The research conducted in Cabo Verde have mainly focused on victims, as well as on the implementation of policies related to gender equality and non-discrimination. The researchers seek to learn from victims what are the reasons, the length and consequences of the actions. I addition to that, they try to learn from public authorities, what are the measures taken to eliminate acts of gender-based violence and to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions. My understanding is that we should also analyze things from both sides. It is important to understand the reasons that drive the oppressors to be so. Also, it is necessary to understand that effective measures are being or will be in place with the purpose of tackling such phenomena. The government officials who deal with these issues should be interviewed. The Law on Gender Based Violence includes the recovery of the perpetrators, aiming at preventing the situation from happening again and to as well as consequences of their actions: Article 17th on Aggressor Recovery says that the government will create conditions to promote the recovery of the aggressors. That is, they will have access to psychological or psychiatric support programs, education and prevention of GBV.


Q For Shiv Datt Sharma—I work for the HIV/AIDS Alliance. I am interested in the use of HIV/AIDS data. We have done a study on IPV against MSTY [sic], Transgender and Hijira populations. The trend of the HIV/AIDS lens requires people to self identify of accept HIV categories. Have you been thinking about this? (Claire Mathonsi from International HIV/AIDS Alliance)

SD Sharma:


Hi Claire. Thanks for your question. I am really interested to know more about your work on IPV.

You are correct in pointing out the problem of self-identification. That is one of the reasons why I talked about the Section 377 in my presentation, because the MSMs, Transgender, or Hijras are driven underground due to the fear of being prosecuted under 377, making it difficult for people & organizations working on HIV/AIDS services to reach out to them. There are several problems in our current methods; some of them being with the criteria for selection of organizations for implementation of targeted interventions, and skewed mapping of sites (which are mostly identified as cruising sites- parks, public toilets). TIs currently reach out largely to Kothis, and only a limited group of MSMs and hijras. These are mostly people that are easily identifiable (due to their feminine appearance, etc.), and there is very limited outreach to cisgendered homosexuals or FTM transgenders. Then, most of these efforts are restricted to either low-scale local organizations that do not have enough capacity, or national level programmes such as NACP which have limited interaction with CBOs.

I think in order to deal with these problems we need to focus on rights-based initiatives by NGOs and CBOs. That will help people to understand the issue and come out to avail these services. We need more drop-in centres (some of them were earlier run by Naz Foundation). I also think partnerships with online dating platforms can be useful to get data, as well as to reach out to people who remain to be invisible. We need more attitudes-survey on HIV, especially among transgenders, and more research on male-sex workers (again, online platforms can be useful for this).


Q. For PeiYao Chen—Please give more information about your framework. You mentioned opening a SPHR Clinic. Do you go deeper? Many SRHR clinics reinforce discrimination in the way they offer services. (Claire Mathonsi from International HIV/AIDS Alliance)

PY Chen:


Thank you, Claire. To answer this question I would like to briefly describeGlobal Fund for Women’s Theory of Change, that is, the change we want to see and how we get there.

Global Fund for Women’s vision is “every woman and girl is strong, safe, powerful, and heard. No exceptions.” To achieve this vision, we seek to create long-term social transformation in ending gender based violence, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and economic and political empowerment for women and girls.

Creating these long-term social transformations requires change at four domains. They include increased awareness among women and girls of their human rights, increased access to resources services, and power for women and girls, change in social norms and practices, and change in policies and laws. We believe that for social transformation to have the greatest impact and be sustainable change must occur in all four domains. Change that does not occur in all four domains will have less impact and be less sustainable.

Global Fund for Women’s approach focuses on movement building because research has shown that broad-based social movements are one of the most effective ways to create long-term social transformations. We use our powerful network to rally advocates, raise money, and get support to where it’s most urgently needed. We fund and partner with women-led groups who are collectively fighting for justice in their own communities.

We use our Theory of Change as a framework to select grantee partners and to measure progress. We support women’s rights organizations that are part of a bigger movement and are using a rights based approach to create change in more than one domains. Opening a clinic to provide SRHR services for women and girls is one example we used in the video to illustrate the change regarding access to resources and services. Organizations that only provide SRHR services would not be selected for funding. Applicants must demonstrate how service provision fit into their overall approach to address the root cause of the issues facing women and girls in their communities. In most cases, our grantee partners combines service provision with awareness raising, policy advocacy, and/or challenging harmful traditional norms and practices, that condone and perpetuate gender inequality.



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