About us

Who we are

The ‘What Works to Prevent Violence – Impact at Scale’ Programme is a seven-year initiative funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) that builds on the success of 'What Works 1' to scale-up effective and innovative interventions to stop violence before it starts.

What works

What Works 1 was an innovative global programme working in 13 countries to build the evidence base on what works to prevent violence in low-middle income settings. Rigorously evaluated projects under Phase 1 of What Works reduced violence by as much as 50% in 2-3 years.

Preventing violence against women and girls

We recognise gender inequality as one of the root causes of VAWG, intersecting with other forms of oppression and discrimination, that work to advantage men and disadvantage women and gender-diverse people. Preventing VAWG is therefore interconnected with advancing gender equality and dismantling unequal power structures.

Our grantee partners

A key part of the programme is supporting our grantee partners to develop new and innovative evidence-based approaches to scale up efforts to prevent VAWG. These approaches are led by women’s rights organisations in the Global South and are key to advancing gender equality across all sectors and systems.

How we work

Prioritise innovation

Design, pilot and test new theory-driven violence prevention approaches led by Southern women’s rights organisations.

Support impact at scale

Identify small-scale evidence-based approaches on preventing VAWG and support efforts to scale them up. This includes integrating VAWG prevention in sectors such as education and health.

Build the evidence base

Systematically design, implement and evaluate VAWG prevention approaches. This will help translate proof-of concept evidence into robust, large-scale programmes and strategies that can influence a more effective global response to end VAWG.

Influence policy 
and practice

Support use of evidence and drive more effective national and global responses to end violence against women and girls through external engagement.

Strengthen the field

Strengthen the long-term capability and capacity of grantees, the UK Government (principally FCDO) and countries in the Global South to deliver cutting edge, evidence-based violence prevention programmes.

Guided by feminist principles

We recognise VAWG is the manifestation of the intersections of gender inequality with other forms of oppression and discrimination against women and girls.

Stay accountable

We will centre all women and girls affected by violence in all of our work and be accountable to women and girls affected by violence in the Global South.

Feminist principals

Gender focused

We will centre all women and girls affected by violence in all of our work, and ensure our work responds to the range of experiences of those women and girls.


The What Works II Programme will first and foremost be accountable to women and girls affected by violence in the Global South.


We will use the power and resources provided by the What Works II Programme to amplify the voices of women and girls affected by violence, and to challenge systemic inequalities and patriarchal structures that perpetuate violence at all levels.


We will adopt an intersectional approach throughout the programme, recognising the multiple sources of oppression and discrimination that affect women and girls, expose them to violence, and determine their opportunities for safety, healing and recovery.


We will work collaboratively and reflexively within the consortium and with all other organisations, individuals and groups involved in the What Works II Programme. We will create ways of working that share ownership, visibility and decision-making and challenge existing power inequalities, while recognising this is difficult work and an on-going learning process.


We will prioritise ‘doing no harm’ and the safety, well-being and care of each other and all those involved in and impacted by our work.

Our people

Implementation consortium - Programme management unit

Emily Esplen is the Head of Ending Gender-Based Violence at the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office, where she co-manages the What Works Programme. Prior to this, she was head of the Gender Equality Team at the OECD’s Development Directorate and co-ordinated the DAC Network on Gender Equality (GenderNet). She has previously worked on women’s rights policy and advocacy for a number of women’s rights organisations and as a researcher on gender at the Institute of Development Studies. She is passionate about generating and supporting the use of evidence to inform more effective policy and practice.

Research consortium - Programme management team

The Programme Management Team comprises of staff from the Research Consortium's core partners and is responsible for leading the day-to-day functioning of the consortium and its diverse workforce as well as providing oversight, technical leadership and financial and contract management for the consortium, the Working Groups and to the research partners.The Research Consortium's Programme Management Team will coordinate closely with the Implementation Consortium.

Consortium partners

The 'What Works to Prevent Violence - Impact at Scale' Programme will be delivered through two consortia: the Implementation Consortium, managing the overall programme and led by the International Rescue Committee; and the Research and Evaluation Consortium, delivering impact evaluations and operational research to identify what works in preventing violence, led by the Global Women's Institute.

Implementation Consortium

  • Research and Evaluation Consortium