Participatory research

Participatory research

The Power of PEER

Participatory Ethnographic Evaluation and Research (PEER) is an innovative research methodology FORWARD uses to understand the links between the multiple forms of violence women and girls experience.

This unique approach gives real insights into the day-to day experiences of women and girls dealing with ‘hard to discuss’ issues, such as female genital mutilation, child marriage and domestic violence. Through PEER we understand the complexities of the social, cultural, political and economic factors responsible for continuing harmful practices. Combined, these insights allow us to develop evidence-based intervention programmes and local support networks that respond directly to the actual needs of women and girls in practicing communities.

“We can’t stop our campaign until things improve for girls in our community. Our motto in our network is ‘Together, we can make change’. And I believe we can.” Kurwa, 19 year old PEER educator and advocate

Community members as researchers

We believe that long-lasting change is achieved by engaging with women and girls in a respectful and meaningful way. Our process begins by listening, observing and understanding. Using the PEER approach, we train women and girls in the community in the role of trusted researchers. As trusted interviewers, they capture rich insights from their peers on their day to day experiences and relationships, both in private and public spaces.

PEER trainees are encouraged to take part in shaping the programmes we develop to support them. We use their feedback on the shifts in behaviour towards harmful practices, as well as new social and cultural barriers to strengthen our responses.

PEER’s agents of change

The PEER training increases the number of girls and women armed with the knowledge and confidence to support each other and advocate for their rights.

“The project has built confidence among girls and we can educate others on our basic rights. In the Kurya society, it is not easy for a girl to defend her rights in front of her family, or the village elders, but now I can talk to my family about anything without fear.” (Peer interview, Tarime 2016)


Our Research

"A Big Wake Up Call"

Participatory study on shifts in attitudes towards FGM among community women in Bristol

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