We are also targeting in particular those who have influence, including religious figures, political leaders, media and sports personalities, and activists, as well as those with more local-level influence. These influencers will help provide the momentum and critical mass that will deliver long–term change in acceptable attitudes and behaviour towards girls and women.
Recognising that bringing about these changes in society is a complex, long-term undertaking, V4C is using a combination of strategies on social transformation from around the world, and international experience on social behaviour change.
V4C is also focusing on changing social expectations, that is, the expectations of those living around the girl. This includes individuals’ beliefs about what others think and do, and what others expect them to do. This is essential, as the evidence shows that, while it is possible for social norms to change, people are reluctant to change until they believe that enough other people in their reference group (i.e. their community, village, school etc.) are changing too. Therefore, whilst V4C will work with adolescent girls and women to build their confidence and self-esteem to bring about change in them, the main change the programme seeks is in social norms.
Improving the Enabling Environment
V4C’s approach is focused on supporting the four key dimensions of the ‘enabling environment
- Helping adolescent girls and women to be in control of their lives;
- Changing perceptions and stereotypes about gender roles through promotion of new social norms;
- Strengthening gender-related legislation and women’s political participation; and
- Forming new partnerships with men’s organisations, and with traditional and faith-based institutions.
Working across these four areas will together reinforce changes in societal attitudes towards adolescent girls and women. This will in turn trigger further reduction of barriers to gender equality and entrenched negative social norms across the Nigerian society.
Theory of Change
V4C’s theory of change is the theoretical framework which underpins and guides the direction of the programme. The theory of change is made up of three rings (see diagram below), all of which work together to improve the enabling environment for girls and women in Nigeria. The theory of change and other strategies developed have shown clearly that none of the V4C outputs are standalone interventions or that they could be achieved without interaction with others.
In the first ring, V4C’s work will empower AGW by building life skills. By so doing, build her self-esteem and confidence to begin to speak up and speak out against discriminatory social norms and be involved in decision making that affects her life. V4C interventions are however not targeted towards the poorest of the poor girls and women but at girls and women who have some level of influence on others around them. Within this area of work we seek to achieve the following;
- Improve skills and knowledge of AGW and participation in decision making
- Adolescent girls and women provided with improved life, leadership and social skills
- Women and girls more able to make informed choices and control decisions that affect them
The second ring is where we seek to change negative social norms which limit and discriminate against adolescent girls and women by engaging with key influencers in society like religious and traditional leaders, men’s networks and celebrities. Within this area of work we seek to achieve the following;
- Media and communications programme to transform attitudes and behaviour towards adolescent girls and women
- Improved knowledge and attitudes among men and boys and society at large that challenge gendered social discrimination
- Attitudes, behaviours and social norms no longer constrain adolescent girls’ and women’s lives and perpetuate exclusion and poverty
The third ring is where we engage with formal institutions e.g. political party organisations, INEC, National Assembly and some government ministries department and agencies. Within this area of work we seek to achieve the following;
- Support the development of laws on gender equality and women empowerment and improve planning and budgeting for women
- Laws on gender equality and violence against women passed and being implemented, and planning, funding and delivery of government programmes taking full account of the needs of girls and women
Laws protect women’s and girl’s rights, enable them to own, inherit and control assets, and protect them from violence, female genital mutilation, early marriage and other harmful practices
Theory of Change Diagram
 See, for example,Mackie, G. and LeJeune, J. 2009. Social Dynamics of Abandonment of Harmful Practices: A NEW Look at the Theory. Innocenti Working Paper, Special Series on Social Norms and Harmful Practices; Paluck E and L Ball 2010. Social Norms Marketing aimed at gender based violence: A literature review and critical assessment, International Rescue Committee.