Cure Violence: Baltimore City Health Department, Baltimore, United States

From 2007 to 2010, the Baltimore City Health Department implemented the Safe Streets project — a replication of the Cure Violence model originally developed in Chicago. The project was carried out in four of Baltimore’s most violent neighborhoods, engaging hundreds of high-risk youth, promoting non-violence through community events, and mediating over 200 conflicts which might have led to a shooting.

One of the keys to the success of Safe Streets was the participation of street outreach workers — often former gang members — who worked with high-risk individuals to ‘interrupt’ and mediate violent conflicts, act as positive role models, and encourage them to go into employment or educational training. During the programme, outreach workers helped 52% of youth settle an average of two disputes, 28% of which involved guns and 91% of which avoided violence. 80% of individuals reported that their lives were “better” since participating in Safe Streets.

Overall, Safe Streets was associated with 5.4 fewer homicide incidents and 34.6 fewer non-fatal shootings. In Cherry Hill — the neighbourhood where the programme was most successful — there was a statistically significant reduction of 56% in homicides and 34% in non-fatal shootings.

Cure Violence has been adapted in 16 cities in 45 neighborhoods across the United States, as well as in South Africa, Iraq, Kenya, Trinidad and Tobago, and London.

Read the scientific evaluations.


The Image Project: Limpopo Province, South Africa

The IMAGE project was conducted in eight rural villages in the South African province of Limpopo. The study teamed up with the Small Enterprise Foundation, which provided loans to some of the region’s poorest women to help them establish profitable businesses.

Individual women ran the businesses while groups of 40 women met every two weeks to repay loans, apply for additional credit, discuss business plans, and participate in a two-phase training intervention. During the first phase, women attended 10 one-hour learning programmes to discuss gender roles, cultural beliefs, relationships, communications, domestic violence and HIV. The second phase allowed women to select a smaller group of peers that attended a weeklong leadership training. They then returned to their loan centres to work with other women, mobilising the community, and educating young people and men about gender equity, intimate partner violence and HIV.

The initiative had a positive effect on a variety of outcomes for women and their children. Loan repayment rates of 99% led to increased food security and household assets; women showed higher levels of self-confidence and capacity for collective action and — within a two-year period — intimate partner violence was reduced by 55% among women who participated in the project.

Read evaluation:
The Lancet


The Early Enrichment Project: Acev, Istanbul, Turkey

The Early Enrichment Project was a four-year study, carried out between 1982 and 1986 in five low-income districts in Istanbul. It aimed to create a literate family environment among socially under-privileged mothers and their children. 255 families with children aged 3 and 5 were involved in the study. Mothers of 35% of the children participated in biweekly, one-hour discussions on child development and parenting led by local coordinators.

In addition, ‘mother’s aides’ — trained mothers from the same communities — visited participants at home every other week. During the visits they provided learning materials to parents and taught them how to use the materials with their children. After two years, the evaluation found that mothers in the participant group demonstrated better parent-child communication, a 73% reduction in harsh physical punishment, and fewer problem behaviours among their children.

Seven years later a follow-up study found that participating mothers had improved their literacy and spousal relationships and, on average, that their children had lower dropout rates, higher primary school grades, and better vocabulary scores.

In 1993, the methods from this project provided the basis for collaboration between ACEV and the Turkish Ministry of Education to set up the Mother Child Education Programme. The programme has since been replicated in 13 countries and reaches 700,000 people.

Read the evaluation:
Journal of Applied Developmental Psychology


Regulating the Sale of Alcohol: City Authorities of Diadema, Brazil

Before 2002, Diadema had one of Brazil’s highest homicide rates. Research indicated that 60% of homicides and 45% of complaints about violence against women occurred between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. in neighbourhoods — having many bars and high alcohol consumption.

As a solution, Diadema’s mayor adopted a municipal code prohibiting the sale of alcohol after 11 p.m. Local officials gave households brochures to emphasise the need for the law and radio and news announcements help educate people about its importance. A survey after the intervention revealed that 93% of the residents supported the law. The law’s success was also facilitated by the cooperation of alcohol retailers.

Homicides fell from an average of 22 per month before the intervention to 12 per month afterwards. Further evidence suggested that 319 homicides were prevented during the programme’s first three years — a 44% decline from what was expected without the law. The intervention also prevented an estimated 1,051 assaults against women between July 2002 and July 2005 — a reduction of 56% from predicted assaults. Since the law’s introduction, at least 120 municipalities have adopted similar policies and the Brazilian government is funding towns to facilitate the law’s enforcement. The intervention also had a positive economic influence, turning the once downtrodden city of Diadema into a model of “urban renewal.”

Read the evaluation:
American Journal of Public Health