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lahore-women-protest-1024ISLAMABAD: The World Bank Group and Sexual Violence Research Initiative (SVRI) has awarded funds to a Pakistani team from The Urban Institute and Information Technology University Data Science to investigate the environment that perpetuates the harassment of women at public transit systems.

The proposed study will try to find solutions to reverse this trend, said a statement issued by the World Bank here on Wednesday.

The winners will spend 18 months in a cross-disciplinary approach and focus on the Lahore Metrobus System to inform transit systems countrywide.

The Pakistani team is one of 10 teams from around the world awarded competitive funds totaling $1.14 million for innovations to prevent and respond to gender-based violence (GBV).

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 35 per cent of women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual partner violence or non-partner sexual violence in their lifetime.

Beyond the devastating personal costs, gender-based violence inflicts a steep economic toll: estimates of resulting lost productivity run as high as 3.7 per cent in some economies.

The Development Marketplace Awards aim to help individuals, communities, and nations stamp out GBV. The idea for the awards, which first launched one year ago, honours GBV victims and survivors around the world, and is in memory of Hannah Graham, daughter of a longtime World Bank employee.

The winners of this year's awards range from efforts to reduce inter-partner violence among refugees in Ethiopia to community approaches to prevent gender-based violence in the Amazon of Peru.

"Gender-based violence thrives on secrecy and indifference with devastating consequences," World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim said.

"We cannot stand by while so many women suffer harm that's completely preventable. Through this competition we hope to shine a spotlight on gender-based violence and inspire innovative solutions. It is my honour to congratulate and thank the 2017 Development Marketplace winners for taking action to end GBV."

An expert panel reviewed more than 200 proposals submitted to the Bank Group and SVRI following an open call in July 2016 for innovations to prevent GBV in low- and middle-income countries.

Winning teams, which received up to $150,000 each, were chosen based on overall merit, research or project design and methods, significance, team expertise, and ethical considerations.

"The efforts funded by this award will produce evidence which will enable policy makers to design effective policies and programmes to prevent and respond to gender-based violence thus contributing to a world in which women and children are free of violence and able to reach their full potential," said Alessandra Guedes, SVRI co-chair and Regional Advisor for Family Violence at the Pan-American health Organization/WHO.

"The SVRI and World Bank Group have identified a global portfolio of superb innovators that we can learn from."

The SVRI Grant, a global innovation award started in 2014, previously awarded more than $1 million to nine projects in seven countries.

SVRI uses an innovative mix of evidence-based information, communication and technology media; capacity-building workshops; on- granting and hosts an international forum every two years to advance and expand research on sexual and intimate partner violence globally.

Through the Development Marketplace platform, the World Bank Group and its partners have awarded more than $65 million in

funding to more than 1,200 innovative social enterprises and raised awareness about the role of social enterprises in addressing challenges facing the poor.

Copyright APP (Associated Press of Pakistan), 2017

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