Data to action research course

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London school of hygiene and tropical medicine lshtm logo

Call for course participants

Training, empowering and resourcing the next generation of researchers, advocates and activists committed to ending violence against children, especially sexual violence, is one of the most important investments we can make.

The Violence Against Children and Youth Surveys (VACS) are nationally representative household surveys of adolescents and young people that measure the prevalence and circumstances surrounding sexual, physical and emotional violence in childhood and young adulthood.

This course will support, engage and equip early career researchers (post-doctoral, research fellow, research associate) to conduct research using VACS data and communicate findings to policymakers and key stakeholders.

Researchers working on child health, protection, violence, and child rights issues in universities or research institutions located in Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Moldova, Mozambique and Namibia are welcome to apply to join the first cohort of participants for this new course.

Motivation: Training early career researchers

The VACS are led by national governments, with technical assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as part of the Together for Girls partnership. Since 2020, Together for Girls and the CDC have partnered with the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras (UNAH), the Africhild Center of Uganda, and researchers in Cote d’Ivoire to carry out research fellowships aimed at developing skills in using VACS data to inform policy decisions.

To further improve the use of VACS data to inform action, violence prevention and policy making, Together for Girls and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) have co-created a course to support early career researchers from countries that have completed a VACS to conduct research with VACS data and communicate their findings to policymakers in their respective countries. This initiative is supported by Beckton Dickinson (BD).

Course description

Course length and timings

The course will take place from June to October 2023. Ten two-hour sessions will be delivered in English via Zoom approximately every 4-5 weeks. Session timings will be finalised with the cohort of selected participants based on time zones of participants and the teaching team.


Participants will receive compensation (USD $1,000) upon completion of the course and course deliverables.

Course objectives

After the course, participants are expected to:

  • Understand approaches to violence measurement and analyses of violence data in the context of the VACS
  • Complete a research project using VACS data:
    • Develop research questions that can be answered by VACS data
    • Apply and use the appropriate statistical methods to answer the research question using VACS data
  • Summarize key findings into a presentation and communicate these findings to a local policy community

Course design

Content: The course will cover the following topics:

  • Theory and practice of violence measurement and how this applies to the VACS
  • How to design research questions and use conceptual frameworks to study violence, related inequalities and links between violence and other health outcomes
  • Statistical approaches and techniques that can be applied to VACS data
  • Science communication, including techniques and strategies to communicate research findings

Teaching approach. The course will be taught through a combination of:

  • Lectures, seminars and practical sessions where participants will have the opportunity for further interaction and discussion with the teaching team and fellow participants.
  • Mentoring sessions where participants will be supported by other violence researchers. Course participants will later have the opportunity to act as buddies for future course participants.
  • Course feedback where participants will have the opportunity to complete feedback surveys before, during and after the course to contribute to how the course is designed and delivered.

Outputs: Building on the skills developed throughout the course, participants will complete a research project and present key findings to a local policy community.

The course team

London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine staff members on this course:

Together for Girls staff members on this course:

In addition to the teaching team, course participants will receive mentorship from a team of violence researchers. Course instruction will be in English, with mentorship support in French, Spanish and Portuguese.


The ideal candidate will be a junior faculty member or early career researcher (post-doctoral, research fellow, research associate) based at a university or research institution in any of the following countries where VAC surveys have been conducted: Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Moldova, Mozambique and Namibia.

Essential criteria:

  • A university degree or higher in a related field (e.g. public policy, public health, epidemiology, statistics, etc.)
  • Familiarity with survey research methods and analysis of nationally representative survey data
  • Ability to run and interpret descriptive statistics and an understanding of statistics and research terminology
  • Knowledge of at least one of the following data analysis software packages: STATA, SAS, SPSS, R
  • Strong writing skills as demonstrated by resume and letter of application. 
  • Ability to devote an average of 10 hours/month to the course.
  • Affiliation to a university or research institution based in Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, El Salvador, Honduras, Kenya, Lesotho, Moldova, Mozambique or Namibia.

Desirable criteria:

  • Prior or current experience with VACS data
  • Ability to run and interpret linear and logistic regression models
  • An understanding of gender and gender-based violence and commitment to preventing violence against women, girls, and boys
  • Clear communicator with the ability to explain complex research concepts to multiple stakeholders.

How to apply

In the application form, you will be asked to share the following information:

  1. Curriculum vitae (no more than two pages)
  2. Your interest and skills as related to the course
  3. The research topic you are interested in exploring using the VACS data during this course. This will include telling us about: 1) the research questions you would like to answer using VACS data during the course, 2) the research methods you would use, and 3) how your proposed research could contribute to programs and policies for children in your country.

We will contact all applicants who are selected for an interview. Interviews will be via Zoom with members of the teaching team. Interviews will be a conversation about your research experiences, prior work on violence and child protection, goals for this course and an opportunity for you to ask us any questions.

Applicants who are selected will require a letter of support from their institution (one page).

Please note that we will not be evaluating you on your English language ability. Although the course will be taught in English, you will be able to complete the project in the language of your choice.

Deadline for applications is April 12, 2023 (end of day Eastern Time). Applications received after April 12 may be considered on a rolling basis, space permitting, until May 1, 2023.

For questions, please contact data@togetherforgirls.org at least five days before the deadline.