Enhancing and Making Programs and Outcomes Work to End Rape (EMPOWER) II Program
Purpose of the Program
Sexual violence is a significant public health problem in the United States (U.S.). The National Injury Control and Risk Survey conducted between 2001 and 2003 found that 10.2% of women and 2.1% of men reported experiencing a completed rape at some time in their lives.1 For additional information see CDC’s web site on sexual violence.
Enhancing and Making Programs and Outcomes Work to End Rape (EMPOWER) II seeks to reduce the incidence of sexual violence in states by building capacity to evaluate and sustain sexual violence prevention strategies.
History of the Program
EMPOWER II builds on the first three years of activities conducted under EMPOWER I. From 2005-2008 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) funded four Rape Prevention and Education (RPE) states (Colorado, Massachusetts, North Dakota and North Carolina) and had Memorandum of Understanding (MOU’s) with two additional RPE states (Kentucky and New Jersey). The purpose of EMPOWER I was to build individual and prevention system capacity for sexual violence prevention and program planning among a subset of RPE programs. Under EMPOWER I states brought together diverse planning teams to develop comprehensive state sexual violence prevention plans using an empowerment evaluation approach.
EMPOWER II continues the work conducted under EMPOWER I by developing evaluation and sustainability plans for the goals and objectives identified in the states’ comprehensive sexual violence prevention plans.
Primary prevention is the cornerstone of the EMPOWER II Program. Since EMPOWER II is a subset of the RPE Program the states are guided by the same prevention principles as the RPE Program.
Additionally, EMPOWER II focuses on building individual and sexual violence prevention system capacity for evaluation and sustainability. Individual capacity includes knowledge, skills, resources and motivation necessary to implement, evaluate, and sustain strategies that are likely to lead to a reduction in the incidence of sexual violence. A sexual violence prevention system is the network of individuals, groups, and/or organizations that, through their interaction, have the potential to enhance the primary prevention of sexual violence. Sexual violence prevention system capacity includes the following dimensions: overall operating environment, leadership, strategic planning, information, community and constituency focus, human resources, system operations and results/outcomes.
EMPOWER II utilizes an empowerment evaluation approach for building capacity. Empowerment evaluation is an evaluation approach that aims to increase the probability of achieving strategy success by providing stakeholders with tools for assessing the planning, implementation and self-evaluation of their strategy and by mainstreaming evaluation as part of the planning and management of their organizations.2
The six state Departments of Health that receive EMPOWER II funding are:
- Working with the diverse planning teams convened under EMPOWER I to develop evaluation and sustainability plans.
- Implementing sexual violence prevention system capacity goals and objectives identified in their comprehensive state sexual violence prevention plans. This will help build the infrastructure required for sexual violence prevention.
- Building capacity of the state as well as local RPE funded programs to collect and utilize evaluation data.
- Supporting the evaluation capacity development of non-EMPOWER II RPE states, grantees are sharing lessons learned, processes and tools.