International Society for Violence and Injury Prevention (ISVIP)
Capacity Building and Mentoring on Injury and Violence Prevention and Safety
Promotion in the world.
Amongst the goals of the ISVIP are to:
• Facilitate information exchange, collaborative efforts and partnerships among
practitioners, policy makers, advocates and researchers;
• Advocate at national and international level for increasing investment in injury
and violence prevention and research;
• Serve as umbrella organisation to connect the various international societies
with specific focus on injury and violence prevention and safety promotion- and
promoting their meetings.
• Organize scientific conferences and meetings, particularly the World
Conferences on Injury Prevention and Safety Promotion under the agreement
established with WHO and the groups of WHO Collaborating Centers; however
ISVIP is interested in investigating existing and newly emerging technologies
which could be used by members to communicate more efficiently and
accordingly to their specific fields of interest or expertise.
• Promote capacity development for injury and violence prevention and research.
Capacity Building is thus central among ISVIP functions and goals
ISVIP has always (See recent paper on Strategies) emphasized the importance of
galvanizing global advocacy efforts - this requires capacity building in terms of
advocacy tactics, marketing etc. This will be one strategic priority of ISVIP within the
capacity building area
What is Capacity Building?
Traditionally Capacity building has referred to the assistance provided by experts to
entities, usually societies, which have a need to develop a certain skill or competence, or
for general upgrading of performance ability. By 1991 the term had evolved from what
was initially (1970's) called “institution building” to become 'capacity building'.
This top - down interpretation of Capacity Building, might unintentionally foster
dependence and control
It is better to understand capacity building as a long-term, continuing process, in which
all stakeholders participate on equal footing (ministries, local authorities, non-
governmental organizations and user groups, professional associations, academics and
others)within the public, the non-governmental, and the private sector.
Therefore, Capacity Building is much more than training and includes the following:
• Human resource development, the process of equipping individuals with the
understanding, skills and access to information, knowledge and training that
enables them to perform effectively.
• Organizational development, the elaboration of management structures,
processes and procedures, not only within organizations but also the
management of relationships between the different organizations and sectors
(public, private and community).
• Institutional and legal framework development, making legal and regulatory
changes to enable organizations, institutions and agencies at all levels and in all
sectors to enhance their capacities.
The complexity of the problem of injury/violence prevention, and safety promotion and
how they are situated and interpreted within the new world order that is under constant
change, defies our understanding and creativity. Not every one is willing to accept the
need to include safety as a fundamental need and right. The concepts of prevention and
promotion continue to be difficult to grasp especially by health care providers and
financers, partly because of the fact that the results of safety promotion and injury
prevention are a series of “non events”. Additionally, safety cannot be defined in
absolute terms, but rather has to be understood as a dynamic state and not merely
reflected by the absence of injuries and threats. This can give rise to educational
problems and impose huge demands on persons and institutions working with safety
promotion that describe and make its benefits visible.
On the other hand, the field of violence/injury prevention and safety promotion is large
and complex, and includes many disciplines and approaches. The direct costs of treating
injuries and their health consequences, and the indirect costs of lost productivity,
represent an enormous economic burden to victims, families and society at large. There
are differences between regions of the world that have to be considered. Some of these
differences are “real” and some are artefacts resulting from data quality and reliability
variations from country to country.
Therefore, the actions taken have to be adapted at national, regional and local levels as
well as by individuals. Prevention efforts require multidisciplinary approaches and a
variety of trained professionals. A public health approach to building capacity for
injury prevention and control requires enhancing knowledge, developing skills, and
enabling systems in which injury prevention and control efforts are supported.
Governments, nongovernmental organizations and communities around the world
should be actively attempting to prevent all forms of violence and injuries and to
promote safety. International agencies should provide financial, technical and policy
support to strengthen prevention activities, safety promotion activities and make them
What has been the response, so far?
The heightened awareness about the need to prevent injury and violence has brought
with it the recognition that at local, national, regional and international levels there are
serious gaps in our knowledge about prevention programmes.
For instance, few countries have any systematic knowledge of how many prevention
programmes operate in their different regions, what types of unintentional injury and
violence and risk factors are addressed, which target populations these programmes
serve, what intervention strategies they employ and how the programmes attempt to
measure and monitor the effectiveness of their work. Such information is critical to
strengthening violence and injury prevention capacity and improving its effectiveness
by identifying and reinforcing programmes that deliver proven and promising
interventions, and ensuring that different programmes have consistent goals and
methods so that they support each other’s efforts.
To fill this information gap about violence prevention activities, many organizations in
different parts of the world have developed strategies for the systematic collection of
information about injury and violence prevention programmes from diverse settings.
To address training, WHO has collaborated with a global network of injury experts to
develop modular injury prevention and control curriculum known as TEACH-VIP.
(Training, Educating, Advancing Collaboration in Health on Violence and Injury
To address skills development, WHO has developed a global mentoring programme for
injury prevention known as MENTOR-VIP. Overall guidance to MENTOR-VIP is
provided by the Core Group, which assesses candidatures and awards mentorship,
discusses and recommends indicated revisions to the programme to WHO and facilitates
important activities such as evaluation of MENTOR-VIP. The Core Group consists of 9
members - of which ISVIP is one- from diverse backgrounds relevant to injury
prevention and includes one WHO member. WHO coordinates the programme,
financially supports the annual meeting of the Core Group, and assures all secretariat
functions for the programme.
But these are just examples, and there are many other educational programs, produced
by different organizations and universities, which should be made available.
What is ISVIP’s proposal?
In general terms
• Since ISVIP has many different types of members and some of them
do not always have a clear idea of what the others do, it would seem
logical that ISVIP should play a role in improving the effectiveness
of networking within the global injury communities by building
mechanisms that allow for more efficient sharing of targeted
information about activities, and interests of the ISVIP membership.
• ISVIP might consider developing a mechanism to allow for more
strategic shaping of the global research agenda and pooling of
resources -primarily non-financial, within its membership that carries
• ISVIP might also consider collating information from all of its
members on their current inputs into the human resource component
of capacity building, such as aggregating and making available on
ISVIP´s website various members contributions such as PhD
programmes, MPH programmes, supported fellowships, contribution
to systematic reviews on injury topics or major studies on injury
topics etc. Such information, if presented succinctly and followed up
with end-user evaluations to adjust the presentation of information
could be a genuine contribution.
• ISVIP should marry its capacity building plans with its institutional
strategy (hence the importance of galvanizing more effective
advocacy emerging as an important target of capacity building
efforts) and to reflect on those types of capacity building efforts that
can take advantage of the positioning of ISVIP as a global
coordinating entity for the injury field.
ISVIP’s approach to education
Education is a key strategy for the achievement of the mission and goals of ISVIP. In
this context, education refers to the broader range of activities including organization of
scientific meetings (courses, workshops, seminars, conferences, research meetings, etc),
preparation and dissemination of educational material, mentoring, research
collaboration and other measures which facilitate the learning process.
The following resources are necessary for the achievement of the above mentioned goal.
1) Expertise. A number of experts are available in different parts of the world. ISVIP,
Regional WHO Offices and the focal points for Injury and other Injury Prevention
organizations should have a directory of these experts. These experts will play an
important role in ISVIP’s activities.
2) Published material on Injury Prevention. The WHO VIP Unit web site has a number
of publications which can be downloaded. A number of books have been published by
experts in the field, many of whom are ISVIP members. In addition, there are many
links and resources freely available on the internet. WHO has produced a CD entitled
TEACH VIP to increase capacity in the field. It is in the interest of ISVIP that the use of
these documents be enhanced for teaching and research purposes. Also we need more
translations of the existing documents in different languages to be more accessible to
3) Financial resources. Internal resources - ISVIP is making efforts to make resources
available for its activities. There are many donor organizations that sponsor research
and educational activities. ISVIP needs to make this list of donors available on its web
site for members.
Educational Activities – Plan of Action
1) Web site - ISVIP web site should list all scientific meetings and resources in the
field. It should indicate links to other organizations with similar goals. Efforts should
be made to proactively disseminate the available resources such as the WHO and
2) Scientific meetings –
a) Injury and Violence Prevention Conferences- ISVIP in collaboration with WHO
Regional Offices and several others should organize scientific meetings on Injury
Prevention in the different regions and at country level.
b) Other Conferences -- Every measure should be taken to include topics pertaining to
Injury and Violence Prevention in Health, Medical, Social, etc conferences from
international, regional, national and local levels. If necessary, ISVIP should sponsor a
symposium, seminar, workshop, etc at every such opportunity. This should be a priority
since a broader range of professionals would be exposed to the field of Injury
3) Research should be encouraged through
a) The creation of international collaborative groups. Funding for such research should
be solicited for by ISVIP
b) Fostering multi-country research through existing networks and institutions.
4) ISVIP will continue in supporting the development of MENTOR-VIP which is still
in pilot phase and allow this area to settle somewhat over the next 5 years or so, at
which point the planned evaluations of MENTOR-VIP should provide a clear
illustration of what the unmet needs are.
The objectives of the program should be to assist junior colleagues to:
a) Write research proposals,
b) Write papers for publication
c) Contact colleagues who have carried out research in a particular area
5) Journal. -- ISVIP should keep open the option of starting a separate Journal.
Biannual or triennial World Conferences on Injury Prevention and Safety
Promotion, an example of what ISVIP can achieve
To date, the primary means that allow for regular meetings of public health
professionals working in injury and violence prevention has been through biannual
World Conferences. The intended audience for these events includes academic
institutions, governmental and semi-governmental institutions, non-governmental
organizations, advocacy groups, victim’s organizations, etc. They are drawn from a
wide variety of professions: epidemiologists, safety researchers, public health workers,
designers and urban planners, engineers, regulators, enforcement officers, risk
communicators, safety promotion practitioners, entrepreneurs, manufacturers' retailers
and marketers, and professionals in emergency care, trauma care and rehabilitation.”
These conferences were started under an initiative taken by Karolinska Institutet, Dept
Social Medicine in Stockholm Sweden, in collaboration with the World Health
Organization. Conferences have been held in Stockholm, Atlanta, Melbourne,
Amsterdam, New Delhi, Montreal, Vienna, and Durban, South. The next Conference
will be held in Mérida, Mexico, in 2008.
A meeting between representatives from ISVIP (Chair LS) and IOC (Wim Rogmans)
was held after the Durban Conference to discuss the roles that each committee shall play
in conference organizing in the future. The present standpoint of IOC is that the main
organizer shall still be the IOC but it is left to ISVIP to have increasing scientific input
into the Conferences and their scientific committees.
The World Conferences have reached some of the original goals, especially as they
relate to the conferences serving as a major arena for policy dissemination for WHO’s
VIP programme and policy development with the target groups mentioned above.
However, there are some drawbacks to the way that the conferences are currently
Conferences only occur every other year,
Despite scholarships, Conferences draw attendance mainly from
Participants are primarily drawn from the hosting region, which
means that exposure to conference findings is limited.
More and more time during the conference is focused on policy
making, rather than on the exchange of new knowledge, and
Participation in the conferences is costly, resulting in limited
Lack of actions after conferences
Lack of follow up of agreements and declarations.
ISVIP proposes a strategy to address these matters, and to enhance the scientific
exchange of injury prevention-safety promotion knowledge.
Towards a new ISVIP strategy for organizing and participating in Conferences
The audiences for World Conferences are expected to remain strong. However, after the
Durban Conference and the establishment of ISVIP, the new organization’s
representatives made contacts with a number of people who were interested in
organizing conferences in collaboration with ISVIP, for national and international
ISVIP will systematically establish cooperation with interested organizers, not only
individuals but also representatives for established networks or organizations for
violence and injury prevention and safety promotion. This strategy for fostering smaller
more regular meetings should be tested for a couple of years and then be evaluated for
the drawbacks and possibilities.
Potential gains for ISVIP
Regional conference sponsorship can help foster new relations and networks with the
purpose of increasing a worldwide recognition of injury as a problem and the possibility
of disseminating evidence-based solutions. By sponsoring conferences, ISVIP as a lead
organization will be able to recruit new members who may not have been drawn to the
regular International Conference venues. ISVIP can, through participation of its experts
in such conferences, improve the quality of science.
ISVIP can investigate whether there are possibilities for supporting and establishing
national and regional associations and networks in order to have decentralized ISVIP’s
chapters on national and/or regional levels.
Supporting organising additional conferences will allow ISVIP the opportunity to
contribute toward recruiting members from non-English speaking areas.
ISVIP’s budget for such activities may be enhanced by the organization’s ability to
continue to have membership annual fees. ISVIP membership should lead to a reduction
of the registration fees for ISVIP members in conferences.
ISVIP will build a stronger links with other existing networks working with specific
issues in Injury prevention and safety promotion
For ISVIP Capacity Building entails:
• Identifying relevant issues, and expert colleagues around the world.
• Connecting people and organizations that already exist. ,
• Reaching out to incorporate newcomers from all regions of the world, inviting them
to join in on equal footing. Acknowledging that they have as much to contribute as
to learn, means to adapt a bottom- up approach rather than the opposite.
• Using regional and community approaches when and where they are most useful.
• Deciding in consultation with local caucuses whether or not they should organise
themselves into regional systems. This is an important step to keep a healthy
balance of power and avoid any region taking control for prolonged periods.
• Rotating the Secretariat quarters to different regional chapters. This would obligate
us to have permanent communication, to learn about the issues and concern of
Since injury prevention and violence is local as well as universal ISVIP is interested in
increasing capacity in countries that need it. Capacity building takes advantage of the
widely available technology and tries to put it to the service of everyone.