Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost

Counting the Cost

AOAV considers that understanding armed violence is the first critical step to reducing its incidence and impact. Empirical evidence informs effective, practical and targeted initiatives to reduce and address armed violence on the ground.

Armed Violence Assessments

In order to better understand the incidence, types, trends and drivers of armed violence in the countries in which AOAV works, we have conducted systematic and detailed baseline assessments which gives us a picture of both the incidence and perception of armed violence in communities as well as informs our projects.  AOAV conducted a city-wide assessment in Liberia’s capital, Monrovia and a national assessment in Sierra Leone.  AOAV also

Baseline Assessment on Armed Violence in Monrovia– 2011

cover-baseline-assessment-on-armed-violence-in-monrovia-june-2011-1A baseline assessment of armed violence and insecurity in Monrovia, the capital of Liberia.




Sierra Leone Armed Violence Baseline Survey Report – 2013

Cover Sierra Leone Armed Violence Baseline Survey Report-1This report presents findings of a 2012 nationwide baseline assessment of armed violence. It was conducted in partnership with the Sierra Leone Action Network on Small Arms (SLANSA).




Armed Violence Observatories

As a way to systematically and regularly capture data on armed violence, AOAV has worked with stakeholders in Liberia, Burundi and Sierra Leone to facilitate the establishment of Armed Violence Observatories (AVOs).  AVOs bring together government institutions, civil society organisations and the media which capture data on armed violence incidents in the course of their everyday work, such as the police, local hospitals, NGOs and newspapers, to collect, store and analyse this data in one place.  In this way, different stakeholders have access to the same important data for their own needs, but crucially are also provided with a space to make collective decisions on preventing and reducing armed violence.

Liberia Armed Violence Observatory (LAVO)


LAVO Project Coordinator, Jeremiah Collins, presents results from the fifth progress report. July 2014

AOAV established the LAVO in March 2011, working together with a multi-stakeholder group to develop a collaborative facility for collecting and analysing data on armed violence throughout Liberia.

The LAVO collects data on:

  • Demographics of victims and perpetrators (e.g. age, gender, nationality)
  • Time and place of incident
  • Type of violence
  • Type of weapon used
  • Outcome of the incident (e.g. physical harm, theft)

The Liberian National Police, United Nations Police and the Liberian Ministry of Health and Social Welfare are the key data providers, in addition to the Early Warning and Early Response Network, media, international organisations, and local civil society groups, which provide data on a smaller scale.  By collecting data from multiple stakeholders, the LAVO can create a more comprehensive picture of where and how armed violence occurs nationwide and identify gaps and duplications in official data.

Fifth Progress Report on the Liberian Armed Violence Observatory – July 2014

The latest report from the LAVO examines the links between armed violence and development in Liberia, and is the second report to be produced independently.  AOAV provided some technical assistance.

Fourth Progress Report on the Liberian Armed Violence Observatory – September 2013

This report is the first to be produced independently by the LAVO, with some limited technical assistance from AOAV.

Third Progress Report on the Liberian Armed Violence Observatory – December 2012

The third LAVO report reveals an increase in the number of incidents being submitted to the AVO throughout 2012. There is a notable increase in reports from rural areas in particular.

Second Progress Report on the Liberian Armed Violence Observatory – July 2012

This second LAVO report is based on data from a full year of observation. The report also discusses the LAVO’s next steps to improve data collection methods,  identifies problem areas and groups prone to violence,  informs policy debate, and provides insight into targeted strategies to reduce and prevent violence.

First Progress Report on the Liberian Armed Violence Observatory (LAVO) – December 2011

In addition to presenting data and characteristics of armed violence in Liberia, this report outlines some of the opportunities and challenges involved in the AVO development process.

Burundi Armed Violence Observatory (BrAVO)

Representatives from government ministries, the African Union, international & local NGOs, embassies and the media participated in the first report launch. July 2014

Since 2013, AOAV has been working with the Burundian National Commission against the Proliferation of Small Arms and Light Weapons (CNAP) to establish the Burundi Armed Violence Observatory (BrAVO).  The BrAVO published its first report in July 2014, presenting data and analysis of armed violence in the country between January and May of the same year.  Data was collected from several different sources, primarily  CNAP representatives stationed throughout Burundi, and also the Burundi National Police records, civil society organizations, hospital records and media reports.


First Progress Report on the Burundi Armed Violence Observatory (BrAVO) – July 2014 (French)

Sierra Leone Armed Violence Observatory (SLAVO)

In 2013 and 2014, AOAV has worked with key stakeholders in Sierra Leone to raise awareness of the importance of systematically measuring and monitoring armed violence and is working towards the establishment of the Sierra Leone Armed Violence Observatory (SLAVO).  The initative has gained the support of the Sierra Leone National Commission on Small Arms (SLeNCSA) and the Sierra Leone Police (SLP), as well as various civil society organisations and members of the media.  Given Sierra Leone’s geographical proximity to Liberia, and their shared recent history, members of the LAVO have been sharing their experiences of the successes and challenges of establishing an AVO.