Community-Based Approaches for Ending Violence Against Women

In May 2008 the Gender-Based Violence Taskforce of the Interagency Gender Working Group (IGWG), PATH, and PRB hosted a discussion and demonstration on innovative techniques for community-based approaches to ending violence against women. The panel included Yassin Ally, Kivulini Women's Rights Organization, Tanzania; Lori Michau, Raising Voices, Uganda; and Margarita Quintanilla, InterCambios, Nicaragua.

The Kivulini Women's Rights Organization employs an innovative community-based approach for preventing domestic violence. The local advocacy strategy was highlighted in particular, to demonstrate how local officials can be engaged to lead community efforts in the prevention of and response to violence against women.

SASA! is a new methodology used to mobilize communities—women and men, young people and elders, service providers and local leaders—in preventing VAW and HIV/AIDS. SASA means "Now" in Kiswahili and is a four-phased process which is outlined in the name SASA:

  • Start: fostering power within to begin addressing these issues;
  • Awareness: analyzing how the community's silence about men's power over women perpetuates violence and HIV/AIDS;
  • Support: joining with others to give support to women experiencing violence and/or HIV/AIDS, to men choosoing non-violence, and to activists speaking out about this injustice; and
  • Action: claiming one's power to create positive change.

Through a variety of strategies, SASA! fosters a spirit of activism within each layer of the community in order to shift the social norms fueling the pandemics.
The "In Her Shoes" methodology is an innovative and powerful tool for helping service providers and others reflect on the importance of support networks in empowering women to leave abusive situations. This tool (Caminando en Sus Zapatos) is only given to individuals or organizations who have attended training workshops. Each organization receiving the methodology must complete a form after presenting their own training sessions to demonstrate their level of competence in using the methodology. Focus groups and interviews have also been held with facilitators in Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Panama to find out about the results achieved and lessons learned.

For more information on these community-based approaches, see:

For presentations on "Innovative and Inspiring Approaches to Ending Violence Against Women" by Yassin Ally and Lori Michau at the 2008 Global Health Council Conference, go to (session B6). Participant list (PDF: 61KB)

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