SUPPORTING COMMUNITIES TO PREVENT IPV IN UGANDA AND GLOBALLY
Your source on everything SASA! and SASA! Together! Our goal is to make materials on the programme easily accessible in one place. If you are aware of additional resources, please contact us. Please note that Raising Voices, the creator of SASA! has additional guidance materials on their site.
SASA! and SASA! Together use community mobilisation as a core strategy to prevent violence against women. SASA! is a Kiswahili word that means ‘now’, underscoring the urgent need to prevent violence against women. The acronym also stands for its four phases: Start, Awareness, Support, and Action.
Using interactive and reflective activities, SASA! unpacks different dimensions of power and other key themes (gender, violence, activism, and collective responsibility). Specific content evolves throughout the programme cycle:
- Start: Involves learning about the community through a baseline survey, relationship building, and the selection of men and women who live and work in the community to connect with their power within
- Awareness: Introduces or deepens a feminist analysis of men’s power over women as the root cause of intimate partner violence and the community’s silence about this injustice as a key driver that enables violence to continue
- Support: Builds momentum as more and more community members learn skills about balancing power and join their power with others to support women experiencing violence, couples trying to change, and community activists speaking out and holding men who use violence accountable
- Action: Cultivates the power to take action and formalise mechanisms that sustain new norms rejecting violence and encouraging balanced power between men and women
An impact evaluation of SASA! in Kampala—which included a randomised controlled trial, economic evaluation, rigorous monitoring and evaluation, and qualitative research—found that SASA! had significant community-level impacts on reducing women’s risk of physical intimate partner violence and on the social acceptability of violence. Participation in SASA! can also enhance various aspects of intimate partner relationships, such as increasing trust and cooperation, more open communication, and aspirations to strengthen the partnership.
SASA! Together is a recent revision of SASA! and builds on the rich body of knowledge around the programme’s impact, intensity, reach, and mechanisms of change. The revision incorporated what was working in SASA!, what was not working, what was missing, and recommendations for how the programme could be improved in light of the current violence against women prevention landscape. The revision process resulted in several enhancements, including honing in on intimate partner violence, realigning strategies, focusing on sexual decision making, diversifying activities and training materials, innovating around learning and assessment, and integrating guidance throughout.
SASA! and SASA! Together were designed by Raising Voices and originally implemented by the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention in Uganda, and the programme has since been adapted by multiple organisations in various settings. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact Raising Voices first.
- The evaluation of SASA! in Uganda was the first rigorous study in an African setting to demonstrate that it is possible to achieve meaningful change and prevent violence at the community level—beyond the individual men and women engaged in a programme—within a relatively short time frame (about three years).
- SASA! and SASA! Together are based on the same four programming essentials: benefits-based activism, gender-power analysis, four phases of change, and holistic community engagement.
- The SASA! approach has resonated across adapted settings because it uses simple but provocative communication materials, encourages questioning rather than messaging, and focuses on the benefits of change.
- Experiences implementing SASA! highlight the importance of organisations going through trainings to support personal changes among staff and having space to first re-examine their own values and beliefs about power and violence against women.
“SINCE I STARTED PARTICIPATING IN SASA! ACTIVITIES EVERYTHING CHANGED FOR THE TWO OF US. SINCE THEN WE ARE MORE UNITED AND EACH ONE OF US SEE[S] THE OTHER AS ONE PERSON. NO ONE COMPLAINS ABOUT HOW MUCH THE OTHER IS SPENDING THEIR MONEY.…I DO NOT INTERVENE IN THE WAY MY WIFE SPENDS HER MONEY. SHE SPENDS IT IN THE WAY SHE WISHES TO BUT I CAN NO LONGER FORCE HER TO USE HER MONEY ON ANYTHING AGAINST HER WISH. ”
MALE PARTICIPANT, AT THE END OF THE PROGRAMME