MOBILISING COMMUNITIES AROUND HIV AND VIOLENCE PREVENTION IN UGANDA
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The Safe Homes and Respect for Everyone (SHARE) intervention was designed to reduce levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and HIV in rural Uganda. The programme mobilises the community to change attitudes and norms that increase the risk of IPV and HIV. SHARE was integrated into ongoing HIV prevention and treatment services at the Rakai Health Sciences Program.
The multicomponent programme used two main approaches:
- Community mobilisation to change attitudes and social norms that contribute to IPV and HIV risk through 11 strategies (such as advocacy with local leaders and policymakers and building the capacity of local leaders, health care providers, police officers, teachers, and volunteers)
- A clinic-based screening and brief intervention conducted by community-based counsellors to reduce violence related to HIV disclosure and risks for women seeking HIV counselling and testing
A cluster randomised controlled trial showed the programme reduced women’s reported experience of physical and sexual IPV but not emotional violence. There was no impact on men’s reported perpetration of violence. The programme was associated with a decrease in HIV incidence and an increase in HIV disclosure.
SHARE was implemented by the Rakai Health Sciences Program. Materials and workshops were adapted from Raising Voices’ The Resource Guide for Mobilizing Communities to Prevent Domestic Violence and the Stepping Stones curriculum. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact them first.
- A multilevel intervention combining HIV and IPV prevention can lead to community-level reductions in both HIV incidence and IPV experience.
- To achieve change, communities must be deeply engaged. SHARE’s success was partially due to the consistently high exposure it achieved for its activities and messages.
- Violence prevention can be successfully integrated into existing programmes, as in the Rakai Health Sciences Program, which provides HIV prevention and treatment services.
- Stigma can make it challenging to engage men. However, male facilitators and volunteers can serve as role models to encourage men’s participation.
- Violence prevention programmes can benefit from having onsite psychosocial support, such as counselling aides to offer short-term support
“I HAVE HAD A CHANGE IN MY FEELINGS AND BELIEVE THAT WOMEN SHOULD NOT BE ABUSED. NOW I DON’T USE POWER TO RESOLVE ISSUES BUT MAKE CHOICES TOGETHER WITH MY WIFE. WE NEED TO SIT DOWN AND DISCUSS ISSUES TO DO WITH THE FAMILY, I CONSULT HER ON MANY ISSUES AND WE PUT ALL OUR ACTIVITIES ACCORDING TO PRIORITIES. WE USE DISCUSSIONS INSTEAD OF FORCE OR VIOLENCE.”
MALE COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER, AGED 32