BUILDING ON TRADITIONAL CEREMONIES TO FOSTER CHANGE IN ETHIOPIA
Your complete source on everything Unite for a Better Life! Our goal is to make all materials on a programme easily accessible in one place. If you are aware of additional resources, please contact us.
Unite for a Better Life is a gender-transformative programme designed to reduce intimate partner violence and HIV in rural Ethiopia. It has been adapted for use among refugee and displaced populations in other locations. The programme builds skills to shift behaviours at the individual and relationship levels, as well as addresses the underlying social and cultural drivers of intimate partner violence. The group-based intervention follows the format of a coffee ceremony, a traditional community-based forum for discussion in rural Ethiopia.
The programme evaluation in Ethiopia compared three potential configurations:
- A 14-session participatory training curriculum for women, led by female facilitators
- A 14-session curriculum for men, led by male facilitators
- A 14-session curriculum for couples, led by one female and one male facilitator
A cluster randomised controlled trial showed that only the men’s Unite for a Better Life programme reduced both men’s reported perpetration and women’s reported experience of violence. Both the men’s and the couple’s programmes improved shared decision making and household task-sharing and reduced HIV risk behaviours.
Unite for a Better Life was implemented by the Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in partnership with the Addis Ababa University School of Public Health, the Ethiopian Public Health Association, and EngenderHealth. If you want to adapt the programme, we strongly recommend that you contact them first.
- Cultural practices can be an entry point for violence prevention programmes. The traditional coffee ceremony facilitated discussion on gender and relationships.
- Facilitators went through Unite for a Better Life as participants themselves to gain perspective on their own attitudes and behaviours before attending facilitator training. Multicomponent training like this may better prepare facilitators to support participants through the intervention.
- To improve attendance and engagement, content and delivery (the duration and location of sessions) should be adapted to the context.
- The availability of violence response services and psychosocial support for both participants and facilitators is an important consideration when implementing an intimate partner violence prevention programme.
“WE DISCUSS TOGETHER NOW…INSIDE AND OUTSIDE, WE ARE SHARING EVERYTHING TOGETHER. ”
FEMALE PARTICIPANT AGED 36, BOKOLMAYO REFUGEE CAMP