Mobilising Communities to End Violence Against Women

Project Name: SASA! Introductory Regional Workshop
Project partner: UN Women and Raising Voices
Total funding: $500,000
Funding timeframe: 2016-17

SASA! training participants in Port Moresby in September 2016. Photo: DFAT


SASA! is a Kiswahili word for ‘now’ that is also synonymous with a community mobilisation methodology to prevent violence against women and people living with HIV. Funded under the Australian aid program’s Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development initiative, participants in a five-day regional SASA! training have been inspired to implement the approach in their own contexts across the Pacific.

SASA! is an innovative primary prevention model. Women and men are trained to engage with their communities at all different levels to challenge social norms leading to violence.

SASA! was developed by Raising Voices in Uganda, where a randomised controlled trial has demonstrated that it reduced the levels of intimate partner violence by 52 per cent and reduced the risk of continued violence in historically violent relationships by 54 per cent. SASA! also reduced acceptance of physical violence and increased the acceptance of women’s right to refuse sex. SASA! is now used in more than 20 countries by more than 60 organisations around the world.

In September 2016, 21 women and 1 man attended a five-day regional SASA! training in Port Moresby. The training was organised by Pacific Women, the UN Women Multi Country Office, and Raising Voices. Participants came from Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Kiribati, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. Participants left the training with plans to take up the methodology.

Reverend Sereima Lomaloma from Fijian women’s faith-based organisation, House of Sarah, said ‘I returned from the SASA! learning in Papua New Guinea convinced that their community mobilisation approach can be adapted to our faith community. We at the House of Sarah will be piloting that in the future and we hope for a partnership with UN Women.’

In Kiribati, the Ministry of Women, Youth and Social Affairs will deliver the Strengthening Peaceful Villages program. This program adapts the SASA! model and integrates pre-existing work on violence prevention by the Ministry. In Papua New Guinea, Populations Services International has a design for a full SASA! pilot in Port Moresby and Central Province.


*This Story of Change was originally published in the Pacific Women Annual Progress Report 2016 – 2017. All values are consistent with that reporting period. For the most up-to-date value of activities, visit our interactive map.