SASA! : Programming innovations in preventing VAW and HIV/AIDS

Although historically much of our attention has been focused on responding to violence against women and girls, there is now growing momentum to design interventions aimed at primary prevention- preventing VAWG before it happens. Kampala-based organisation Raising Voices– an AIR Steering Committee member- is among the leaders in this field. Raising Voices continues to develop cutting-edge prevention programming while also contributing to research and analysis around how to build effective prevention programming, focused on transforming the underlying gender power relations that drive violence against women and girls, and inspire communities into positive action.

Raising Voices launched the SASA! Activist Kit as an approach to guide community-based programming focused on preventing intimate partner (domestic) violence and links with HIV/AIDS. As the guide explains:

Although many people think that rape by a stranger is the most common type of violence against women, the vast majority of violence against women is committed by a male intimate partner. Violence against women has devastating effects on individuals, families and communities, including long-term health and economic consequences.

SASA! uses a programming approach that works to build four kinds of positive power in a sequence of activties. Each letter stands for a stage of the approach:


During the first phase, community members are encouraged to begin thinking about violence against women and HIV/AIDS as interconnected issues and foster power within themselves to address these issues.


The second phase of Sasa! aims to raise awareness about how our communities accept men’s use of power over women, fueling the dual pandemics of violence against women and HIV/AIDS.


The third phase focuses on how community members can support women experiencing violence, men committed to change, and activists speaking out on these issues by joining their power with others’.


During the final phase, men and women take action using their power to prevent violence against women and HIV/AIDS.

AIR supported Raising Voices to produce the guide SASA! : Mobilising communities to inspire social change. Access it via the AIR Resource Library by clicking here.