Introducing AIR: A new film

In our new film Introducing AIR: The African Institute for Integrated Responses to VAWG and HIV/AIDS, practitioners involved in AIR explain its history, vision and the choice to focus on transformative feminist approaches. I think that what is so compelling about AIR is the fact that for so long responses to violence against women on the continent have tended to rely on external ideas – ideas that have come from outside of the continent, ideas that have not taken account or grown out of some Read more [...]

AIR Thoughts Issue 2: Johanna Kistner raises critical questions about ‘trauma’ in clinical psychology

“This article is not aimed at defining trauma, but rather at generating further questioning, in the interest of deepening our thinking and feeling as front-line carers and activists” writes psychologist Johanna Kistner in the second issue of AIR Thoughts. Drawing on decades of experience in providing and designing mental health services in marginalized communities in South Africa, Johanna calls into question the heavily individualized and de-politiczed models and language that are used to deal Read more [...]

AIR film series on (re)conceptualizing trauma

"We were taught when we were trained that trauma is a sudden, unexpected event that has got the ability to horrify the person and the person feels a danger and you work with it one, two, three, you’re done. We have been able to be able to be creative and say we need to walk with people through the different levels of trauma and through the different traumas that they face. Sometimes it’s just one thing after another, which is traumatic." - Mpumi Zondi, Clinical Director, Sophiatown Community Read more [...]

(Re)conceptualizing Trauma convening report is out!

The report from AIR's first convening on (Re)conceptualizing Trauma is now available! It offers an insight into the deep questions and creative ideas emerging from African practitioners working to confront the emotional distress caused by violation, marginalisation, conflict and ill-health - and to build feminist approaches. Download the report from the AIR Resource Library by clicking here. Read more [...]

Dr. Mukwege of Panzi Hospital wins the Sakharov Prize: AIR celebrates

The European Parliament has just announced that Dr. Denis Mukwege, Founder and Medical Director of Panzi Hospital in Bukavu, Democratic Republic of Congo is the winner of this year's Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In his statement in response to his selection for the prize, Dr. Muwkege highlighted the courage of survivors themselves: Our thoughts go to the victims and survivors of sexual violence around the world, especially those of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). Those women Read more [...]

(Re)conceptualizing Trauma :: A quietly historic gathering in Kigali

In our work on HIV/AIDS, on violence and violation, legal justice and physical and mental health, the ‘doing’ takes precedence- be it in the form of life saving services, advocacy to challenge and change society, or training to build new skills and organisations. However all action is guided by concepts- theories of change, principles that frame our choices, and critiques that inspire new practice. Allowing space and time to engage the thinking behind our work as practitioner-activists is therefore Read more [...]

Inaugural issue of AIR Thoughts: Breaking the Walls of Trauma Counselling

The inaugural edition of AIR Thoughts is out! The AIR Thoughts series profiles fresh analysis by African practitioners around how to tackle the interrelated issues of violence against women and girls, HIV/AIDS and emotional wellbeing and mental health. In Issue 1, Breaking the Walls of Trauma Counselling, South African social worker Mpumi Zondi explores the complexities of working on trauma. Drawing on experiences and case studies from the work of Sophiatown Community Clinical Psychological Read more [...]

A victory for preventing violence against women and the gendered spread of HIV: The SASA! study results

The results of groundbreaking study on the SASA! model (profiled in AIR Tools here) are now published and show that it is possible to prevent violence against women and changing gendered risk behaviors around HIV. The research itself was a collaboration between Uganda-based Raising Voices and its national partner the Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP), and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Makerere University. Using a randomized control method, 8 communities Read more [...]

In the AIR Toolbox: The Polyclinic of Hope and integrated responses to women and girls survivors of the Rwandan genocide

What does it take to respond to violence against women and girls in armed conflict in a holistic way that acknowledges women’s own agency to heal, and assures that rights to health, justice and are met? The Rwanda Women’s Network an AIR Steering Committee member, documents their experiences of responding to the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and the establishment of the groundbreaking Polyclinic of Hope. In A Journey of Recovery: The Experience of the Polyclinic of Hope Women, the Rwanda Women's Read more [...]

In the AIR Toolbox: Isis-WICCE’s Model of Empowerment

As the world’s attention increasingly focuses on the impacts of armed conflict on African women and girls, we consider what we can learn from organizations in the field. Isis-WICCE, a Kampala-based international organization and AIR Steering Committee member, has been in the midst of this work for over two decades. In Isis-WICCE’s model of empowerment, the organisation tells its own story of its pioneering model for holistic intervention that keeps the women and girls most affected at the heart Read more [...]