The AIR integrated approach was developed and refined over a series of AIR consultations with African practitioners. It asserts a vision of multi-level responses to VAWG, HIV/AIDS and related emotional wellbeing/mental health concerns. The approach considers both how to respond to these issues and their impacts while also working to prevent them by transform the norms and practices that perpetuate violence and HIV-related inequalities in the first place.
Survivor-centred medical care including integrated VAWG and HIV/AIDS response based on principles of equality and non-discrimination.
Emotional well-being / mental health
Holistic mental and emotional care to support the well-being of survivors of violence and those infected and affected by HIV and AIDS.
Ensuring that women and girls can access justice, and advocacy for comprehensive laws, polices, and justice systems that protect and are accessible to women and girls.
Considering economic independence and sustainable livelihoods as components of “healing” and a means for women to regain dignity and personal agency.
The following are cross-cutting components:
Critical mass for norms and behaviour change
Prevention by building momentum to challenge and change the norms and values that perpetuate violence, discrimination and impunity.
Targeted action to change frameworks and approaches including in service delivery, resource allocation, laws and policies to support prevention and quality, transformative response.
Filling the gap in documentation and analysis on transformative African feminist approaches to VAWG, HIV/AIDS and mental/emotional health.
Principles That Guide Us
AIR will sustain the values and build the culture of an initiative with a “soul”- which means an initiative that has a culture of internal support, reflection, critique, nurturing innovation and embracing maverick concepts and methods, and considering how they could work in the service of AIR’s visions.
- Cultivating feminist transformations: Overall, AIR’s work is shaped by a transformative feminist approach which acknowledges that gendered power inequalities fuel violence and women and girls greater vulnerability to HIV infection, experiences of stigma and discrimination when living with HIV, barriers of access to treatment, and challenges with care work for those affected. As such, AIR’s technical approach is framed by an analysis of how our work can contribute to transforming unequal gender power relations. AIR will work using a transformative feminist framework that encourages women and girl’s personal and collective empowerment and supports non-discrimination. AIR will encourage learning and investment in the process of transforming women and girls from victims to survivors to leaders.
- For and by African women and girls. AIR will draw on the knowledge and experiences of women across the continent, amplify women’s voices, and capacitate women to plan and act against VAWG and HIV/AIDS in the long-term. AIR recognises the role of men as allies and the fact that transforming society is a collective responsibility.
- Celebrating rights, challenging discrimination. AIR is committed to upholding the rights of all women and girls to full autonomy, choice and expression regarding their bodies, and to freedom from discrimination (including on the basis of age, social class, sexual orientation, HIV status, immigration status and physical ability).
- Considering the therapeutic value of all of our work. AIR aims to design its programming considering the potential therapeutic value of our methods for individuals and groups involved- put differently, how to develop methodologies that themselves contribute to well-being.
- Serving frontliners. AIR’s primary stakeholders are African practitioners (with a focus on women human rights defenders and service and care providers). AIR projects will foreground the needs and concerns of frontliners in its documentation, technical support and advocacy.
- Age-appropriate responses. AIR’s work will take into account the fact that girls and young women have different needs, vulnerabilities and legal status from adult and elder women.
- Accessibility to community activists. AIR will ensure that community focused activists are aware of and actively participate in all areas of its work including knowledge production. AIR’s technical assistance will be tailored to supporting community-based initiatives.
- Flexibility and responsiveness. AIR will maintain a ‘light’ organisational structure and regularly consult stakeholders in order to remain flexible and pro-active.
- Building on existing expertise, encouraging collaborations. AIR will build upon, and link into, existing expertise and organisations working in its thematic areas. It will aim to fill and bridge gaps instead of replicating existing efforts.
- Facilitating links with and integrating a focus on advocacy for state accountability and response. AIR recognizes that violence and inequality are systemic problems, and require system-level responses. AIR will draw on the knowledge and experiences generated in its work to support advocacy for full state responsibility to respect, protect and fulfill women’s rights.
- Promoting activism around service delivery and client rights. AIR will encourage the service providers it engages to acknowledge the leadership and activist roles that they play, and also support awareness of client rights to non-discrimination and appropriate, empowering services.
- Position VAWG and HIV/AIDS within the framework of human security, and part of the security, human rights and service debates. AIR will implement a conceptual framework that sees women’s individual health and security as a key component of human security, and central to the realisation of human rights.
 AIR draws on the Charter of Feminist Principles for African Feminists