The Awareness Phase, the second of four phases in the SASA! methodology, was implemented from April 2017 until April 2019.
Before we start the third phase " Support" we would like to share with you some of the amazing results we have had during the Awareness phase.
Impact on the Community
For the majority of the community we have seen a change in knowledge and attitudes with regards to balance of power and Violence Against Women. More people break the silence and speak up about these important and pressing issues. This is due to the effort the Community Activists have been putting into their facilitations by encouraging the community to think critically about their own actions. The Community Activists are well respected members of the community and are directing victims of violence to the suited support provider. The establishment of a functioning referral system is to date the greatest challenge we face: partly, because the needed support providers are simply non-existent, partly because the local government authorities with which we always aim to cooperate are somewhat unreliable. We believe the Community Activists' role is to be a facilitator and to spark critical thinking within the community by asking questions without judging and telling what is ‘right’ and what is ‘wrong’.
The community knows the different types of Violence Against Women and the negative consequences that come with it. They can link Violence Against Women to HIV/AIDS and understand that Violence Against Women is a cause as well as a consequence of HIV.
Women and men in the community agree that Violence Against Women is never acceptable and that balanced power between men and women is healthy, safe and beneficial for both. The community agrees that everyone has power and that women are not to be blamed for the violence that is directed towards them. Moreover, it is understood that Violence Against Women is an issue affecting the whole community and not merely a private matter.
It is such a great success to see that the community is much more outspoken when it comes to Violence Against Women than it was before the implementation of SASA!. This shows that the community understands the urgent need to act and speak out about the abuse of power which leads to Violence Against Women and girls.
The increase of almost 30% from the baseline to Awareness Assessment for this questions shows that Violence Against Women is increasingly seen as an issue that affects the whole community and is not just a private matter. This decreases the stigma surrounding Violence Against Women and reduces the shame women often feel when reporting abuses.
The SASA! project is slowly but surely changing attitudes in Kamanga about how violence against women and girls is an unacceptable act.