Local Activism

Community members are trusted voices at the centre of this work. Rooted within the community, they create a push from the inside—their actions being the most powerful in changing social norms. At Raising Voices, we design holistic approaches that ensure activism engages all levels of society and is led by those most affected. Through the following initiatives, Raising Voices works with communities and schools, and in collaboration with others, to support the roll out of these methodologies:

The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention46images

At the heart of activism are those who are dedicated to promoting positive change. The Center for Domestic Violence Prevention (CEDOVIP) is an independent NGO, co-founded by Raising Voices in 2003, that is entirely committed to preventing violence against women in Uganda.  Their passionate team of activists works to systematically support Ugandan communities and institutions to lead their own process of social change.  Using the SASA! approach, CEDOVIP has inspired a wide range of local activists who are making Ugandan communities safer for women.

Raising Voices and CEDOVIP maintain a unique type of sisterhood. Together, we recognize that in order to figure out what it takes to prevent violence against women, we need programming on the ground as well as innovation of ideas. It is hard for one organization to do both meaningfully. Therefore, Raising Voices works harmoniously with CEDOVIP to support and learn from community-based experiences and programming, which in turn informs our development of methodologies which then again feeds back into CEDOVIP programs. We believe this symbiotic cycle of learning, creating, and doing has created an invaluable mechanism for fertilizing new ideas in violence prevention and bringing them to life in communities.

Raising Voices and CEDOVIP will continue to work together to discover, create and evaluate what it takes to prevent violence against women.



SASA! is a groundbreaking community mobilization approach developed by Raising Voices for preventing violence against women and HIV. It is uniquely designed to address a core driver of violence against women and HIV: the imbalance of power between women and men, girls and boys. Documented in a comprehensive and easy-to-use Activist Kit, SASA! inspires and enables communities to rethink and reshape social norms.

Go to the SASA! Section

Good Schoolgoodschool-logo

Are our schools safe havens for children? The answer from children was a resounding ‘no’. Raising Voices developed the Good School Toolkit to help educators explore what a good school is and guide them through a process that will help them create one. With the help of schools in Uganda, we deliberately focused on ideas and activities that do not require specific financial resources—just commitment and perseverance to create something extraordinary.

Go to the Good School Section


Rigorous Studies

Every day we see women and men, community members, local leaders and many more taking courageous steps to prevent violence against women and children. In order to investigate the impact of our SASA! implementation, we have conducted a rigorous study in Kampala communities. From the SASA! Study, we are learning the power of activism in helping to ignite positive changes towards violence-free relationships and communities.48images

 Operations Research

We are also learning about the impact of our work through qualitative inquiry and systematic program monitoring. Through our years of experience in community mobilization, we have learned that violence is preventable – this encourages and sustains us!

 Impact in Communities

CEDOVIP and Raising Voices’ collaborative and systematic support to community activists in Kampala helped community members to break down long-held beliefs and behaviors in relationships between men and women and find alternatives to violence. Through passionate, everyday activism, Ugandan communities are now leading their own process of social change, making  families safer, happier and healthier

 “Since I joined SASA!, life in my family has changed and I even spend more time at home now, community members come to me for information and support.” –Community Activist

“I have attended a number of trainings on gender but none of them has given me time to reflect on my own my own use of power like SASA! does. Now, I must use my power differently with my wife and family.” –Cultural Leader

“We can all, whether men or women, do something to prevent violence. I started slowly as a young clergy in my church, but SASA! has strengthened me further and now I know that everyone has power.” –Community member

“Through SASA!, my wife and I have changed our relationship. We now believe in each other, we consult each other, we make decisions together, we do work together. I believe we can all change.” –Community member                 

“I think my life is more positive now and I have much more hope in life. I have no shame to go out there where I have heard there is violence and help the men and women understand that violence is not acceptable.” –Community Activist

Our local activism efforts to prevent violence against children include holding an annual Community Hero Competition. The competition is open to anyone of any age and the aim of the process is to celebrate ordinary community members who are taking action to prevent violence against children by honoring them as heroes. We receive hundreds of entries and recognize winners in their own communities, which empowers friends and neighbors to participate. In addition, local media has picked up on stories of our Community Heroes and spreads these tales throughout Uganda to inspire others to take action against violence against children.

 A Community Hero’s Story

Hellen was well-known in her community as a kind and generous woman. However, one day, her actions to protect the safety of her neighbors drew the attention of the entire community. As the rains poured down, a widow living near Hellen lost the roof to her house when it blew away in the storm. She sought help from extended family members, but they refused to take in her children. When Hellen went to visit, she found the woman and her children sleeping in the open hut without a roof as rain soaked their clothes. Although she lacked money, she could not turn her back to their situation. She knew she had to do something to save them.

 Hellen started mobilizing members of her church and the surrounding churches to find a way to keep the family safe. In one of the churches she approached, they offered to help. Hellen and a few other members of the church worked day in and day out to build the children and their mother a strong new house with iron sheets. Her activism saved the family and the children are now sheltered in a safe home.

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