Practice is figuring out what works to prevent violence against women and engaging with communities to turn ideas into reality. It is through developing programming, sustaining partnerships and supporting activism that we are most intimately connected with community transformation. At Raising Voices, Practice provides this anchor—the essential link to our Learning and Influence. And Practice provides countless opportunities to live our feminist values and demonstrate solidarity with diverse communities around the globe working to prevent violence.
Our Practice is organized in three areas: innovation, technical assistance and training, and strategic partnerships. Cumulatively, this work brings our vision for feminist violence prevention programming to life and ensures broad reach across global partnerships.
Recently, we have been busy launching SASA! Together cohorts and meeting diverse needs for virtual training modalities that can bring the spirit of brave spaces and interactive engagement online. We are also forging long-term relationships to adapt and scale up the programs and principles that underlie all Raising Voices innovations.
Raising Voices created SASA!, the first evidence-based violence prevention approach in Africa working to reduce the risk of violence against women at the community level. It was originally published in 2008 and has been used in over 30 countries around the world. It grew from Mobilising Communities to Prevent Domestic Violence: A Resource Guide for Organisations in East and Southern Africa, our initial approach to violence prevention that elevates community mobilization as an essential strategy.
Committed to harnessing the latest evidence and practice-based learning, we most recently published SASA! Together, an evolution of the SASA! Activist Kit. It includes extensive guidance on program design, staff and community skill-building, a focus on sexual decision-making and a new learning and assessment framework. It is being used in diverse settings, from rural villages to refugee settlements to dense urban communities and more.
Beyond SASA!, Raising Voices creates other materials to support feminist activism. Get Moving! is designed to support organizations through an internal process of transformation, honing analyses and unpacking practical applications of the core values underlying all impactful violence prevention efforts.
In response to our partners’ need for safe prevention programming during the COVID-19 pandemic, we created a variety of community mobilization activities to support safe and positive programming in the time of coronavirus.
Social change is a process sustained by stamina and grit. Staying the course requires an open mindset that is willing to accept—and overcome—setbacks and is buoyed by small signs of progress along the way. This is not easy.
At Raising Voices, we typically work through a cohort model to provide networks of solidarity, technical assistance and collective care. For example, we are currently coordinating four SASA! Together cohorts for organizations (1) around the world; (2) based in Asia and the Pacific; (3) in Mexico; and (4) providing internal technical assistance. These cohorts will journey and learn together over the next three years, with Raising Voices providing extended training and technical assistance.
All partners participate in our Violence Prevention Learning Center, which includes virtual and in-person training, individualized technical assistance and annual on-site support visits. The center provides highly interactive, experiential learning opportunities for organizations directly implementing or supporting programs to prevent violence against women.
Raising Voices also hosts multiple Communities of Practice, in which organizations with common languages and contexts can learn together, share resources and leverage collective experiences. We also host a global platform for groups using the SASA! approach to gain inspiration and connection.
To meet the ever-growing need for SASA!-related technical assistance as programming expands around the globe, Raising Voices actively trains and supports accredited technical assistance providers. These providers hold shared values and have hands-on experience with the methodology. Quarterly convenings help ensure mutual learning from technical assistance partnerships underway and reinforce Raising Voices’ principles for quality technical assistance.
The need for contextualized programming and the interest in expanding violence prevention efforts continue to grow. Raising Voices both leads on and partners in adaptation and scale processes.
For example, with Peripheral Vision International, the Uganda Network on Law Ethics and HIV/AIDS, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, we are currently working on an adaptation of SASA! Together for radio to continue community mobilization under lockdown and access the hardest-to-reach communities.
With Trocaire, we created SASA! Faith to tap into the existing infrastructure and opportunities of faith-based communities and to address their special challenges in raising issues of power, equality and justice.
In partnership with activist and Indigenous organizations in Mexico and Central America, we adapted SASA! Together for Central America. The first full version in Spanish is now being used in the region, with exciting cross-national and regional learning opportunities.
We support other organizations in adapting SASA!, such as Beyond Borders’ adaptation of SASA! in Haitian Creole and Power to Girls, a community mobilization approach to support girls’ empowerment and safety. Alongside committed partners, we have also supported comprehensive adaptations in Arabic and French.
Beyond SASA!, we partnered with the International Rescue Committee to adapt Get Moving! for humanitarian settings to address the unique challenges and contexts of organizations working on violence prevention and response in conflict and post-conflict settings.
We also adapted In Her Shoes from a US violence prevention program. It is an interactive exercise that can be easily integrated into workshops and trainings to build empathy and a firsthand understanding of the life circumstances many women experiencing violence encounter.