Feminist activism is at the heart of the Violence Against Women prevention team. Challenging the status quo, elevating activist voices, confronting power inequalities, building solidarity, strengthening skills (and more!), the team is relentlessly optimistic about what we can accomplish together.
The early days of COVID-19 were marked by uncertainty, fear and an urgent need to support women experiencing violence. Rapidly changing public health measures made it difficult to mobilize for action.
At the same time, feminist activists around the world were pivoting to this new reality and figuring out how to meet these unprecedented challenges. At Raising Voices, we created space to listen, learn and demonstrate solidarity. We developed a series of five Guidance Notes, each addressing a core issue surfacing during the pandemic.
Partners have reflected on how this guidance has helped them adapt to emerging realities during the pandemic: “At Gender and Development for Cambodia, we have been using the guidance notes to inform our approach to work with young women activists during the pandemic. These notes helped us to create safe, comfortable and feminist ways to encourage young women to continue their activism during this hard time. It also helped us better support the well-being of staff and community members.”
Kivulini is a passionate organization committed to community action. One of our longest-standing partners, Kivulini has been using the SASA! methodology in Tanzania since 2010. Through Kivulini’s sustained community presence and quality implementation of SASA!, the patriarchal belief that men are entitled to use power over women is beginning to change.
As a team member explains in one of our Creating Change Series papers:
“SASA! has helped the community identify the unacceptability of violence. Before, if you asked a woman if it was right that she was beaten, even a woman would say, ‘Yes, I was late to come home,’ or give some other reason she deserved it. Now that has changed. Women now recognize this as a violation of their rights.”
We believe that change starts from within. Yet there is no simple formula for embedding feminist values and practices within organizations working to prevent violence.
Recognizing the importance of nurturing these organizational shifts, the GBV Prevention Network created Get Moving!, a methodology that guides organizations through a process of intensive reflection on feminist principles at the personal and organizational levels.
Our analysis of data from over 70 individuals participating in (or facilitating) Get Moving! affirms the transformative power of the approach. One participant cited in our learning paper on the topic: “People have changed; we are [now] a different organization. We are now trying much more to walk the talk. We didn’t even ever think about it before, [but] now we are really trying to live our beliefs.”
Download the methodology here—and Get Moving!
The Civil Society Support Program (CSSP) has been implementing SASA! in Ethiopia since 2012. Leveraging the strength of government structures to influence community norms, CSSP established a government partnership to strengthen its SASA! program.
Overall, the experience has been promising, demonstrating that with respectful dialogue, government officials can become deeply engaged and supportive of violence prevention. As a CSSP team member put it in one of our Creating Change Series papers: “Working with SASA! through the government provides one main advantage: sustainability.”
If it was possible, everyone in this community should come to SASA! activities to hear. They really touch us a lot, because they are based on reality, not just wolokoso [empty talk].