The SASA! Together methodology raising awareness of power within

The SASA! Together methodology raising awareness of power within

Words: Loverage Nhamoyebonde/FAWEZI Information and Communications Officer

Many people residing in Ward 18 in the Chitungwiza district were not aware that they have power within and the situation was making survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) suffer in silence.

A few people who were aware of the power within them were not using it positively and they created power imbalances which contributed to the high prevalence of GBV cases in the community.

Chipo Bessie Mahamba Ward 18 Community Champion explained the steps that were taken to raise awareness on power within and how to balance power to achieve a violent-free community.

“When we started implementing SASA! Together Sessions, it was clear that many people were not aware that they had power within them and they were suffering in silence. The continuous SASA awareness sessions have made people to be aware that they have power within and they learnt how to balance power. We recently started noticing an increase in the number of people coming to us seeking for help or to report GBV cases,” said Mahamba.

Mahamba went on to explain that the community was socialised to believe that men have power and they must exercise that power over women and girls.

“People had accepted that men have power and it was normal for them to exercise power over other people. These beliefs and lack of knowledge had normalized cases of abuse in homes and public places like water points. Many girls were falling victim to abuse at water points because some men were demanding sexual favours for one to access water,” said Mahamba.

She added that the implementation of SASA! Together sessions that were targeting water points among other public spaces successfully raised awareness of the importance of balancing power.

She went on to explain that there is now an increase in the number of people who have accepted that they have power within and they are able to speak out and defend their rights when violated.

SASA! Together is a model being used in the implementation of the Towards Resilient Communities with Health, Equity and Safety for all (TORCHES) project.

The methodology uses three distinct strategies, each focused-on sparking change within a specific circle of the social ecology supporting individual, social norms and systemic change.

This is done through local activism which is led by Community Champions, Community Leadership, which is led by a group of formal and informal leaders and Institutional Strengthening which seeks to strengthen local activism against all forms of violence targeting women and girls.

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