SASA! refers to Start, Awareness, Support and Action.
Overall, 1,800 police officials from different ranks have been trained to treat the victims of violence in the project districts
Pakistani NGO tests innovative SASA technique for women empowerment. A new mobilization model titled, “SASA” which refers to (Start, Awareness, Support and Action) was shared at a key event with civil society and media in Islamabad. The SASA press briefing was arranged by Aiming Change for Tomorrow (ACT International), a local civil society organization to showcase impact of SASA’s four years roll out in Sindh and KP.
Addressing the news conference at National Press Club, Islamabad, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of ACT International, Syed Mubashir Banori disclosed the key findings of the 4 years pilot project implemented in 31 villages of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Sindh provinces. Mr. Banori said since implementation in 2017, there has been a significant rise (54%) in community members who are able to reach out to women experiencing violence in communities, with a 58% rise in community members who consider that violence is not okay.
In addition, on average 73% of the targeted community members are now very able to extend support to survivors of violence, know and can tell alternatives to violence, refer cases and can challenge social norms.
Mr. Banori said “it is always good to adopt new and innovative best practices and approaches to curtail violence against women and girls.” He added that one of the top priority of present government is reduction of violence against women and girls and involvement of women in all spheres of life”.
“Further he added that there is a dire need of change in mobilization model for rural, illiterate and vulnerable communities and we need to provide them an impactful alternative of mobilization which can be adopted in varying settings.”
Beneficiary Count: 19,000 families
Professor Farkhanda Javed, Chairperson ACT International while speaking at the news conference, said that during the course of implementation of the project, over all 19000 families in 31 villages, of KP and Sindh benefited from the project. She said the community leaders, volunteers, and Imam of Masajid and school teachers were sensitized about early child marriages, gender discrimination and women right to inherit.
She said that overall 1800 police officials from different ranks have been trained to treat the victims of violence in the project districts. The media event included a presentation on the journey to adapting the SASA! model to the Pakistan context and its implementation. Testimonials of Community Activists (CAs) and a comprehensive documentary on SASA along with comprehensive details of Comminity Activists (CAs) role was highlighted.
SASA! is a community mobilization approach to prevent violence against women (VAW) developed by Raising Voices in Uganda. SASA! works by supporting communities through a comprehensive process of social change focused on interrogating unequal power dynamics between women and men.
This approach engages a critical mass of people across all levels of society in order to create social norm. It helps community members to reflect on their own lives and relationships before trying to influence others. SASA! helps to create happier, healthier, safer relationships between men and women around the world.
What is SASA?
SASA! refers to Start, Awareness, Support and Action. In the first phase, i.e. START, the Community Activists are identified targeting men, women and youth who are motivated to bring about positive changes in their communities. In the second stage, at AWARENESS, the communities are facilitated to critically evaluate the attitudes, which drive power imbalances and violence against women and girls, building on the basic preparations for community work in the Start phase. The activities include Interactive community theatres, Power Poster discussions, Community conversations, Public events, radio programs and informal chats.
At the SUPPORT phase, the Community Activists are united across villages and districts. They support community members to develop the skills necessary to trial and adopt positive behaviors, which will end violence against women and girls. Lastly, at the ACTION stage, a critical mass of community members have adopted positive changes in knowledge, attitudes, skills and behaviors related to violence against women and girls. Men, women, girls and boys recognize that a balancing of power results in a more healthy, peaceful and inclusive society. This change is sustained through ongoing facilitation by Community Activists.