The notion that violence against women is cultural for some communities and therefore does not warrant a serious response continues to put women at greater risk. Using the SASA Together methodology, The Peace Centre held 3 days of training from 28th to 31st May 2021, for 30 Community Activists from the host and refugee communities in Adjumani District. This training focused on the 3rd “Support” phase of the SASA Together methodology.

The SASA Together methodology aims to transform imbalances of power by sparking community-wide critical discussion and positive action. This work is led by women and men who live and work in the community. The SASA Together Support Phase builds momentum from the Start and Awareness phases as more and more community members learn skills around balancing power and join their power with others to support women experiencing violence, couples trying to change, and community activists speaking out and holding men who use violence accountable.

During the training, it was emphasized that SASA Together is about inspiring positive change in our communities and the need for individuals and communities to feel supported in making that change. Key discussions during the sessions focused on What it means to join our power with others, Who can we provide support to and Why is it so important to join power with others? Participants discussed stigma, violence and HIV/AIDS, shame, barriers to disclosure, supporting crisis and change. A key takeaway from the training was;

Support is essential when trying to make positive change. We all need support and we can all give support. It’s important to join our power with others to prevent violence against women. Joining power together reduces shame and stigma and provides opportunities for support. 

The training was a great opportunity to explore specific options and considerations for joining power with others to create change. They learnt that support providers have the power to let others feel accepted for who they are and the situation they are experiencing. The training also gave a chance for participants to identify the categories of people to provide support to including; women who experience violence, men using violence, men and women trying to balance power, men and women who are speaking out in the community about VAW and HIV/AIDS and Community Activists. At the end of the training, participants developed community action plans to foster awareness in the host and refugee communities and were supported to identify and integrate activism in their routine schedules in the individual action plans.
This training is part of the project on Leading Voices: Strengthening Capacities for Gender-Based Violence Prevention and Peace Building in Humanitarian Context in Adjumani district, Uganda with support from Women Peace and Humanitarian Fund under Spotlight Initiatives. The project intends to strengthen the leadership capacity and influence of local women leaders and women groups across refugee settlement and host communities at Sub County level in Adjumani district to work together to address Violence Against Women, Women’s specific Peace and Security concerns as well as effectively influence peacebuilding and decision making processes to advance gender equality in humanitarian setting using SASA Together methodology.

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