HARNESSING THE CREATIVITY OF AFRICAN MODELS IN CHALLENGING GBV AND HIV

Published by SAYWHAT on

HARNESSING THE CREATIVITY OF AFRICAN MODELS IN CHALLENGING GBV AND HIV

The 4th Edition of the International Women’s Conference in Beijing (1995) changed the trajectory of woman’s activism to inspire equity and equality in all developmental facets.  The impact of woman’s activism was strongly felt in African societies which were still trailing in upholding the rights of women and girls. Despite great policy strides enacted by emerging independent African states, the enjoyment of human rights by women in Africa was a preserve of the few elite women leaving the majority of African women and girls at the mercy of patriarchal and harmful cultural vices.

Subsequently, there was an upsurge of women led movements who shaped the narrative of challenging power imbalances as the basis of imploding   gender inequalities and inequities. One such approach has been the SASA Model which is a Swahili word for “Now”. The model is celebrated for its adaptability and engrained ability to entangle the inter linkages between violence against women and HIV acquisition. Historically GBV and HIV responses have been siloed but there is growing empirical evidence connecting high prevalence of gender based violence with likelihood of HIV acquisition compounded by limited ability to manage the effects of HIV. Furthermore, research has proved beyond reasonable doubt that the burden between HIV and GBV disproportionately affect women and girls.  Scholars, academics and researchers have reached a consensus that the slow progress in eliminating either GBV or HIV is rooted in the inadequacies of most models to dually respond to the nexus between GBV and HIV. However, recent models have been shifting towards dual programming on gender and HIV using compound indicators.

Inspired by the community stories of speaking out against GBV, SAYWHAT joins the family of CSOs in Africa in adopting and adapting the SASA Model running as a pilot project in Hopley Farm (Ward 1) of Harare District in Zimbabwe. The Model has been merged with the SAYWHAT Mugota and Web for Life movements for young man and young women respectively. Although the main pillars of SASA model have not been uprooted, SAYWHAT model in Hopley Farm will mainly be driven by equal number of male and female activist representing Mugota and Web for Life. This has been captured and tailor made to be the YOUTH combined response (core) project, thus harnessing positive energies of young men and young women in eliminating violence against women and reducing their vulnerability to HIV. This noble idea has already received support from UN WOMEN and the starter phase of SASA Model started in December 2018 to March 2019. In the startup phase, SAYWHAT`s sole objective is to build a critical mass of community activist empowered and inspired to challenge power imbalances in Hopley Farm.

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