The Centre for Domestic Violence Prevention in Kampala, Uganda implements SASA!, a community mobilisation intervention that seeks to change community attitudes, norms and behaviours that result in men’s power over women. This power imbalance is conceptualised as the root cause of violence against women, which supports HIV risk-related behaviours. SASA! challenges individuals and communities to think about their power and about how their use of power affects their intimate partners, as well as their interactions with community members.
The SASA! cluster randomised trial was conducted between 2008 and 2012 in two administrative divisions of Kampala. The authors, Charlotte Watts, Karen Devries, Ligia Kiss, Tanya Abramsky, Nambusi Kyegombe and Lori Michau, present results from this study that showed that SASA! reduced the reported social acceptance of physical violence in relationships among both women and men. The intervention also increased the social acceptance of the belief that there are circumstances when a woman can refuse sex from her partner.
The levels of physical partner violence occurring in the past year reported by women were 52 per cent lower in the SASA! intervention communities compared to the control. At the community level, SASA! helped foster a climate of non-tolerance of violence against women.
The results are the basis of a number of policy recommendations for the Ugandan government, organisations working to prevent violence against women and donors, as well as recommendations for further research.