SASA! Activists take the lead to ensure communities become violence-free

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SASA Pilot Communities take ownership of prevention and promote benefits of living in violence free communities during 20 Days of Human Rights Activism

More than 200 SASA! Activists in the National Capital District (NCD) and West Sepik Provinces have demonstrated throughout the 20 Days of Human Rights Activism that anyone regardless of who they are and where they’re from, can get involved and contribute to preventing violence in their communities beginning now.

Throughout the 20 Days of Human Rights Activism in Papua New Giunea, these SASA! Activists with the support of SASA! Program staff of Population Services International – PNG, actively participated in informal community events and used simple tools to engage community members in discussions and critical self-reflection about their own use of power and the consequences of using their power positively or negatively.

In Kaugere and Sabama, up to 150 community members were engaged in power poster sessions facilitated by SASA! Community Activists. The power poster contains different images of people using power positively and those using power negatively over others.

Community members were asked to identify for themselves what they see in the picture and discuss how they feel about them.

Norman Maika a SASA! Activist who has been actively taking lead in facilitating these power poster sessions in Kaugere explains: “The main idea in using this power poster tool is to engage community members to see the different picture scenarios and think  and discuss what they see in the pictures with the aim of them exploring for themselves the different types of power portrayed in the pictures and to think and discuss their own reflections on the positive and negative consequences of the different use of power in the pictures.’’

“This is one of the positive ways we are using to engage community members in thinking for themselves and reflecting about the negative consequences of violence against women to individuals, families and communities and the positive outcomes of using power positively for everyone’s benefit.’’ he added.

In Hanuabada, Community Activists there, leveraged opportunities during the London Missionary Society celebrations to perform short simple drama, demonstrating key take-home messages on how different forms of violence caused to women and marginalised groups can lead to issues such as HIV/AIDS.

Atakia Jeffrey, a SASA! Field Officer who works with Population Services – PNG and supports fifty-two (52) SASA! Community Activists in Hanuabada, said the short drama performed by both male and female Community Activists in Hanuabada is an entertaining but informal and powerful way of engaging communities and informing them about the connection between abuse of power, violence and interconnected issues including HIV/AIDS.

In the evenings, SASA! Community Activists in Morata also mobilised their communities and staged video nights showing the SASA! Together Film to the community.

The SASA! Together Film is a 10-minute video, representing the collective voice of more than 300 SASA! Activists from across the four SASA! Pilot Communities who came together in October 2019, in a unified voice to raise awareness on the different forms of violence against women and girls and more importantly to remind community members that prevention is possible starting with individuals taking that first step to make a positive difference in their lives as well as the lives of others.

The film was launched during the 10th PNG Human Rights Film festival in October and now used by the SASA! Activists in the communities to inspire individuals and communities to take action and join others in preventing violence in the communities.

SASA! which stands for Start, Awareness, Support and Action, is a primary prevention program focused on primary prevention of violence against women and girls focusing on addressing the root cause of the violence which is the imbalance of power between men and women.

First, developed by International Not for Profit Organisation, Raising Voices, this program is one of few leading global best practices, which have been proven effective in preventing violence against women in more than 50 countries.

SASA! Together Pilot in Papua New Guinea is aligned to the National Strategy for Response and Prevention of Gender Based Violence 2016 – 2025.

The program’s main aim is to test its effectiveness in contributing to a more gender equal society in PNG with a view to scale up after the completion of the pilot in 2022.

PSI-PNG and Equal Playing Field are piloting SASA! Together in Morata, Kaugere, Sabama and Hanuabada in NCD and in Bewani in West Sepik Province.

SASA! Together is supported by the PNG-Australia Partnership through the Pacific Women Shaping Pacific Development program.   

Story and pictures supplied by Population Services International

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