15 March 2013
Alexandra Hyde

During the past two weeks, STRIVE researchers and affiliates have been busy at the 57th session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) at UN headquarters in New York.

STRIVE research director Charlotte Watts was commissioned by Alice Welbourn of the Salamander Trust to blog about CSW for Representatives from many countries gathered to make violence against women part of the political agenda she writes, so there were high hopes but many challenges in negotiations between member states. 

As the debates on how to prevent violence against women continued at CSW, Parinita Bhattacharjee, STRIVE researcher at KHPT, was commissioned to contribute to the same blog about her experience on the ground. Working with women in sex work over the past ten years, she writes, has highlighted how violence, stigma and discrimination affect their vulnerability to HIV.

In a session on preventing violence against women (VAW) sponsored by the Republic of Ireland this week, Charlotte Watts joined Lori Michau and Tina Musuya from Raising Voices and Mazeda Hossain from the Gender, Violence and Health Centre at LSHTM. STRIVE tweeted live from the session as researchers presented implementation and evalutation findings from a range of programmes on VAW, including SASA!

SASA! is a community-focused violence and HIV prevention programme in Kampala, Uganda. A parallel event open to the public last week included the following presentations:

  • Tina Musuya explained how the SASA! programme has been implemented to build social support for more equal power relations between women and men in Kampala, Uganda.
  • Lori Michau elaborated on some of the challenges of measuring social change, moving from basic ‘tick box’ evaluation to working out how and why change happens.
  • Charlotte Watts presented preliminary data from the SASA! Study, a randomised controlled trial to evaluate the impact of SASA! on community norms and violence.

The event also included the first ever showing of a new film about SASA!, which vividly illustrates the impact of the programme at community level.

The session concluded with a fascinating discussion, highlights of which include:

  • The applicability of SASA! in places as diverse as the US and UK, Nigeria and Southern Sudan
  • The relationship between practice and research, activists and programme evaluators
  • How with a lot of cooperation and the right indicators, randomised controlled trials (RCTs) can be used to measure the impact of structural interventions like SASA!

Browse photos of STRIVE and SASA! at CSW.

You can read more about SASA! in Projects.

SASA!'s Activist Kit is a STRIVE recommended resource.

Link between violence and HIV must be made explicit, say African ministers - article about gender-based violence and the CSW agenda in The Guardian