SASA! is CSSPs gender focused programme that has four phases – Start, Awareness, Support, Action. The SASA! approach was developed by Ugandan organisation Raising Voices, that aims to prevent HIV and violence against women and girls. SASA is also a Kiswahili word that means ‘now’ – ‘now is the time to prevent violence against women and its connection to HIV/AIDS’.
In 2014/2015 CSSP successfully implemented the ‘Start’ phase of the SASA! programme involving three Women’s Associations in the Addis Ababa, Oromia and Tigray regions of Ethiopia. In each of these regions, over 100 people were trained and organised into community activist groups, implementation teams were formed, and action plans were developed.
A message from one of the SASA! Community Activists – Mr Goshine Mekonnen, Debre Jobo Kebele:
“We (Community Activists) are all talking about SASA! and the power balance in our community. All social gatherings are good spots to talk about violence against women including Idirs, churches, debo, weddings and mourning places. Once I had a discussion with a relative about violence against women. He tried to advise me to stop because if we continue men may not be able to manage women that well. I tried to convince him that is issue is not about taking power from men and giving it to women. I explained to him how a violence free relationship can benefit the entire community”. As ‘messenger birds’ we go around the community and send this positive message here and there so that change can come in our community in the long run. I believe that will benefit our community”.