Issue Four: EDUCATION AND PROTECTION OF WOMEN AND GIRLS
This report focuses on an issue which is sensitive for civil society. CSSP has made significant progress through the targeting of well-positioned civil society partners and the deployment of an approach to tackling violence against women and girls (SASA!) with a strong evidence base in Uganda where it was first designed by the organisation Raising Voices. Government policies on gender equality and violence against women/girls are strong, but implementation and enforcement have not met expectations. Structural causes of violence are deep in society, requiring a range of approaches to help both women and men to reflect and act on unjust power relationships.
Although SASA! has been tried before in Ethiopia, CSSP piloted SASA! through three Women’s Associations with strong relationships with government structures, thereby increasing the potential for much wider application of the approach. It was also piloted in depth with a fourth grass roots organisation and this is the focus of the Results Review report. All together SASA! is in 11 communities, half way through the four stage process. Three key innovations in the CSSP model include: engaging the government in using SASA!; introducing SASA! school clubs, which fit into the existing club structure in Ethiopian schools; and translating SASA! into local languages.
CSSP notes that “working with SASA! through the government provides one main advantage: sustainability.” A number of government stakeholders expressed frustration with the lack of progress through policy alone. “SASA! helps to ensure that everyone becomes part of an on-going conversation about how equality benefits both men and women, and what needs to change to achieve this.”
Learning from the SASA! approach will help government and civil society address the challenges of violence against women for which there is a growing evidence base – such as the recently published Demographic and Health Survey (2016).