VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN AND GIRLS
Violence against women and girls is a pervasive global problem that impacts negatively on the health and life expectancy of victims. Primary prevention approaches to violence against women are relatively new in the region. Many organizations are reorienting traditional service delivery programs to include prevention activities and many others are seeking to strengthen community education, campaigns and training activities into a more holistic and systematic social change programs.
Sauti Yetu's View
Sauti Yetu is adopting a proactive rather than a reactive stance on preventing violence against women and girls in our communities. Our approach is based on the fact that it is not enough to provide services to women victims of domestic violence. It is equally important to examine the social norms and gender roles that perpetuate violence against women.
What We are Doing
Sauti Yetu has developed a preventive strategy based on years of experience. We have learned that it is equally important to examine the social norms and gender roles that perpetuate violence against women. This means using a gendered analysis to highlight the root causes of domestic violence. Sauti Yetu is mobilizing African immigrant and refugee communities across the country to develop preventive strategies to address violence against women and girls. Our aim is to eliminate the fundamental inequalities between men and women in the home and between extended family members.
Over the years, Sauti Yetu has learned that ad hoc efforts to engage communities have limited impact. Preventing domestic violence requires long term commitment and engagement of the whole community. Sauti Yetu’s work is multifaceted and interconnected with community members and institutions in the community, such as mosques, churches and ethnic associations. We recognize the diversity of experiences that migration and resettlement brings to African immigrant and refugee communities in the United States. Our efforts creatively engage a cross section of the communities and not just women. African immigrant women live in communities with others; thus the community needs to be engaged for social change to take place.
We work directly with community organizations with the aim of changing harmful beliefs and practices. Organizations can play an important facilitative and supportive role, yet the change must occur in the hearts and minds of the community members themselves. Organizations can work closely with individuals, groups, and institutions to strengthen their capacity to be agents of change in their community. In this way, their activism will live long after specific projects end.