The Movement Building and Community Activism (MBCA) initiative’s main objective is  building social movements of change agents opposed to and committed to ending Violence against Women (“VAW”).

COVAW hopes to achieve this objective through:

  • Building capacities of communities to stand up for women rights and take action to end VAW;
  • Support community based social movements to engage in high level advocacy against VAW at the community level; and,
  • Increase the capacity of community activists and community leaders as change agents in eradicating VAW.

In implementing project activities, MBCA uses the SASA! model to train community activists who are committed to prevention of VAW and HIV/AIDS. Trained community activists then initiate community conversations and reflections on power imbalances that perpetuate VAW in the community. SASA! is a community mobilization  toolkit organized in four phases to influence a change in community norms. These phases emphasize that change is a process:

  •  S – Start: the “Pre-contemplation Phase”) when a person identifies an issue;
  • A – Awareness: the ”Contemplation Phase” when the person garners information on the issue;
  • S – Support: the “Preparation for action” Phase when the person prepares to take action by examining the support system that she/he has;
  • A – Action: the “Action and Maintenance Phase” when the individual changes behavior, attitude and maintains the same

SASA! interrogates power imbalances that cause VAW and HIV/AIDS. The model concepts revolves around  ‘rethinking power’: your power, my power and the power we have together to prevent VAW and HIV/AIDS.

  • The power within to prevent VAW;
  • The power over information and awareness on VAW;
  • The power with others to prevent VAW; and,
  • The power to act and make changes in order to address VAW.

SASA! accentuates that as communities, we have the power to learn and become aware, to support others and, to create change for safer, healthier relationships and communities. We have the power to prevent Violence against Women, HIV infection and maintain peace at all times.

More recently, COVAW identified beading of girls within the Samburu community as a “silent” yet accepted contemporary form of sexual slavery. Beading of Girls for sexual access and pleasure of Morans is one of the most retrogressive cultural practices deeply rooted in the Samburu community. The practice affects girls as young as seven (7) years old and puts them at risk of ill health, nips their education prospects and dims their economic dreams. Most importantly, it has direct and dire consequences on the SRHR (Sexual Reproductive Health and Rights) of girls and young women.

The culture gives rise to numerous human rights violations, including psychological abuse experienced by young girls who undergo the practice and have to bear the brunt of unintended pregnancies thereafter. It is in recognition of this that COVAW from May 2013 shall, conduct activities at the community, county and national levels, raising awareness on the practice with the sole purpose of changing attitudes towards the vice, enhancing capacities of community members, service providers and duty bearers to prevent and address the vice, as well as motion for the proper implementation of existing laws and policies which criminalize the practice and offer an avenue for redress to victims of such violation.