The SASA! study: a cluster randomised trial to assess the impact of a violence and HIV prevention programme in Kampala, Uganda

The SASA! study: a cluster randomised trial to assess the impact of a violence and HIV prevention programme in Kampala, Uganda

SASA! is a community mobilisation intervention that seeks to prevent violence against women and reduce HIV-risk behaviours. The SASA! study was conducted between 2008 and 2012 in two administrative divisions of Kampala (Makindye and Rubaga). It incorporates four elements: a cluster randomised controlled trial; a nested qualitative evaluation; operations research; and an economic costing of the intervention.

The findings are extremely positive. SASA! reduced the reported social acceptance of physical violence in relationships among both women and men, and also increased the social acceptance of the belief that there are circumstances when a woman can refuse sex from her partner.

A number of stakeholder-specific policy recommendations have arisen out of this study.

  • for the Government of Uganda, the study highlights the importance of their continued support to the implementation of SASA! in Busoga in eastern Uganda, as well as for a longterm, nationwide campaign to shift social norms linked to violence against women. This will require adequate funding of implementing ministries and agencies and would be aided by mandatory training for all government service providers, and the implementation and enforcement of relevant legislation that supports gender equality in Uganda
  • for organisations that work to prevent violence against women, the study has highlighted the value of investing in social norm change interventions at the community level. While this has been shown to be achievable within project time frames, it requires high-intensity programming through a combination of communication channels, and must be preceded by a process of internal reflection by staff, so they are able to support community activists in implementing SASA!
  • for development partners, community mobilisation interventions require longer-term funding and support for this type of intervention, and should only be provided with this understanding in mind
  • for researchers, rigorous studies and evaluations should only be applied to strong, wellarticulated interventions that build on the synergies developed through meaningful partnerships between research and programme teams


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