Ending sexual violence one skill at a time

Prevent Child Sexual Abuse

19 October 2022

20 instructors trained, 1,398 girls and 1,199 boys trained, and 41 survivors in recovery support – in the Kikuube District, located in southwestern Uganda, communities are working towards a world without sexual and gender-based violence.

No Means No Worldwide (NMNW) is an international not-for-profit organisation that works to end sexual and gender-based violence against women and children. It trains instructors in high-risk environments to deliver the proven No Means No curricula to girls and boys ages 10-20.

One skill at a time.

For girls, this means training in verbal and physical defence skills such as in assertiveness, boundary setting and understanding their rights. They are taught 10 ‘voice strategies’, for example, from how and when to yell “No!” to naming the inappropriate behaviour, to using humour to protect themselves.

For boys, the programme means a new understanding of gender equity, and in the process of learning and practicing skills, boys learn to ‘defend equality, avoid violence, ask for consent, and intervene when witnessing or anticipating sexual assault’. NMNW also works to increase girls’ and boys’ disclosure of experiences of sexual violence, and provides referrals for comprehensive support.

The role of instructors

In Uganda, No Means No Instructors are having real impact on girls’ and boys’ lives. A pupil in one school says her curiosity about the No Means No Programme was rooted in her love for learning, and that is why she decided to join. She says, “one thing I really love in life is to go to school, because I noticed that when people study well, they graduate. I also want to graduate.” Through the programme she learned to defend herself. “These days I am no longer afraid like I used to be,” she says. “In the past, before learning the skills in No Means No, I was very timid, but that is no longer the case.”

In Mukaraba, a small community in the Kikuube District, the programme has already produced great results. Although instructors operate in high-risk and complex environments, having such a positive impact on young girls’ lives is a great source of pride for many. One of the instructors, Scovia, says, “as a woman, I am glad and happy because I have been able to save girls from many dangers.” She also shares how the children and parents from the Kituube District supported them. “When we came, the pupils were very happy and their parents welcomed us too.”

Through this, girls and young women will learn how to protect themselves from sexual and gender-based violence. Both girls and boys are learning about healthy relationships, which will help people avoid situations that could lead to abuse or exploitation.

Below you can watch a video that shows the No means No programme in action:

This grant falls under Oak’s Prevent Child Sexual Abuse (PCSA) programme, and within that our Solutions and Advancing Action Sub-programme, which seeks to: drive forward actions to reduce child sexual abuse and exploitation; and scale interventions that accelerate the reduction of child sexual abuse and exploitation. You can read more about the PCSA Programme here. You can find out more about No Means No Worldwide on its website by clicking here.

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