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Prev Sci. 2017 Feb;18(2):233-244. doi: 10.1007/s11121-016-0716-6.

Exploring Couples' Processes of Change in the Context of SASA!, a Violence Against Women and HIV Prevention Intervention in Uganda.

Author information

London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, London, UK.
Raising Voices, Kampala, Uganda.
Center for Domestic Violence Prevention, Kampala, Uganda.


There is now a growing body of research indicating that prevention interventions can reduce intimate partner violence (IPV); much less is known, however, about how couples exposed to these interventions experience the change process, particularly in low-income countries. Understanding the dynamic process that brings about the cessation of IPV is essential for understanding how interventions work (or don't) to reduce IPV. This study aimed to provide a better understanding of how couples' involvement with SASA!-a violence against women and HIV-related community mobilisation intervention developed by Raising Voices in Uganda-influenced processes of change in relationships. Qualitative data were collected from each partner in separate in-depth interviews following the intervention. Dyadic analysis was conducted using framework analysis methods. Study findings suggest that engagement with SASA! contributed to varied experiences and degrees of change at the individual and relationship levels. Reflection around healthy relationships and communication skills learned through SASA! activities or community activists led to more positive interaction among many couples, which reduced conflict and IPV. This nurtured a growing trust and respect between many partners, facilitating change in longstanding conflicts and generating greater intimacy and love as well as increased partnership among couples to manage economic challenges. This study draws attention to the value of researching and working with both women, men and couples to prevent IPV and suggests IPV prevention interventions may benefit from the inclusion of relationship skills building and support within the context of community mobilisation interventions.


Community mobilisation; Partner violence; Relationship change; SASA!; Violence against women

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Conflict of interest statement

Compliance with Ethical Standards Funding The Sigrid Rausing Trust (grant #: PHHPDY79), 3ie (grant #: OW3.1059), the Stephen Lewis Foundation (grant #: SASA AA2), an anonymous donor, AusAID and Irish Aid provided funding for this research. The analysis and writing of this article was supported by the STRIVE RPC (grant #: PHGHHD76). The views expressed are those of the authors alone. Conflict of Interest Lori Michau is Co-Director of Raising Voices and designed the SASA! approach. Janet Nakuti is the Monitoring and Evaluation Officer for Raising Voices. Tina Musuya is the Director of CEDOVIP and in charge of the implementation of the SASA! intervention being evaluated. They played a central role in ensuring the appropriate conceptualisation and implementation of the study. They had no direct involvement in data collection and analysis. They have input into the interpretation of the findings. The other authors declare that they have no competing interests. Ethical Approval All procedures performed in this study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and national research committees and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors. Informed Consent Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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