Why Saying No Is Giving African Girls a Better Future

NMNW’s consent classes teach teenagers how to prevent rape

Nov 30, 2017

(Agarianna76 / Shutterstock.com)

Despite the challenges surrounding rape prevention education for teenagers, the awesome NGO No Means No Worldwide (NMNW) seems to have reached a breakthrough. Their IMpower initiative, which provides “consent classes” to adolescents in Kenya in order to change their perspectives on gender , has cut rates of sexual assault among participants in half.

This unique program, which has reached some 180,000 boys and girls, bucks the regular trend because it is dual-gender. As well as learning all about consent, confidence, and bodily autonomy, girls are taught to defend themselves. While boys, on the other hand, are encouraged to intervene if they witness any form of sexual assaults and are taught about respect for women.

Administered in two-hour lessons once a week over six weeks, the course takes place in school and forms part of the regular curriculum, meaning the important message is spread to as many teenagers as possible.

According to research carried out by the NGO, there was a 51% decrease in the incidence of rape among trainees in the year after the program and the number of boys who intervened when witnessing assault jumped from 26% to 74%. The program has been so successful in Kenya that UNICEF is supporting a similar initiative in Malawi.

NMNW was founded over ten years ago by Lee Paiva after she was shocked by the level of sexual abuse prevalent in Nairobi's slums. With a dedicated team and a lot of motivation to change the reality on the ground, NMNW continues to affect the lives women who otherwise would not have a voice.

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A Geography geek to his core, Yoni is a proud introvert and is happiest when traveling, dancing, baking, doing yoga, running or taking pictures of beautiful flowers. He writes about mindfulness, introversion, travel and the benefits of slowing down and enjoying the simple things in life.