Traditional Storytelling Approaches for Preventing and Mitigating Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Ntanka, Cameroon.

Lives touched

Project Info

In this pilot project funded by Grand Challenges Canada, Effective Basic Services (eBASE) Africa will test the acceptability and feasibility of African traditional storytelling approaches, by storytellers and community health workers (CHWs) trained in storytelling, to prevent sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) and child, early, and forced marriage (CEFM) and mitigate their impact on underserved populations in the Ntanka Community in the North West Region of Cameroon. Community conversations during storytelling events will also enable identification of determinants of SGBV vulnerability and offer an opportunity to explore solutions. Community health workers (CHWs) will visit households and follow up with storytelling attendees to identify and refer SGBV cases to health and legal facilities

Learn more about our storytelling approach

Project Background

Leveraging CHWs and family members to lead storytelling will help with systematization, ownership, and referrals (medical, psychosocial, legal). Due to the cultural context, legal services have been specifically avoided by SGBV victims, therefore the team is placing greater emphasis on increasing legal services uptake. This traditional storytelling approach offers a culturally appropriate and cost-effective solution for SGBV prevention and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) promotion. It also offers an opportunity for facilitators to be trained to provide discreet referrals to those in need, increase uptake of SGBV services, and identify strategies for protection of vulnerable groups. Increasing community knowledge and creating an enabling environment for action is intended to increase demand for freely available SGBV and SRHR services (including reporting, as well as medical, psychosocial/mental health, and legal support) in the target region, where there is currently a policy-practice gap.

The initial funding to develop this concept was provided by L’Ambassade de France in Cameroun.

Project Objectives

Proof of concept will be demonstrated by:

  1. 4660 community members participate in storytelling events for SRHR and SGBV education
  2. 300 (out of 600 participating & assessed) community members demonstrate increased SRHR and SGBV literacy and improved knowledge of available services
  3. 100 (out of 600 participating & assessed) community members demonstrate improved legal literacy and understanding of the public judicial system
  4. 504 community members utilizing SGBV health services (post-SGBV care, and/or mental health services) accessed through the project’s referral pathways
  5. 50 community members utilizing legal services accessed through the project’s referral pathways
  6. 54 (out of 64 surveyed) stakeholders who have attended the storytelling events find storytelling an acceptable and feasible method for SRHR and SGBV education delivery

Project Implementation

The French embassy-funded project #PISCCA made several recommendations as a way to #DecrptAndFix SGBV in conflict-hit zones of Cameroon. One of these recommendations was using traditional African storytelling approaches to mitigate and prevent Sexual and Gender-Based Violence. After successfully running the #PISCCA project, eBASE Africa was able to secure a grant from Grand Challenges Canada to run a storytelling intervention.

The main objective of this project was to use traditional African storytelling approaches (''Evidence Tori Day") to mitigate and prevent a wicked problem in Ntanka.

What is ''Evidence Tori Day"?

Preparing for an "Evidence Tori Dey" session.

Firstly, a topic identified.This is done throough meetings between storytellers and the researchers and leading deliberations on the theme to communicated to the community . After a series of ‘back and forth’s, a theme is agreed and the researchers will run the search, build a technical file and forward it to the storytellers

What is a technical file?

A technical file is a systematic document that carries both the scientific and artistic information of the stories to be translated to the public. It has a report of the search strategy, hits and evidence recommendations on the theme and the publication data of the papers used.

Storytellers then extract the evidence recommendations from the technical file and use in writing stories which either be performed as songs, dance, poetry, word slam, spoken word or recitation. After writing the stories, the artists also need to rehearse to be sure they have mastered the art of passing the particular message/evidence in the story.

Project Evaluation