Beyond Victims and Villains (BVV)
In 2002 a large national survey of youth in South Africa formed the basis for an evidence-to-action programme that included school- and community-based gender violence and HIV primary prevention education, called Beyond Victims and Villains (BVV). Updated with results of the 2007 surveys in Botswana, Namibia and Swaziland, this audio-drama in eight episodes brings the research results into structured discussions with community groups, aiming to lead to local initiatives to reduce gender violence.
CIET researchers began by facilitating BVV community groups themselves and then trained members of the community to facilitate groups. Discussion of each BVV episode ends by asking what the group members and the community in general can do about the issues raised. Usually the groups listen to and discuss an episode about once a week, and are encouraged to discuss the issues it raises with their family and friends between the episodes. At the end of all episodes with a particular group, the facilitator helps members to identify local strategies to reduce gender violence and HIV risk.
A group of male pupils discuss a BVV episode with CIET fieldworkers.
CIET fieldworkers and community BVV facilitators try to include as many elements of the community as possible. The programme is open to all men and women in the community, young and old, who are interested. The groups can include youth and elders groups, church groups, sports groups, community forums, groups of leaders and elected representatives, schools-based groups, community theatre groups, and community-based organisations. Usually, men and women form separate groups but sometimes participants, especially youth, prefer a mixed group.
The difficulty in involving men in such activities is well recognised by researchers and activists. We use a variety of ways to reach men, for example through the few explicitly men’s organisations and through traditional leaders.
A newsletter about the BVV programme describes some challenges and successes.