Ujamaa Africa

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Dr. Jake Sinclair and Lee Paiva, began working in Kenya in 2000 to help children who had been orphaned and left homeless due to the AIDS epidemic. After making “every mistake in the book” as a white person attempting to “do good” in Africa, Jake eventually realized that direct aid—i.e. starting orphanages, feeding programs and building schools—ultimately perpetuated the most tenacious obstacle to health and well-being: dependency.

As their work transitioned away from direct aid and toward microloan programs focused on improving the economic status of women (the caregivers of orphans), Lee became aware of the extremely high prevalence of rape in the Nairobi slums where their work was based. Lee had taken a women’s self-defense and empowerment class in the Bay Area in the 1990s, and saw how Empowerment Self Defense (ESD) programming would be life saving in extreme risk communities. Thus began a 6 year effort to develop No Means No Kenya and the IMpower system for sexual violence prevention, intervention and recovery. IMpower is the first dual gender sexual violence prevention program in the world. Ujamaa then completed six ground breaking scientific studies that proved how powerfully IMpower works to stop rape (see publications).

We then expanded our programming to Malawi, Somalia and South Sudan and developed and refined our own dynamic, survivor designed, evidence-based violence prevention model called ETT (Empowerment Transformation Training). ETT is comprised of two flagship initiatives: the Girls ESD and the boys Hero In Me (HIM) programs, which target youth ages 10-18 years old in upper primary and lower secondary schools. ETT proved similar striking results in its own recent randomized control trial (currently under review).

Benjamin Omondi, our Executive Director, is now leading Ujamaa to scale ETT through Kenya’s Teachers Service Commission and Ministry of Education in order to reach all youth aged 10-18 in the country—6 million over the next 7 years. A recent RCT shows that ETT, as implemented by TSC Beacon Teachers, achieve similar stunning results (see annual report).


Read Ujamaa’s academic, peer-reviewed research by the world’s leading institutions

Empowerment Transformation Training Reduces Rape Among Girls and Young Women in South Sudan and the Kakuma Refugee Camp

Published in Journal of Adolescent Health (2023)

This groundbreaking study demonstrates a dramatic decrease in the incidence of sexual assault after Ujamaa’s Empowement Transformation Training (ETT) program was brought to the notorious Kakuma Refugee Camp in Northern Kenya. This study highlights the effectiveness of ETT in reducing the incidence of sexual assault in conflict countries where, due to the breakdown of the social fabric, rape is all too common.

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US: +1(415) 518-7319 
AFRICA: +(254) 715 635165

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