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Rape prevention programme coming to SA


Local organisation NACOSA will be the first to implement No Means No Worldwide’s evidence-based IMpower programme in South Africa. The announcement comes at a critical time in South Africa’s battle to turn the tide on sexual and gender based violence and will form one of a number of interventions by civil society working to reinvigorate its campaign to address the scourge.

The IMpower violence prevention system offers knowledge, skills and practical strategies that end the cycle of violence by teaching boys to respect and support women and girls, and empowering girls to stand up for their rights.

“What we love about this programme is that it has been proven to work,” says NACOSA’s Executive Director, Maureen Van Wyk. “NMNW’s extensive research shows that IMpower reduces the incidence of rape by half and also reduces pregnancy-related school drop-outs. This is very exciting for us at NACOSA, as we work with young women and girls across the country to respond to sexual violence, prevent HIV transmission and help them stay safe in school.”

IMpower uses empowerment self-defense to teach women and girls between 10 and 20 how to identify risk early, how to say no effectively, and, if that doesn’t work, how to use physical self-defense in order to escape danger. IMpower helps boys and young men understand that all forms of violence, including rape and sexual harassment are not acceptable. They also learn to recognize when girls or women are in trouble and learn practical strategies of how to intervene safely.

Thanks to funding from Philanthropical Foundation Sint Antonius Stichting, NACOSA will be working with No Means No Worldwide to roll out IMpower in South African communities starting with Gauteng, Mpumalanga, KwaZulu-Natal, the North West and the Western Cape and reaching 5,000 adolescent girls and boys.

“We’ve been following the recent news in South Africa and it’s just devastating,” says No Means No Worldwide’s Director of Programmes, Leah Krumpholz. “We are glad to be bringing this important programme to South Africa soon.”

IMpower is a rigorously tested and proven intervention that targets boys and girls aged 10-20 through 12-hours of education and skill building training coupled with strong referrals and support for survivors of sexual violence. Delivered by highly trained local community members who are deeply committed to protecting women and children, IMpower is one of very few interventions from across the globe that have been proven to significantly reduce incidence of sexual violence.

“We hope this is just the start,” continues Van Wyk. “NACOSA plans to integrate IMpower into our existing gender based violence interventions and build additional capacity to train on, and implement it. This programme should be available in every community in the country.”

No Means No Worldwide agrees: “We are thrilled to work with NACOSA and its network of partners and expect that this work will set the stage for massive scale up of IMpower programming led by strong local organizations in the coming years.”

Watch a short video about the IMpower programme

Notes to editors:

  • NACOSA is a network of over 1,800 organisations working to turn the tide on HIV, AIDS and TB. NACOSA promotes dialogue, builds capacity with training and mentoring and channels resources to support services on the ground, focusing on children and youth, key populations and women and girls. Because of the link between gender based violence and HIV, NACOSA has worked with survivors of sexual and domestic violence and within communities to prevent gender based violence since 2011. For more information visit
  • No Means No Worldwide (NMNW) is a global rape prevention organization whose mission is to end sexual violence against women and children. NMNW train instructors in high-risk environments to deliver the proven IMpower rape prevention curricula to boys and girls ages 10-20. Wherever they teach, the incidence of rape drops by 50%. Find out more at

Media inquiries contact Sophie Hobbs: or 021 552 0804