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

Empowered by a successful project funded by the French Embassy (#PISCCA), eBASE Africa is weaving a new chapter in the fight against Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) in Cameroon. Our innovative approach? Traditional African storytelling.

#PISCCA Plants the Seeds

The #PISCCA project identified storytelling as a powerful tool for addressing SGBV, particularly in conflict zones. This project harnesses the power of storytelling to both prevent and mitigate SGBV in the Ntanka community.

What is ''Evidence Tori Day"?


Project Evaluation

The Impact

  • Increased knowledge: Storytelling increased participants' knowledge of SGBV types (62.87%), available medical services (29%), mental health services (14.59%), and legal services (16.28%).
  • Increased service utilization: 1,340 cases were referred for services, including medical, mental health, and legal support.
  • Empowered communities: The project fostered female leadership and empowered women and girls.
  • Unexpected benefits: The project also led to improved community safety through increased lighting, and improved well-being through healthcare outreach programs.

Key Takeaways

  • Traditional storytelling offers a culturally appropriate and effective way to address SGBV in rural communities.
  • Storytelling can increase knowledge, service utilization, and community empowerment.
    This approach can be combined with other interventions to address the root causes of SGBV.

Read the summary report of the study  HERE