1. Alcoholi and drug abuse
  2. Domestic Violence
  3. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
  4. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Most communities have at least one pattern of behaviour that damages those involved – the individual, the partner or the family unit. Changing such behaviour is not easy, but it is worth attempting if the problem is severe.

Usually the approach is to form a group of people with the problem and have regular meetings. You will need a good Group Leader and preferably a supportive Committee to help with the first groups.

With some problems, the group would continue to meet for the lifetimes of those involved: people who abuse alcohol, for example, usually do not say that they are cured – in AA they continue to call themselves 'recovered alcoholics' and go to meetings for the rest of their lives.

» See our article with guidelines on How to make a facilitated group effective.

1. Alcohol and drug abuse

» The best-known organisation here is Alcoholics Anonymous. They have a presence in nearly every country, but not all of them have established local services. If they do, you can start a group and get support. If not, they have a publication, the 'Big Book' – look at it and think about starting with only local help. AA has a very strong philosophy that involves the idea of God but does not identify specifically with Christianity, Islam or any other faith.

» Hesperian have materials on preventing and overcoming drug and alcohol misuse. For example, in “Where Women Have No Doctor”, chapter 28 is about “Alcohol and Other Drugs".

2. Domestic Violence

» See our manual folder Shedding Abuse – a course for Men who use Domestic Violence (49 pp. PDF/DOC)

 » In “Where Women Have No Doctor”, see chapter 18, Violence against Women and chapter 19, Rape & Sexual assault

3. Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)

» folder Facts about Female Genital Mutilation (13 pp. PDF)

» Many local organisations are now promoting 'FGC abandonment' and 'alternative rites, for example safekenya.

4. Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Unprotected sex with different partners is responsible for a great deal of the spread of HIV/AIDS. In addition, other STIs lead to difficulties in conceiving in later life for the women.

» Running a group: in folder Health Education for Behaviour Change on page 31 there is a Case Study of a facilitated group to help people treated at an STI clinic. The aim of the group is to change behaviour so that re-infection is less likely.