No Means No Worldwide (NMNW) is a global rape prevention organization whose mission is to end sexual violence against women and children. We train instructors in high-risk environments to deliver our proven IMpower rape prevention curricula to boys and girls ages 10-20. Wherever we teach, the incidence of rape drops by 50%. Girls learn to identify risk, say “no” and talk their way out of trouble. If that “no” is not respected, they also learn physical skills to back it up. Boys learn to challenge rape myths, ask for consent and intervene if they anticipate or witness predatory behavior. 

The Need

Globally, an estimated 35% of women experience some form of sexual violence in their lifetime. In Africa, that percentage increases to 45%. According to the UN Population Fund, almost 50% of all sexual assault victims are girls age 15 or younger. In the slums of Nairobi, where our programming started, 1 in 4 girls are raped every year. To a global community in need of a truly effective solution to gender based violence, NMNW is uniquely qualified to lead the effort.

Service Delivery

NMNW’s technical work includes training and certifying local male and female instructors to deliver the IMpower curricula and supporting them to monitor and evaluate our intervention and its implementation. We hold implementing partners to high performance standards, to ensure curricula fidelity and program efficacy.

Impact Highlights

NMNW has rigorously evaluated its program: our research partners have published four quasi-experimental studies and one randomized control trial (RCT) in peer-reviewed journals, with one RCT currently under analysis and another under review. Key findings include:

  • 50% decrease in the incidence of rape among female participants
  • 50% of female participants used program skills to stop a rapist in the year following the training, and 20% used the skills more than once
  • 74% of boys who witnessed physical or sexually assaultive behavior in the year following the program successfully intervened to stop it
  • 46% decrease in school dropouts due to teen pregnancy among schools where we teach

Impact Footprint

  • Programs through Ujamaa Africa in urban Kenya (since 2009) & rural Malawi   (since 2015)
  • More than 180,000 girls and boys aged 10-20 taught IMpower skills
  • At least 300,000 sexual assaults prevented
  • $7.44 to prevent a rape


It all started...

In 2006, No Means No Worldwide Founder Lee Paiva was walking through the Korogocho slum in Nairobi, Kenya to check on a microloan business. Her translator began whispering about the people and shacks they passed.

“This girl was raped at knife point, this child is a rape baby, this girl is HIV-positive from rape by her father, this is where a grandmother died after being gang-raped, this woman’s baby was raped...”

Lee felt she had entered a nightmare. A baby raped? A grandmother? It sounded as if every female there had been sexually assaulted. The translator shrugged as if to say, “It is what it is.”

This experience struck a personal chord in Lee, and she immediately set out to prove that “it” was a rights atrocity and the result of egregious gender-related power imbalances. She further sought to show that an education curriculum rooted in individual rights and  empowerment self-defense skills, similar to the one she had practiced in the United States, could be transferred to slum environments.

In October 2009, Lee started building No Means No Worldwide by designing and piloting a violence prevention and intervention system called IMpower. She worked closely with educational and academic experts across the globe to design curricula and training materials. The aim was to stop the cycle of violence by educating girls and boys to create gender equity for community-wide, generational change.

In 2011, Lee began training instructors to deliver IMpower programming. In 2012, she teamed up with the Kenyan nonprofit Ujamaa to  launch classes and gather data for impact evaluation. This effort led to the formation of the Gender-Based Violence Prevention Collaborative in partnership with Stanford University. The collaborative produced five scientific articles published in major international journals about the impact of NMNW’s work.

IMpower is now a leading dual-gender violence prevention curriculum for youth. The male and female IMpower Instructors trained since launching NMNW have taught over 180,000 girls and boys in Kenya and Malawi. In addition to pioneering cutting-edge prevention interventions, NMNW created a 12 Step recovery program for survivors called Sexual Assault Survivors Anonymous (SASA). These meetings are held across Nairobi and provide long-term steps to recovery free of charge.

In 2015, after three years of testing its program in Kenya, NMNW was ready to achieve transformative scale in preventing gender-based violence by becoming a best practice global training academy and technical assistance provider. NMNW’s technical assistance approach is to provide comprehensive support to existing local implementing partner organizations like Ujamaa, so the partners can deliver and evaluate high quality rape prevention programming.

To bring an end to the global rape epidemic, NMNW believes that education and training are central to prevention and that the decades-long focus on costly, reactive aftercare must end. NMNW has a measurable and proven model that has been verified as primary prevention to stop sexual harassment, assault and rape. Now, NMNW’s job is to spread that model as widely and as quickly as possible.


“What No Means No Worldwide is proving through its sexual assault intervention is that you don’t need to build 142 police stations, like they did in Tanzania, for millions of dollars. What you need to do is build training capacity in human beings and then train kids to use what’s already within themselves.”

—Catherine Maternowska,
Child protection specialist, Unicef Office of Research-Innocenti

LEE PAIVa – Founder & CEO

Lee Paiva is founder and CEO of No Means No Worldwide and creator of IMpower, a dual-gender violence prevention and intervention program. Since 2007, she has implemented her program in the six largest slums of Nairobi, Kenya. In 2013, she partnered with researchers at Stanford University to form the GBV Prevention Collaborative, which led to her co-authorship of five peer-reviewed articles about the efficacy of IMpower classes in cutting rape and pregnancy-related school dropout by 50%. She also founded Sexual Assault Survivors Anonymous for survivors ages 5 and up. She is a Mulago Rainer Arnhold Fellow and her work has been featured on CNN, MSNBC, FOX, and ESPN, among others. She lives in San Francisco, California.


Makaria Reynolds – Managing Director

Makaria Reynolds is responsible for leading NMNW's operations, strategy execution, performance management, and development and organizational growth, in support of the Founder/CEO. She has 15+ years of experience working across a variety of development sectors, most recently leading a multi-country technical assistance program at the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation. Makaria has a proven track record managing complex international development projects in the fields of HIV/AIDS, maternal and child health, and reproductive health. She is skilled at developing and managing effective partnerships with donor agencies including CDC, USAID, UNICEF and private foundations, and has significant experience managing multi-million dollar grant awards to success. Makaria holds a Masters Degree in International Affairs from Columbia University, with a specialization in Complex Humanitarian Emergencies.

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Leah Dozier Krumpholz – Director of Programs

Leah has nearly 15 years of experience designing, managing and evaluating youth empowerment and development initiatives across the globe. Having lived in Southern Africa for many years, Leah works fluidly across different cultures and builds strong relationships based on friendship, trust, and mutual respect. She has a comprehensive understanding of non-profit management, and has helped NMNW define a unique growth strategy, build streamlined operational structures, expand partner and donor networks, and design sustainable social impact programs. Having raised more than $22 million for youth-focused development initiatives worldwide, Leah is accomplished at both fundraising as well as managing awards to success. She is also the co-Founder of Groundswell Education, a global consulting group that has been working deeply with NMNW since 2015.


Kidist Teferi – Special Operations Coordinator

Kidist Teferi is the Special Operations Coordinator at No Means No Worldwide. Kidist brings almost 10 years of experience in event management, administration, logistics and customer service with knowledge of the day to day operations of a non-profit organization. Kidist recently worked at a sexual assault prevention organization that sought to mobilize men to use their strength for creating cultures free from violence against women. She also worked on the Hill as a Congressional Intern focusing on Foreign Relations issues. Originally from Ethiopia, Kidist is passionate about ending sexual violence against women in Africa and all over the world.


Kirk Friedrich – Strategic Development

Kirk Friedrich is a social entrepreneur and non-profit executive who previously served as a co-founder and Executive Director of the award winning global adolescent health NGO, Grassroot Soccer. Kirk helped to lead Grassroot Soccer over a 16-year period from startup to scale, providing comprehensive health education for more than 2 million young people in 50 countries. Kirk has been a vanguard in the field of sport-based positive youth development, and is passionate about helping organizations develop their technical and operational skills to improve the lives of young people worldwide.  Kirk serves as the Board Chair for Young 1ove in Botswana and is Founder and Executive Director of Safe Roots Foundation.


Marissa Strniste – Monitoring & Evaluations Manager

Marissa Strniste is responsible for managing Monitoring & Evaluation operations at No Means No Worldwide. With over 10 years of experience in international development, she has directed participatory Monitoring & Evaluation programs for 5 years. Marissa has expertise in expanding the ability of organizations to identify and collect relevant data, evaluate impact, synthesize insights, and facilitate learning. She has worked across sectors with community-based, mission-driven organizations that focus on women's empowerment. Marissa is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, serving in both Paraguay and Costa Rica. She holds a Masters in Public Administration in Development Practice from Columbia University and speaks Spanish, French, and Guaraní.

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Katya Castillo – Global Master Trainer

Katya completed her Master’s in Gender, Globalization, and Human Rights at the National University of Ireland, Galway. While there, Katya worked with the Centre for Global Women’s Studies on advocacy for women’s health issues. After completing her Masters, Katya worked for Lighthouse Relief in Greece, on sexual reproductive health and GBV initiatives at a refugee camp during the European refugee crisis. Katya then joined Global Health Corps and was stationed at New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene as a Clinical Specialist to provide sexual and reproductive health and HIV prevention and treatment targeting millions of patients. Katya enjoys traveling and trying international vegetarian cuisine.

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Clara Paik – Global Master Trainer

Clara Paik holds a Master of Arts degree in Gender and Peacebuilding from the United Nations mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica and is a Returned Peace Corps volunteer who served as a Community Health Improvement Specialist in Zambia. Clara's passion in creating sustainable societies has taken her abroad to help build capacity, especially on preventive health practices, within local communities. Her sociability has allowed her to build strong cross-cultural skills relationships all over the world. Clara is excited to use her experiences to empower girls and involve boys in sexual violence prevention for a safer and gender equal world.

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Aastha Dua -  Global Master Trainer

Aastha holds an International Law degree from the UN-mandated University for Peace in Costa Rica. A human rights lawyer from India, Aastha is devoted to protecting women’s and children’s rights around the world. After beginning her career in corporate law, Aastha decided to transition into human rights law and since then has been part of research studies concerning low-budget private schools in India, trans-Atlantic migrants in Costa Rica and an evaluation of the Indian educational curriculum. Aastha is thrilled to be a part of and to contribute to NMNW’s mission!


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Esty Pittman - Global Master Trainer

Esty Pittman holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations from Oral Roberts University, where her studies focused on gender issues and conflict resolution. Esty has a proud background of working with inner-city children, at-risk youth, and teenage girls through various ministries in her home state of Illinois. Esty is fiercely passionate about gender equality and is committed to a life of empowering youth to change the world. Esty is excited to begin her career with NMNW to empower and educate girls and boys to ensure a future free from violence.


Marrisa Hutchinson, Rosebud IMpower Instructor

From a very young age, Marisa has devoted much of her free time to serving others. She holds to her heart the many beautiful things her mom instilled into her heart-- compassion, goodwill, and sensitivity. Marisa believes that the values her mother instilled in her guided her to serving others even after her mother passed away. Her volunteer work for Special Olympics aided decision in choosing her field of study. She studies Special Education combined with Elementary Education at Sinte Gleska University where she is a full time student. Marisa understands the innate power that women have and believes that because women are the givers and supporters of life, it is our moral obligation to protect them.


Rachel Janis, Rosebud IMpower Instructor

Rachel has been involved with numerous initiatives important to her indigenous community. In 2013 Rachel joined the Tokala Inajinyo Suicide Prevention Mentoring Program, and participated in a Carlisle Repatriation Efforts Movement with the Sicangu Youth Council.  By 2017 Rachel went to Standing Rock for the Dakota Access Pipeline protests and was selected to represent her tribe at the White House Tribal Nations Conference and Tribal Youth Gathering walking in the People’s Climate March, as Miss Sicangu Owayawa Oti. She is currently obtaining her Business degree at Sinté Gleska University in Mission, South Dakota. Rachel is excited to start her journey as an IMpower instructor in some of the same schools she attended while growing up in the Rosebud area.



  • Carol Lloyd

Vice President, Editorial Director for GreatSchools, and award-winning journalist and author. Her writing appears in The New York Times Magazine, This American Life, Los Angeles Times,  San Francisco Chronicle and as well as being featured on NPR’s Talk of the Nation, and PRI’s The World.

  • Vida Sanford

San Francisco-based social worker and educator who has pioneered successful school-based mentoring programs and innovative research projects for the San Francisco Unified School District.

  • David Lisak

Clinical psychologist, researcher on rape and homicide, international forensic consultant, Founder, Bristlecone Project and Founding Board Member of 1in6.

  • Jennifer Keller

Ph.D., Clinical Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences.

  • Maggie Law

Software Designer, team leader, and mentor who is excited to work for community-level efforts to improve the lives of women and children at massive scale.


  • Mary Catherine Maternowska

UNICEF Office of Research Innocenti


Founder and CEO Edgework Consulting


Founder Grassroots Soccer


UNICEF, Child Protection Specialist


Consultant,, MIT


Founder CEDOVIP, Uganda


Adolescent Health Advisor JHPIEGO, USA /  Kenya


Writer and Director of Beauty Bites Beast book, movie

  • Emily Scott

Philanthropic Director, The Resiliency Fund Guide/Facilitator, ES -The Power of And


In an effort to stay current with research in the field of sexual gender based violence (SGBV) prevention, NMNW offers six-month internships for volunteer researchers. Each month, the research group studies organizations working to prevent SGBV that have published peer-reviewed papers proving behavior change impact. This helps NMNW remain informed about advances in the SGBV field and incorporate aspects of what is working into programming and services. Our gratitude to our research interns: Grace Margaret Lovio, Yessenia Gomez, Erin Thomas, Natasha Richards and Rebecca Adamson.