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. 


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.


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.


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.*


•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

*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





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.



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