What is IMpower
IMpower is as 12-hour, dual-gender course for students ages 10-20 that has been proven to reduce the incidence of rape by half. The course is taught by certified youth instructors in high-risk environments and was developed in Kenya in 2009 by No Means No Worldwide Founder Lee Paiva. Through IMpower, girls learn to identify risk, say “no” and talk their way out of trouble. If that “no” is not respected, girls learn physical skills to enforce their position. Boys learn to challenge rape myths, ask for consent and intervene if they anticipate or witness predatory behavior. IMpower is not self defense. It is a sexual violence prevention, intervention and recovery course that teaches young people the mental, verbal and physical skills they need to stay safe and change their culture of sexual coercion and violence.
The Demand for IMpower
Every week, No Means No Worldwide receives requests from schools, civil society organizations and individuals who want to bring IMpower sexual safety skills to the young people they serve. Below are a sample of answers from our intake forms to the question What would you like to achieve with the help of No Means No Worldwide’s technical expertise?
Madagascar: I would like to help my female students stay in school and graduate without having to drop out due to pregnancy or early marriage. I would also like to change the traditional understanding of gender roles that is prevalent in my community by empowering boys and girls to stand up for girls, not just in crisis situations but also in the home, the school and the workplace.
India: India recently has been shaken by some of the most inhumane assaults on women. I believe the future generation needs to learn and understand what consent is and what it means to respect it. As an urban youth worker, I want to connect you to the right people to bring IMpower to my country.
Kenya: I run a not-for- profit organization that supports women during pregnancy, labour and postpartum through the creation of a network of midwives. Around 60% of the women we encounter are underage and pregnant because of a rape. We collaborate with some schools in our area where we give classes about the female body and empowerment of young girls. I would love to take your program in these schools or among women who do not feel safe here.
United States: South Dakota is second highest in the U.S for rape per capita. Suicide is typically the highest in the U.S. There is very little hope on our reservations. A whole people group are dying and we need help.
Nigeria: Rape culture has eaten too deep into our country. The effects of these acts of terror are leaving longstanding mental damage. We need to take actions to change this, to prevent the next generation from turning out this way. With the help of No Means No Worldwide’s technical expertise, we can change young people’s perceptions about rape and prevent rape culture from being normalized. I feel if the boys are taught more about consent, rape will be drastically reduced.
Mexico: We have been offering “girls night out” at school, where we ask local martial arts instructors to teach some basic moves, but we really want some life skills that go with this and a component for young men also.
Democratic Republic of Congo: DR Congo is sadly known as the “rape capital of the world. “In our centres in Kinshasa, we have many girls who have experienced sexual abuse, and in the neighbourhood we daily hear of little girls and young or older women getting rape. There is a great need here for a program like IMpower. What I particularly love about it is that you teach BOTH girls AND boys. I believe this is the key, not only teach girls to know their true value and know how to react in case of an attack, but also teaching boys to change their view of girls and women, do the right thing and defend women, not hurt them.
Ecuador: We would like to train our Peace Corps volunteers so that they are better equipped to educate Ecuadorian youth on topics such as sexual consent, sexual harassment and rape.
Nicaragua: I think that Nicaragua would benefit majorly from the curriculum and trainings of No Means No. There is a lot of teenage pregnancy and violence against women that I have witnessed.
Sweden: There is a growing problem here with rape, but it is not talked about openly at all. The problem is much bigger than people know. I would to to become qualified in your techniques and then pass it on. I would really like to see this being taught in schools all over Sweden.
Ivory Coast: Gender based violence and early pregnancies are two major issues in Ivory Coast and are at the core of our mandates. We are convinced that if we could lead a similar program in Ivoirian schools, it would make a huge impact on the lives of young boys and girls.
South Africa: I would like to expose the children of Gauteng to the benefits of this programme by empowering them and enriching them. I would like to educate on the effects of abuse on communities and the cyclical nature of it. I believe, with a statistic of one woman being raped every 7 seconds, this programme is not only crucial, it is absolutely vital. We have an enormous problem with abuse against females of all ages, and I believe this can be changed.
Peru: I am extremely interested in using your proven curriculum and expanding to Peru. According to Reuters, Lima is the 5th most dangerous city in the world for women. The statistics around violence against women and girls are astonishing, and “machismo” culture is of course pervasive.
England: To bring confidence for our girls entering their teenage years to say No, feel that it is their right to do so and equip them with skills to defend themselves. To educate our teenage boys, so they respect a girl’s decision to say no.
Tanzania: We have already implemented a self defense training in our refuge. We want to expand this project to the school and would love to include boys, so we can make a real impact in the community.
Colombia: Chocó’s population has one of the lowest standards of living in Colombia. Education and recreational opportunities for children and teenagers are very limited, increasing their leisure time and risk to use drugs and join guerrilla groups and street gangs and fall into prostitution. In this context, non-consensual sex, domestic abuse and teen pregnancies play a big role. We would like to plant the seed of mutual respect and bring attention to the concept of “consensual” to the new generations and to vulnerable girls and children in particular. This requires behavior change that are sometimes linked to cultural aspects. Therefore, training the community to incorporate new values and conducts is key.