As part of my volunteer commitments, I chair the Board of Westcasa in Melbourne. It is a sexual assault counselling service that provides a safe environment for those effected by the trauma of sexual assault. It also undertakes advocacy in order to prevent sexual assault and to work towards a world free of violence. Recently they held a " Call to Action" day where people participated in activities that influenced prevention of violence especially sexual violence. The Tree of Hop was one such activity where people were encouraged to write messages of hope for a changed world on "leaves" and tie them to the tree branches. An aspirational activity and one that helps us move forward. 

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Comment by irit hakim-keller on September 28, 2013 at 11:55pm

an inspiring activity. thanks for sharing, Laurel

Comment by Eric UWINTWAZA on September 23, 2013 at 9:52pm

Thank you Laurel for sharing. Your activity is similar with one of the steps of our community life competence approach which consist of personal dream and then community dream. I liked your combination of people mobilization and advocacy. In my context, the victims of sexual assault are involved in helping there peers but there is that need of institutional support and that where advocacy could help. I will be happy to share more on what communities are achieving in Burundi and from your experience.

Eric Uwintwaza

Comment by Rituu B. Nanda on September 23, 2013 at 9:17pm

Thanks for posting this Laurel. I found the tree of hope uplifting. I could read the first message of hope- families will find ways to talk about abuse . Acknowledgement is the first step towards addressing an issue.


We used community life competence approach in gender based violence in Guyana. Here is the self assessment framework prepared by the community.

Now my team mate, Eric, in Burundi is working on this.




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