Atuki Turner

Ashoka Fellow
Fellow Since 2005


This profile was prepared when Atuki Turner was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2005.
The New Idea
By empowering various community structures such as police, schools, health centers, and courts, to do something about domestic violence, Atuki is nurturing collective local ownership of the problem and developing a model for responsive communities. In much of Africa, women who are faced with domestic violence, particularly in rural areas, have little choice but to endure it or flee. Living in fear, they cannot be full participants in society, raise healthy and confident children, or be leaders in the development of their communities and societies. Atuki works with communities to realize and free themselves from this constraint on their own development. Through local women’s groups, Atuki uses an interactive program to train existing stakeholders such as health workers, police, judges, teachers, and young people to be more aware and to prevent and respond to domestic violence. She also works with the women’s groups and other actors to create new community structures, such as community safety forums, advice and legal aid centers, by-laws, and community panels that hear cases and recommend appropriate action.
Many women’s organizations assist survivors and potential survivors of violence through counseling, economic advancement, and awareness building. Until communities feel collectively equipped and responsible to address the violence in their midst, however, women will be at risk. Atuki is facilitating a societal shift that puts whole communities, rather than government, citizen sector organizations, or women alone at the service of this problem. Atuki’s community-based model, which she backs up with national-level policy work to create an enabling legal context, is replicable in communities anywhere. A resource kit she created to educate communities about domestic violence is already being used in other African countries and the UK.
The Problem
The Strategy
The Person

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