From our early days we hold matters of gender close to our programming. It goes without saying that the importance and relevance of promoting gender equality & equity in a world where women continue to face a array of challenges in a pre-dorminantly male society is key to sustainability. However , we also believe that for meaningful sustainability to take place boys and men must be part of the conversation too!
The Young Women’s Forum is a regional platform where young women receive support in different areas to strengthern their leadership influence. The platform traditionally includes young women leaders from the SADC Region and beyond. Another platform exists for young men dubbed ” Young Men As Equal Partners” that acts as a dialogue platform for young men. In recent times, we have distributed food parcels to women-led households adversely affected by the corona-virus induced lockdowns in KwaZulu-Natal. Gender-based Violence dialogues were facilitated in the same province with female participants of the Community Works Programme.During the 16 days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence, we held a Men As Equal Partners dialogue with the Diepsloot Community in Diespaloot. In Harry Gwala district,we conducted trainings with over 1000 participants in a Solidarity Fund funded project dubbed Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Response Strategies
Following a spate of attacks on women in and around Witbank SAYM together with EverythingCarsNationwide organized a GBV March on the 12th of September 2020 against increasing cases of gender-based violence in the area. The march was held at Highveld Mall in Witbank. It was attended by local youth and women groups . The aim of the march was to send a message to society to put in place practical measures in stopping the everyday violence perpetrated against women and girls. Solidarity messages were shared from various stakeholders ,key messages came from the young women in attendance who are also community leaders.
Too often in the quest to tip the balance of scale in favour of women society is beginning to acknowledge that for substantial impact to be made the men have to be part of the conversations too. In commemoration of the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence we were in Diepsloot enaging with the men from the community on the role that they play in this regard. Educative & enlightening conversations were had on the day and the men in attendance committed to eradicating violence in all its forms including violence against men 🙂
The corona-virus induced lockdown affected everyone in different forms no doubt. However women particularly in rural and marginalised areas became incapacitated to put food on the table as they survive on mostly menial jobs in the informal sector for survival. Of note is how women-led households were among the worst-hit by the strict lockdowns. We took out to Harry Gwala district in KwaZulu-Natal distributing food parcels to over 265 households to cushion them from severe hunger.
Noting that over 65% of program participants in the Community Works Programme are women, we had a series of workshops on gender-based violence attended by female partcipants. At the workshops, trainings were done to equip women with knowledge on GBV including the locally available services where victims of abuse can get assistance. Community leaders also imparted more information on what the leadership is doing to ensure women and girls in Harry Gwala are safe from abuse. The CWP Champion in the area also highlighted the many opportunities that women should grab within the programme to enhance their careers or businesses.
Through support from the Solidarity Fund (SF) the Southern African Youth Movement (SAYM) implemented this project titled “Gender-based Violence Prevention & Response Strategies-Promoting Local Access To Information & Services”.
The project was implemented in Harry Gwala District in the following municipalities; Kokstad,Umzimkhulu and Dr NDZ from April –October 2021.
Given the devastating statistics of GBV in the community,the project sought to bridge the information gap between service providers/duty bearers and the community. Activities on economic enhancement were carried out as a way to motivate and encourage more women to pursue financial freedom. The project also looked at the participation of men as equal partners in the quest for gender equality in light of gender-based violence.