16 Days is over, and now for the next 349

16 Days is over, and now for the next 349

Date: February 1, 2011
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The 2010 16 Days of Activism on Gender Violence is over and so is the buzz of activities and annual spewing of commitments from State and Non-State actors. All that has ended with the beginning of a New Year, yet gender-based violence continues. Will everyone finally live up to the commitments they have made over the next 349 Days, or will it be business as usual?

In South Africa, Minister for Women, Children and Persons with Disabilities Lulu Xingwana said: “While we are having this closing ceremony for the 16 Days of Activism, I must emphasise that this campaign does not end here. This is a 365 Days Plan of Action that we have to strengthen and implement together with all partners throughout 2011 and beyond.”

The 365 Days action plan is a multi-sector framework bringing together all groups that have committed to ending gender-based violence.

In a radio interview with SAFM on 11 December 2010, Xingwana also promised to revive and review the 365 Day action plan. She pledged to ensure that all stakeholders are brought back on board to accelerate implementation. Everyone is now waiting to see if all leaders will live up to their commitments.

Likewise, throughout the SADC region governments held lavish opening and closing ceremonies for the 16 Days campaign while civil society fell over each other in order to hold as many activities as possible. As usual, there are huge human and financial resources going into these initiatives. While this is important and has been shown to raise awareness of gender-based violence, more needs to be done to sustain the campaign throughout the year.

In cyber dialogues attended throughout the region, members of civil society spoke out about what they thought needed to be done to address gender-based violence. The dialogues brought in activists and ordinary citizens and showcased the many different views found in the region. Click here for the cyber dialogue summaries.

Many SADC countries have now adopted year-long action plans and strategies to end violence against women. Mauritius is an exception: although it has implemented more than 70% of committed actions in its National Action Plan to Combat Domestic Violence (2007), there is not much movement. There are no human or financial resources allocated from national budgets to bring these plans to life.

With only four years to go before the 2015 deadline to meet the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development target of halving current levels of gender-based violence, countries have a long way to go. In fact, most countries still have to rely on policy statistics because they have no comprehensive baseline data.



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