The Sixteen Days campaign taking root at local level

The Sixteen Days campaign taking root at local level

Date: March 2, 2011
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One of the most notable successes of the 2010 Sixteen Days campaign is that in at least eight SADC countries there is empirical evidence that some local municipalities joined in. For many this was the first time that they participated. Activities at local level included Take Back the Night Marches, face-to-face thematic discussions and online cyber dialogues. Gender Links supported local government initiatives as part of the Centres of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming in Local Government which Gender Links is currently rolling out across the SADC region.

Under the theme Peace begins at home: Halve gender based violence by 2015, Gender Links partnered with NGOs, local government and national government departments across 14 SADC countries during the campaign.

There were many emerging issues which were addressed, such as on the topic of Sex work and GBV. The question around decriminalising or legalising sex work was central to a debate held at GL offices with sex workers, NGOs and members of the public. It emerged that some sex workers in fact prefer decriminalisation as opposed to legalising sex work.

Homosexuality and GBV also proved to be a hot topic, especially in the context of SADC.
Discussions focused on some of the many incidents of homophobic abuse being reported. This was mirrored in the online cyber dialogues, where honest views could be expressed. This was one of the most controversial topics and discussions moved away from LGBTI and GBV to issues around morality, culture, tradition and religion, all concepts that influenced the way in which participants viewed homosexuals. What was evident from these dialogues is that there is a need to increase awareness and sensitisation campaigns around LGBTI issues.

Internet and GBV also sparked plenty of interest due to many social networking sites becoming places where people are vulnerable to exploitation. The internet is increasingly being seen as a space for GBV and it is necessary that this be considered in strategies aimed at halving GBV by 2015.

The following are among the 2010 Sixteen Days achievements:

  • 13 thematic fact sheets were produced.
  • A book launch – The “I” Stories – Healing through writing, the South African experience. The book looked at women who documented their experiences through writing and how this has contributed to their healing.
  • A collection of first-hand accounts of women who have experienced abuse and men who are ex-perpetrators was distributed through mainstream media.
  • 13 regional thematic cyber dialogues were held: 790 women and 557 men and 837 people whose sex was not recorded participated in face-to-face discussions and online cyber dialogues.
  • Tack back the night marches across many countries.


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