Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 10: 13 December 2006

Date: July 30, 2009
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Southern Africa
Gender Justice Barometer

Issue 10: 13 December 2006

Final  edition: 16 Days Special Series

The Gender Justice Barometer is a joint project of Gender Links and the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) Network
In this issue:

We encourage your feedback, comments and information you would like us to include. Send an email to:

Loveness Jambaya -Nyakujarah


Stretching 16 days of Activism to 365 days
We do not subscribe to the view that such campaigns are a waste of money or time. Any activities that serve to heighten awareness must be encouraged and we are fortunate that NGOs have stretched the dates between International Day of No Violence Against Women (25 November) to 10 December (Human Rights) Day to sixteen days rather than just two. Read full article

Now for the next 365

A few years ago, Gender Links decided to have a year planner stretching from 10 December (Human Rights Day) to 25 November (International Day of No Violence Against Women) the following year instead of the traditional poster. Read full article



Take back the night (also known as Reclaim the Night) is an international march and rally started in the USA, intended as a protest and direct action against rape and other forms of violence against women. Read more.  

To read about marches that took place in the different cities in South Africa, Mauritius, Swaziland and Zambia and to view slide shows


Zambia: Take Back the Night

GEMSA Zambia in partnership with WILSA held a Take Back the Night March at Zesco Great East Road at 17.30hrs.

Regional Cyber dialogue: Role of Men
A regional dialogue was held which focused on the role of men in ending gender violence. Pertinent issues came out of the dialogue such as the need for fathers to be role models to their sons. This is because the environment a child grows up in shapes their future to a large extent. Men and boys should take responsibility for their actions and not see women as deserving violence from men. Abuse of substances such as drugs and alcohol came out as exacerbating the problem. Participants also explored the role of the community, political leaders and the church in ending violence.


Working with the Department of Education (DoE) which hosted a Girls Education Movement (GEM) camp from the 3rd À“ 8th of December in Worcester, Cape Town, Gender Links (GL) partnered Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA),) Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund and the Sexual Harassment Education Project (SHEP) to run a cyber dialogue between school children and officials and experts in Education on violence in schools.

Girls Education Movement camp, Cape Town
Over 300 girls and boys between the ages of 14 and 20 gathered in Cape Town Worcester for a Life Skills Summit organised by the Department of Education. Participants attended parallel sessions under five themes where they received information and skills:  
> Creating child friendly schools
>  Peer support
>  Life Skills
> Conflict resolution
>  Leadership skills
At the end of the sessions they came up with resolutions on how they could contribute to ending gender violence in schools.
Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund, Johannesburg
About 60 boys and girls from different locations in Johannesburg concurrently held a face to face discussion at the NMCF’s office. The discussion was also aimed at getting children to speak out about gender violence in schools.
Pertinent issues were raised and interestingly they were similar to what was discussed in Cape Town. These included issues around the levels of responsibility to ending violence in schools, that is, parental teacher and the learners. Key points included:

Parents: Parents must be role models and must be available for counselling with the school. Communication with children is important because children may act out at school if they are not receiving the proper attention or care from the home. Ultimately they should not leave the responsibility of raising their children to teachers or television. “Television should not be an alternative role model.”

Teacher: The school environment needs to be safe and there must be levels of accountability so that teachers do not have room to become perpetrators of violence themselves. Sexual violence is highly prevalent in schools and there are no real mechanisms that hold teachers accountable for such inappropriate behaviour, they just get a “slap on the wrist and it is pushed underneath the rug.”

The school environment needs to be safe and there must be levels of accountability so that teachers do not have room to become perpetrators of violence themselves. Sexual violence is highly prevalent in schools and there are no real mechanisms that hold teachers accountable for such inappropriate behaviour, they just get a “slap on the wrist and it is pushed underneath the rug”

Learners: The learners need to take responsibility for their own actions as well. It was also suggested that there needs to be increased incentives to be a good learner and to excel in school. There should be peer counselling; training students to encourage one another and skills for conflict management.

The learners need to take responsibility for their own actions as well. It was also suggested that there needs to be increased incentives to be a good learner and to excel in school. There should be peer counselling; training students to encourage one another and skills for conflict management

That triangle of responsibility needs to function and ways to do that would include having programmes like the Life Orientation (LO). For instance, educators should give parents and learners assignments together where they can learn how to communicate with each other, talk about issues that learners are facing in school environments.

Cyber dialogue

The dialogue linked over 53 education officials, educators, boys and girls in different locations in South Africa and Mauritius:
>  Girls and boys from all provinces attending the GEM camp in Worcester, Cape Town
>  Girls and boys from different schools, including from the townships, will gather at the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund (NMCF) offices in Johannesburg
>  Boys and girls from Alexandra township in Johannesburg
>  Girls and boys from Mauritius
>  Several individuals will also join the dialogue
Children discussed the kind of violence they experience in schools and suggested ways in which gender violence could be dealt with in schools. Some of the suggestions that came up as a way forward to a safe learning environment.

TRAINING and PROGRAMS: of educators and learners about conflict resolution and various ways to deal with issues besides violence, more programs around tolerance and respect in schools. Issues of violence should be a focal point in LO classes, and not just about HIV/AIDS.
EXAMPLES/ROLE MODELS: It starts in the home first. Parents must behave the way they want their children to. If children see violence in the homes they will also replicate these actions (issues of domestic violence has terrible impact on children).
GOVERNMENT: Should increase resources to institutions and organisations that can facilitate change in this manner, without the funds it is hard for these programs to be effective.


South Africa: 16 days closing ceremony
The 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign has enabled more victims to speak out against abuse.

National Convener for the 16 Days Campaign, Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government Nomatyala Hangana, said through the various partnerships in the campaign, women had been able to speak out against their abuse. “It is through these partnerships that we have many women who are no longer afraid to speak out against abuse. One of the initiatives of the 16 Days Campaign was to use the internet as a public-private partnership to host a forum of Cyber Dialogues to enable citizens to speak out against violence. The initiative was a joint project of government and the advocacy group, Gender Links. Read full article

Source: Bua News

South Africa: National Action Plan (NAP) task team meeting
To wrap up the 16 days of Activism the National Action Plan task team coordinated by the National Prosecuting Authority (NPA), held a meeting at the Gender Links office to review progress that has been made in finalising the medium to long term National Action Plan (NAP) under the banner 365 days of Action.
Various issues were thrushed. The task team reviewed the strengths and weaknesses of the NAP process thus far. It was realised that coordination of the clusters needed to be strengthened as well as the need to get the business community on board as a critical interest group in this process. The business community launched its 365 days of Action business pledge campaign on the same day Core conveners of the task teams were announced. The team reiterated the urgency with which the Action Plan needs to be finalized as well as resources mobilized led by the PMO for its implementation.
Participants also took time to reflect on the September Zewenwacht NAP retreat held in Cape Town and the need to consolidate outcomes of the Kopanong conference as well as those from the retreat
As a way forward the Prevention and Coordination clusters were tasked with coming up with a marketing strategy of the 365 days of Action programme to ensure there is maximum buy in from all sectors. The meeting also recognized the need to extend NAP to provincial and ward level for easier implementation.
The link between the National Anti-Rape Strategy and NAP was discussed and a discussion on streamlining aspects of the strategy in NAP ensued. This also provided space for participants to clarify the relationship between 16 days of Activism which is a campaign and the 365 days of Action which is a programme.
The meeting came up with a road map for finalizing the NAP as well as the launch which is scheduled for 8th March 2007.
> NAP drafting meeting À“ 23rd À“ 24th January 2007, all clusters
>  Buy in process and feedback À“ by 16th February 2007
>  Finalisation of the NAP À“ 19th February 2007
>  Launch of the NAP À“ 9th March 2007
I stories: Feedback and outcomes of process

On the 13 December GL, GEMSA, POWA and the survivors of gender violence who participated in the Tell your story workshops which culminated in the production of the ‘I’ stories, volume 2 publication convened a feedback meeting.

Survivors of gender violence who had been assisted in writing their stories at the workshops received feedback on how their stories had been covered by the media through GL’s Gender and Media Commentary Service as well as a demonstration of the website.

All involved took a moment to reflect on the process and its outcomes. The survivors opened up and gave testimonies of how writing their own stories had helped them deal with issues they had not dealt with internally. Most did not even know they could put pen to paper and actually have the stories published in mainstream media. GL will soon be running a short writing course for those who want to sharpen their writing skills as part of continuing with the relationship established during this project.

For example Rose Thamae thanked GL for inviting her daughter who for the first time opened up and showed interest for activism against gender violence. The process has also opened doors for her 13 year old grandchild Kgomotso who is an activist following the discovery of her grandmother, Rose’s HIV positive status.

Marco said the project made her realise that “she is not alone” and that there are others who have experienced gender based violence and are also struggling to deal with the issues.

Lindie was pleased that the forum enabled her to share her experiences of hate crime levelled against her and others who are lesbian. She said “Our stories, we only tell them amongst fellow lesbians but this was an opportunity to share with heterosexual women who accepted us for who we are”.

The counselors were also fulfilled and felt lifted by the whole project. Johanna said “this has helped understand our clients better as they also opened up more and mentioned issues they had not even told us before”. They gave examples.

Participants pledged to continue working together beyond 16 days particularly under the 365 days of Action programme.

South Africa: School girls under threat

Naeemah Abrahams

There is a much ongoing discussion right now about gender, HIV/AIDS and the abuse of rights. The empowering effects of education through growth and learning are often cited as a way of providing protection to girls. Education can mean increased opportunities and access to information.

Children spend more time in the care of adults in educational settings than anywhere else outside of their homes. Thus, schools have an important role in protecting children from violence. In spite of this, violence in schools is pervasive and requires more attention than ever before.

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