365 Days of Action to End Gender Violence

Date: January 1, 1970
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South Africans from all walks of life will join forces at a watershed conference from 3-5 May to develop a National Action Plan to End Gender Violence.

The aim of the conference, which will be opened by Deputy President Phumzile-Mlambo Ngcuka, is to adopt a comprehensive, multi sector strategy and plan for ending violence against women and children.

A follow up to the Sixteen Days of Activism campaign that runs from 25 November to 10 December, the conference is being held under the banner: 365 days of action to end gender violence

Despite a progressive constitution and laws, levels of gender violence remain unacceptably high. Best practice from around the world suggests that what is required is a concerted, multi-sector action plan with concrete targets and measurable outputs. 

The first such attempt in South Africa and in the SADC region, the National Action Plan will harness the momentum generated by a number of significant commemorations in 2006: the fact that this year will be the 16 years of the 16 days; that it is the 10th  anniversary of the Constitution and the 50th anniversary of the march by women to the Union Buildings on 9 August. 

Making use of the “checklist for change” that emerged the 2005 Sixteen Day campaign that included nation wide cyber dialogues in three languages organised by the Government Information and Communication Services (GCIS) and Gender Links, the conference will agree on actions to be taken, timeframes, roles and responsibilities in ten thematic areas. This road map will enhance the annual Sixteen Day campaigns by showing how the commitments will be sustained and acted upon the whole year around. 

With approximately 200 participants from all spheres including national, provincial and local government, Constitutional bodies like the Commission on Gender Equality, civil society, the private sector, traditional authorities, and labour organisations, the National Action Plan will develop a coordinating mechanism to ensure that effective action is taken by all sectors of society and that there is mutual accountability. 

The conference is being organised by a joint government and civil society planning committee led by the Deputy Minister of Provincial and Local Government who is also the champion of the Sixteen Day campaign in government, with the support of UN agencies. 

The opening ceremony takes place at the Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre in Benoni from 7pm on May 3 and will culminate in the adoption of the National Action Plan and establishment of a government-civil society steering committee to oversee and ensure its implementation from 12.00 to 13.00 on May 5. 

This will include a symbolic recommitment to the clauses in the Constitution that affirm gender equality and the right to bodily integrity under the banner “Ten years later: Making the Constitution work for Women and Children.”  

The main work of the conference, takes the form of working groups throughout the day on 4 May, in such areas as legislation and policy; the criminal justice system; gender violence and the work place; public education and awareness; the media; specialised services; comprehensive treatment and care; infrastructure and places of safety (see
programme). Working groups will include panels of experts, decision-makers and practitioners chaired by senior political representatives. 

For more information contact: 
Department of Provincial and Local Government, Bheki Nkonyane, 082 453 8363 
Gender Links, Janine Moolman: 083 324 5024 
National Prosecuting Authority: Thoko Majokweni 083 305 9639 

To access the programme and list of participants, which are being updated daily, go to www.genderlinks.org.za or www.gov.za and follow the link. 

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