Third Gender Justice and Local Government Summit

Date: April 22, 2012
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365 Days of local action to end violence and empower women
23-25 April 2012

Johannesburg, 21 April: Approximately 280 participants from ten Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) countries will converge in Johannesburg (Kopanong Hotel), South Africa from 23-25 April 2012 for the third Annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit. South Africa Minister for Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana and the Zimbabwe Minister for Local Government, Urban and Rural Development Ignatius Chombo (MP) will open the summit.

The third summit follows Joyce Banda in Malawi taking over as the first woman president in her country and Southern Africa following the death of Binguwa Mtharika earlier this month. SADC is also supporting its daughter, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma who is vying for the Africa Union Commission chairpersonship. The summit also takes place on the back of Earth Day on 22 April and continues through Green Office Week. The summit will thus have several green themes and events.

The summit is a practical illustration of the Southern African Protocol on Gender and Development at work in the lives of ordinary women and men in the SADC region. The Protocol, adopted in 2008, has 28 targets for the attainment of gender equality by 2015, also the deadline for the Millennium Development Goals that include gender equality (target three). Gender Links (GL), as coordinator of the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance, is leading a campaign for an Addendum to the SADC Gender Protocol on Climate Change.

Convened by GL under the banner 365 Days of local action to end violence and empower women, the summit is being attended by local government authorities, municipalities, NGOs, journalists and representatives of ministries of gender and local government.

The annual summit comes during challenging times as the representation of women in local government moved backwards in elections in South Africa, Zambia and Lesotho over the last year.

However, Lesotho fought hard to retain the quota for women in local government, and with 49% women representation, it is still a shinning example that gender parity in this sphere of governance is possible. Mauritius also broke new ground by adopting a quota for women in local government in the coming elections. This necessitated a Constitutional amendment that has paved the way for Mauritius to become a signatory to the SADC Protocol (Botswana and Mauritius still have not signed this key instrument).

Since last year GL, the Medical Research Council of South Africa, Women’s Affairs Division of Botswana and Mauritius Research Council have conducted research on GBV indicators showing that 25% to 67% of women in the region have experienced some form of violence in their lifetime. South Africa, where the conference it taking place, is reeling from a cell phone video taped case of 13 boys and men gang raping a mentally ill young woman.The South African cabinet has condemned this act as “barbaric.À Minister Xingwana is in the midst of urgent consultations on action required to halt the shocking levels of violence in the country.

The winners from the six countries which held country summits, as well as entrants from Lesotho, South Africa, Swaziland and Mozambique À“ 110 À“ altogether will present their best practices in ten different categories. These will be judged by the audience and also a high level panel of judges. The major highlight of the summit is the Gender Justice and Local Government Awards taking place at a gala dinner on 25  April where awards will be presented according to the following categories:

  • Gender violence- Prevention of GBV at local level À“ how do councils/ institutions/ organisations work to ensure that GBV does not occur? This category includes strategic and innovative communication campaigns and initiatives, specific GBV campaigns and 16 Days campaigns, including cyber dialoguesduring the 16 Days this award will go to the council/ institution and organisation who host the best innovative cyber dialogue during the 16 Days period and who hosts a 16 Days activity that demonstrates impact. 16 entries have been submitted.
  • Gender violence – Response to GBV at local level À“ what do councils/ institutions/ organisations do to advance legal literacy, work with local police, etc. to ensure redress for victims? How do you respond to GBV? Nine entries have been submitted
  • Gender violence – Support around GBV at local level À“ how do we support those who have experienced GBV. 12 entries have been submitted.
  • Gender and governance: programmes and campaigns to prepare women for political office and elections and support their effective participation as well as programmes and campaigns supporting men gender champions. Five entries have been submitted.
  • Local Economic Development: including youth economic empowerment and empowerment of women À“ at local level to enhance the ability of young women to take control of their lives. 14 entries have been submitted.
  • Climate change and sustainable development: projects at the local government level that address the gender dimensions of climate change. Seven entries have been submitted.
  • HIV/AIDS and Care Work: at the local level, what are councils doing to support care-givers including advocating for the involvement of men. 15 entries have been submitted.
  • Institutional – COEs À“ This award is for the council/s that demonstrate/s the greatest commitment to ending GBV  and COE councils that have made the greatest progress and have completed stages 1 À“ 10. 22 entries have been submitted.
  • Leadership À“ Individuals À“ What role is being played by women and men in championing the processes of gender mainstreaming at the local level? Seven entries have been submitted.
  • Youth leadership, including junior local councils and young women actively engaged in local government/ politics who show particular innovation and dedication to ending GBV at the local level. Four entries have been submitted.

Other highlights

  • The Summit kicks off on  23 April with a panel discussion on local elections in the SADC region À“ Lesotho, Zambia and South Africa in the last year; Mauritius, Madagascar, and Zimbabwe this year. The plenary will also launch the GBV Indicators research. This plenary will be followed by parallel sessions. That evening, there will be a commitment ceremony by representatives of the 141 Centres of Excellence for Gender in Local Government.
  • In the spirit of Rio +20 World Summit on sustainable development, 24 April will start with a plenary discussion on gender and climate change. Delegates will contribute to a memory box on “the world we want by 2015À to be opened at the summit in three years time.
  • The final day, 25 April, there will be a “Walking the Green TalkÀ morning walk by summit participants. An IT extravaganza will follow it where elderly women who have been using ICTs will share stories of how these have changed their lives. The extravaganza will be preceded by the launch of the Gender and Media Diversity Journal issue 10, Gender, Popular Culture and Media Freedom happening just in time for World Press Freedom Day on 3 May 2012. Awards will be presented on the same day at an evening gala dinnerand video footage documenting some of the grassroots initiatives will be shown. Footage can be made available on request.

Table One: Country Gender Justice and Local Government Summits


Total number of participants

No of entries









































Mauritius, Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Madagascar and Zimbabwe held country summits prior to the regional summit. The table shows that the country summits attracted 350 entries and   703 participants (63% women and 37% men).

Table Two: How the Summit has grown over three years







Country Summit

Estimated Regional Summit


Total number of entries






Total number of categories






Total number of participants






Table two shows that:

  • The number of participants has grown from 200 in 2010 to 983 in 2012, as a result of the country summits.
  • The number of entries has increased from 109 in 2010 to 461 (350 in country, and 110 at the regional summit; some winners from country summits and other lateral entrants from countries that did not have country summits).
  • The number of categories has increased from six to ten.

To view the best practices, the programmeand policy briefs on gender and climate change; the 50/50 campaign; and the GBV indicators

To sign the petition for anAddendum to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development on Climate Change follow this link

To view the editorial of the journal Gender, Popular Culture and Media Freedom, click here

For more information contact: Saeanna Chingamuka call 082-229-2337

0 thoughts on “Third Gender Justice and Local Government Summit”

Mkabayi Chwayita says:

Seems to be a good summit for women how I wish I`ve recieved an invitation to represent my municipality as Gender Focal Point.Hope to recieve resolutions of the summit.

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