Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 28, October 2008

Date: July 2, 2009
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*Mauritius: SADC Gender and Development Protocol goes to villages

*Namibia: Making the numbers count in Politics
* Mozambique: Activists wait anxiously for parlimentary debate over

Domestic Violence Bill
*DRC: Demanding the enforcement of  provisions  in the constitution
through SMS campaign  *Zambia: Consultations on the Gender Based
Violence Bill in progress
*Regional: Trafficking: An issue of national security or personal
human security?
* Zambia: Media harassment ahead of Zambia elections

* Zambia: Experience of a Traditional Birth Attendant
* Namibia: More women still struggle with health care

* Botswana: Assertiveness and gender training for aspiring women
*Swaziland: Case study: WLSA’s Swazi ‘Vote for a Woman’
* Regional: The media: essential to achieving fifty percent women
in leadership by 2015?
* Swaziland: CANGO holds awareness workshop on young women
and HIVand AIDS, human rights and gender

* Mauritius: A communication strategy to popularise the National Action
Plan to Combat Domestic Violence on the cards
* South Africa: Strengthening the National Gender Machinery


* Global:2008 Sixteen Days of Activism upon us

* Southern Africa: Sixteen Days of Activism

* Southern Africa: Gender activists switching on for gender justice

* Africa: Meeting of minds on gender equality at the Sixth Africa Development Forum
*Regional: From National Action Plans to End GBV to communication strategies

* Regional: Pilot project to test GBV indicators on the cards

* UNIFEM Say NO to Violence against Women campaign


* South Africa:  Isolabantwana

* Cyber dialogue: Financing for women in the media

* Cyber dialogue: Financing for gender equality

* Mauritius: Strategic Communications workshop and media seminar

* Taking stock round table and cyber dialogue

* Domestic Violence conference

* SA Launch of ‘I’ Stories

* Cyber dialogue: Human trafficking

* Take Back the Night march


Global: 2008 Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign upon us

Around the world, this year’s 16 Days campaign focus will be on celebrating the 60th Anniversaryon International Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights cannot be universal without human rights for women. This year the global theme is Human Rights for Women À¹-Àº Human Rights for All: UDHR60.The UDHR60 campaign offers an opportunity to advocate for women’s rights and the quest to end gender inequality, and to create a world free from violence, discrimination and injustice. These are critical to building a just, peaceful and sustainable world where human rights for all are respected. For more information of the global theme, click here

Southern Africa: Sixteen Days of Activism
In Southern African countries, preparations are well under way for this year’s Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign (25th Nov to 10th Dec). Several events have been lined up for this year’s including Taking Stock round table to discuss progress made in addressing gender violence; Take Back the Night march, thematic based cyber dialogues, launches of ‘I’ story books in four countries (first hand accounts of GBV); launch of CD rom on anti taxi violence; launch of 365 Day calendar among other activities that will be held at various locations in South Africa and several other  locations accorss SADC countries.  Click here to view the South Africa’s calendar and action plan for the Sixteen Days.  Civil society organisations in the Gender and Media Southern Africa Network (GEMSA) and others will focus on the overaching theme “Peace begins at home” with  a subtheme: Imagine a world free from gender violence and HIV and AIDS. For updates about ongoing Sixteen Days activities visit the Gender Links website:

Regional: Gender activists “switching on for gender justice” during this Sixteen Days
Gender activists in Southern Africa will this year  Switch on for gender justice using Information Technologies (IT) as part of this year’s Sixteen Days activities. Cyber dialogues which have become an annual feature  of the campaign  are moderated online chats on thematic issues related to gender justice on selected days. They  are  hosted on the Gender Links website.  The cyber dialogues can take place in eight language rooms, over and above the main English room. The languages include, Zulu, Sotho, Creole, Portuguese, kiSwahili, Shona, Afrikaans and Chichewa.

A regional planning meeting took place from 3 – 4th November 2008at Westford Hotel in Sandton and brought together key partners for this year’s campaign including the Gender and Media Southern Africa (GEMSA) and its country chapters, provincial coordinators from the Government Communication Information System (GCIS), Ekurhuleni Metro, SALGA Gauteng, Gender Advocacy Programme (GAP), Women and Law Southern Africa (WLSA) – Regional among and Media Action Plan  country  facilitators.    The team agreed  upon dates and themes, roles and responsibilities and finalised logistics of the cyber dialogues. It was agreed that each country facilitator would host at least 5 regional dialogues and aid ordinary citizens in engaging with experts and decision-makers on issues of gender violence during the Sixteen Days of Activism campaign.

These key role players will coordinate the dialogues bringing communities together  – women, men including young girls and boys to central places where they can access  technology.  These dialogues will be preceded by face to face discussions and other activities.  

11  cyber dialogues are planned for this year’s campaign  on selected dates and will focus on a variety of  themes.  Clickhere for cyber dialogues schedule andthemes. You can join the chat on any of those selected dates at the designated time. If you have not used the chat facility before  please follow instructions below to register:
> Go to Gender Links website on the home page
> Click on Etalk in the middle of the home page or click on the cyber dialogues on the top menu bar.  
>  Click on the Gender Links Chat.

> Once there you will see a login screen. Move down and click on register.

> Complete all the registration details. Write down your login and password and click REGISTER.

> You will return to the login page, now type in your login and password and click LOGIN.

> Select the room you want to chat in. To select language chat room go to bottom left hand corner of the page and click on the drop down button. Select language from options presented and press enter.


>  Click on the Cyber dialogues in the middle of the wheel or on the top menu bar.

> Click on the Gender Links Chat.

> Once there you will see a login screen.

>   Fill in your login and password and click on LOGIN.

> Select the room you want to chat in.

> To select language chat room go to bottom left hand corner of the page and click on the drop down button. Select language from options presented and press enter.

Africa: Meeting of minds on gender equality at the Sixth Africa Development Forum

The sixth African Development Forum (ADF VI) on “Action on gender equality, women’s empowerment and ending violence against women in AfricaÀ is being organized by the ECA in partnership with the African Union (AU) and the African Development Bank (AfDB). It will take place from 19 to 21 November 2008 at the United Nations Conference Centre in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

It is clear that as ECA marks its 50th anniversary, there is need to reflect on the progress made towards achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment on the continent; identify the challenges constraining implementation of relevant policies and strategies at the national and regional levels; and seek comprehensive solutions to realistically address outstanding areas of gender inequalities.

Towards achieving this overarching objective, ADF VI will:

>Reflect on the progress made at national, subregional and regional levels to date in promotingender equality and women’s empowerment, and in addressing violence against women; Identify the policy implementation and other challenges that countries have faced

> Share experiences, lessons learnt and good practices in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment and on eliminating violence against women;

> Define priority actions and mechanisms needed to accelerate progress towards achievement of gender equality, women’s empowerment and eliminating violence against women;

> Strengthen and build new strategic alliances and partnerships to take the equality agenda forward.

The forum’s thematic areas
ADF VI will focus on twelve thematic clusters:

ADF VI will focus on twelve thematic clusters:

1. Violence against women

2. HIV and AIDS

3. Health and reproductive rights

4. Education, training and skills development

5. Migration

6. Governance, conflict, peace and security

7. Employment, markets and trade

8. Food security

9. Land and property rights

10. Climate change, water, sanitation and energy
11. Financing for gender equality

12. Gender and ICT

Expected outcomes and follow-up mechanisms

– A plan of action that provides clear recommendations for Member States and development partners to accelerate the achievement of gender equality and women’s empowerment;

– A position statement on African women and emerging issues;

– ADF VI will come up with a proposal for an African decade on gender equality (similar to the recent African decades on water and education) as a follow up mechanism to ensure  implementation of these recommendations. The African decade on gender equality would detail the concrete priority actions to be undertaken by the responsible entities, the performance indicators timeline and clear targets on what is to be achieved for each theme that would be used for assessing progress (including a mid-term review).

Regional: From National Action Plans to End GBV to communication strategies  
Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Swaziland came up with strategies to popularise their National Action Plans to End Gender Based Violence which were developed and adopted between 2006 and 2007.  Convened by Gender Links in collaboration with GEMSA, participants represented national and local government officials, NGOs and CBO. The objectives of the workshop included;
> Developing a targeted communications strategy for  action plans to end gender violence  
> Using the  Sixteen Days of Activism Campaign to leverage the 365 Day Action Plans
> Making IT work for gender justice through building IT skills

A media seminar followedwhich reflected on how gender based violence is covered in the media based on research such as the Gender and Media Baseline Study of 2003 and  the Global Media Monitoring Project of 2005. The seminar explored ways on how  journalists can develop story ideas based on the communication plans and Sixteen Days activity plan as a way of keeping GBV on the agenda but consistently bringing fresh perspectives in the discourse. Participants found the engagements very useful and a practical way of linking journatilsts with gender activists.

The key outputs achieved were;
>  Communication action plans that are country specific except for South Africa
> Sixteen Days calendar and action plans that are thematic and slogans
>365 Day date calendar as a practical tool to stretch 16 days of activism to 365 Days of Action.  The 16th of every month  in the year 2009 will be reflected in the calendar as a date to take stock on what you will  have done  in the past month as a  way of addressing gender based violence.

* The  reports will be available on the  Gender Links website shortly

Regional: Pilot project to test draft indicators on the cards
Gender Links working with partner organisations inclduing  the Centre for the Study of Violence and Reconciliation (CSVR), Soul City, Medical  Research Council (MRC)  and representatives of government officials from Botswana, Mauritius and South Africa have begun in earnest preparations for a pilot project to test draft indicators to measure GBV.

The working meeting held on  3rd October at the Gender Links  Office in  Johannesburg aimed    to determine roles and responsibilities of partners in the finalisation of draft indicators to measure violence against women, the designing of the research and piloting the application of these indicators in the City of Johannesburg. Planning for the piloting of the  indicators in two other countries, Botswana and Mauritius also commenced at this meeting.

There is a growing realisation of the need for a standardised tool that can be used to provide baseline data on the extent and effect of GBV, as well as monitoring trends. One of the key targets set in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development is to half current levels of GBV by 2015. This includes new forms of GBV such as trafficking. The Protocol poses a real challenge to gender activists and governments to establish baseline data on GBV and monitor trends going forward.

Many SADC states have moved from campaign mode (16 Days of Activism) to 365 Day National Action Plans to End Gender Violence. National Action Plans call for strong monitoring and evaluation mechanisms so as to measure impact of programmes. Key challenges include:

> Administrative statistics are inadequate.

> GBV is under reported (in South Africa research says only one in nine rape incidents are paid).

> Many forms of violence, including domestic violence are not recorded.

> Many cases are withdrawn.

> Available info tells us little about the effects; consequences.

> Data available on prevention work going on is weak

The initiative has received interest from the United Nations Economic Commission on Africa (ECA), the African Union and the SADC Gender Unit have expressed interest in the initial work done on GBV indicators in Southern Africa at the Think Tank Meeting. Click here to read full report.

Global: UNIFEM Say No to Violence Against Women Campaign

UNIFEM is currently running an internet awareness and advocacy effort to end gender based violence ‘Say NO to Violence against Women. Launched in 2007 the campaign was designed to feed into the UN Secretary General Ban-Kimoon’s campaign Unite to End Violence againt Women. It has sinced served as a platform for hundreds of thousands of concerned people to add their names to a global call for action, demanding that demanding that the issue be made a top priority globally.

Say NO has also increasingly received support from decision makers from across the world. Heads of State as well as Ministers of 40 countries have added their names on behalf of their governments hence expressing political will to take action on the issue.

All signatures to the Say NO campaign along with a list of Governments that have joined the initiative will be handed to the United Nations Secretary General at a high level event at the ECOSOC chamber on 25 November 200, the International Day to End Violence against Women. Everyone is invited to join the campaign. By joining the campaign will signal support to the efforts of the Secretary General and the targeted outcomes of this campaign namely:

> National legislation on violence against women and enforcement thereof

> National action plans

> Data collection and analysis

> Increased public awareness and mobilisation and

> Systematic addressing of sexual violence as a method of warfare

Click here to read more and add your signature


Mauritius: SADC Gender and Development Protocol goes to villages

Councillors, NGOs and gender activists were invited  from four villages  in the North of Mauritius, Le Hochet, Terre Rouge, Baie du Tombeau and Calebasse. Although Calebasse had no representatives 35 participants, 33  women and  two men were present at what proved to be  a very rich, interactive and thought provoking workshop on the SADC Gender and Development Protocol.

The workshop sought to bring the Gender Protocol to grassroots as part of making the instrument a living document. The following concepts which were not clear to participants were explained  while they were asked to give examples that they are aware of. These included: Gender, gender based violence, gender equality, gender mainstreaming, gender stereotypes, gender sensitive, multiple roles, sexual harassment, sexual and reproduction rights, PEP and female condom.

The following articles contained in the  Protocol sparked debate and interest amongst participants:

1.             Article 6, Article 23 and Article 25 –  Domestic Legislation, Gender based violence and Sexual Harassment À“ Most participants were not aware of  legislations like the Sex Discrimination Act, the Domestic Violence Act, the Child Protection Act, Protection of  Elderly persons Act  and the HIV and AIDS Act that protect them. They were not aware of their right to  have recourse to justice with free legal services. MWO-GEMSA agreed to contact the Ministry of Women to organise workshops on gender laws in these regions. The Sex Discrimination Division will also be contacted.

2.              Article 12 and 13 –  The Girl Child and the Boy Child À“ they did not realise that by bringing up their boys and girls with different set of values they were themselves discriminating their girls. The need to have gender aware socialisation of boys  became clear to the  participants.

3.             Article 14 À“ Representation À“ There are only 17% women in Parliament and 6.4%  make up  village councillors. There are 36 villages in the North with 432 councillors and only 19 of them are women making a percentage of 4.4%. Participants took the commitment of making sure that at the 2010 village elections there will be over 50% women candidates in these three villages.

4.             Article 15 À“ Participation À“ Building the capacity of women À“ the Steering Committee in charge of the Action Plan for the North will organise regular workshops for women. The question of empowering them to talk in public meeting was also raised.

5.             Article 16 À“ Gender equality in education À“ Although girls and boys have equal access to education, the question of gender stereotypes in educational materials were raised

6.             Article 17 and Article 19 À“ Economic policies and Economic Empowerment À“ Although women and men have equal access to loans and to set up their own businesses, women still lag behind and need proper guidance to get loans and advice on how to start their own businesses.

7.             Article 33 À“ Media, information and communication À“ It was agreed that sexist advertisements should be  banned and more women should  have access to  media literacy courses to make them critical consumers of media

Namibia: Making the numbers count in Politics

Namibian gender activists applaud the goal of a 50 percent women in political decision- making by 2015 set by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development, but warn that the real work is only just beginning.

In the last general election in November 2004, 26 women won seats in the 72-member parliament. A voluntary quota of 30 percent of women in party lists helped get more women elected. The replacement by women of several male MPs who died or resigned has brought Namibia above the 30 percent target set by the predecessor of the Protocol – the 1997 SADC Declaration on Gender and Development.

But Lucy Edwards, a sociologist and lecturer at the University of Namibia laments what she describes as the failure of Namibian women to “create wavesÀ. She said, “The mere fact that there are some women in various political parties does not mean that they will challenge the status quo or that they will challenge patriarchy. Presence alone does not create conditions for a feminist agenda, which is to attain complete. Read full article

Source: IPS


Mozambique: Activists wait anxiously for parliamentary debate over Domestic Violence Bill debate
Gender activists    in Mozambique  will not have much to celebrate  during this year’s Sixteen Days of Activism asitseems unlikely that  parliament  will debate the Domestic Violence Bill in  the current  session. The Bill made its debut on the national agenda in 2004.  Four years later there is no  signal of political will to quicken the process and provide relief for survivors of gender based violence.  Civil society has pledged to continue  fighting  until  it is made into law if Mozambique is going to meet the SADC Gender  and  Development Protocol target that all countries pass appropriate laws by 2015.

Currently there is no specific law in Mozambique that deals with domestic violence cases. Although  perpetrators of domestic violence  can be  charged  under some provisions of the Penal Code or the Family Law, these are not adequate and are vague. Many SADC countries have made progresswhile some still lag behind. Currently about half of the SADC countries have domestic violence specific legislation which includes Botswana, Malawi, Mauritius, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa and Zimbabwe. This means that Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo, Lesotho, Madagascar, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania and Zambia are still lagging behind in terms of legislatinglaws that specifically deal with  specifically deal with domestic violence.

Meanwhile  all stakeholders in Mozambique are hoping that the council of Ministers will approve the multi-sector  National Action Plan to Address Gender Based Violence beofre the end of  the year.  The Sixteen Days campaign provides an opportune time  for the Ministers to  consider  signing off this document.

DRC: Demanding the enforcement of  provisions  in the constitution through SMS campaign

A  few days before the  announcement of the new government, the Center for Gender Equality launched a campaign to  mount pressure  on  the Prime Minister to push for  the implementation of gender parity in the National Government in respect of the prescribed Constitutional Article 14: “A woman is entitled to equitable representation in national institutions, provincial and local. The State guarantees the progressive implementation of gender parity in these institutions “.
The observatory for parity has invited all interested individuals to use for the first time in DRC an advocacy direct and efficient: Send an SMS to 1st Minister asking him to advance the implementation of parity in its future government.
The operation has not yielded the expected results since the new government are 6 women out of 51 members. But the initiative should be welcomed.

Zambia: Consultations on the Gender Based Violence Bill in progress

Consultations and submissions on the Gender Based Violence Bill are  still going on. Government has directed the Law Development Commission to conduct the exercise on its behalf. The Bill will deal with all forms of GBV cases in Zambia.

Gender and Media in Southern Africa (GEMSA-ZAMBIA) among other organisations which have thrown their weight to lobby for the speedy  enactment of the sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) Bill. The chapter says the bill will help to combat SGBV. GEMSA-ZAMBIA Chairperson Nelson Banda said women were most vulnerable  to gender À“violence but they lacked adequate protection of the law.

Meanwhile the Young Christian Association (YWCA)  has expressed  concerned with the increased incidences of gender based violence cases in the country. The organization says from January to June 2008, it received 3, 553 cases of GBV compared to 5, 327 cases received from January to December in 2007.


Regional: Trafficking: An issue of national security or personal human security?By Fred Katerere

Trafficking has long been an issue of national importance for South Africa due to the fact that a majority of trafficked individuals end up here. South Africa’s porous borders, persistent gender inequalities and large economy make it an ideal destination point. However the issue seems to be receiving even more attention than usual due to the imminent World Cup 2010, what was once as a clandestine issue that no-one spoke about, is now perceived as an issue of ‘national security’. What is essential in the run up to the Games, is that the issue is framed and dealt with, in a way which highlights the plight of the trafficked individuals. Trafficking is a human rights abuse. Period. The fact that trafficking creates further security concerns for governments is secondary. We must utlitise the lead up to the World Cup to raise awareness of the issue whilst ensuring that the trafficking of women and children, does not increase. This month at least two campaigns have been launched to highlight the plight of these vulnerable individuals. Click here to read   article  
Source: GL’s Opinion and Commentary Service.

Zambia: Media harassment ahead of Zambia elections

By Perpetual SichikwenkweWe are all painfully aware of the dismal proportion of women working at the top of the political pyramid, however is equally worrying is the number ordinary women that are finding it increasingly difficult to vote in political elections each year. The gender based violence that surrounds elections calls into question exactly what we mean by ‘free and fair’ elections and perhaps even further illuminates major defects in our concept of democracy.

In the next three years ten countries will go to the polls, the SADC Community needs to ensure that the average woman’s voice is heard, particularly at election time. Whilst the target of having at least fifty percent of decision-making positions in the public and private sectors held by women, is ideal and worth striving for, we also need to ensure that women are the lower echelons of society are not left without a say.

Despite the fact that there are no provisions in the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development specifically related to gender based violence and elections or political processes, it is felt that the ability of women to vote has a domino effect on achieving the ambitious SADC target of having at least fifty percent women in leadership by 2015. It is therefore necessary to continue to observe and document the obstacle that women face when it comes to voting and furthermore develop and implement provisions in regional instruments that address this type of violence against. It is only with the full participation of female constituents that make up over half of our Southern African societies that our politicians can claim to represent the people as a whole.  Click here to read full article
Source: Gender Links Opinion and Commentary Service


Zambia: Experience of a Traditional Birth Attendant
Martha Akalimikwa, aged 45 and a mother of three – two girls and a boy, decided to take up the voluntary profession of traditional birth attendant after she underwent a difficult labour herself and delivered at home.

Unfortunately her baby, a beautiful girl did not survive. She died upon arrival at the district hospital. The circumstances that led to Ms Akalimikwa delivering at home are not strange to anyone living in a rural district like Lukulu.

Lukulu is one of the seven districts in the western part of Zambia. The district has a population of about 68,373. Women make up the majority of the population and also suffer the burden of poverty, disease and unemployment. Ms Akalimikwa has been a traditional birth attendant (TBA) for the past 23 years. Her work is valued and appreciated by community members that benefit from her services.

In the absence of maternal health services as close to the household as possible, the role of Ms Akalimikwa and many other TBAs in providing health care services is critical. Read full article


Namibia: More women still struggle with health care

Although Government has in the past years built health care facilities across the country, research has found that 70 percent of Namibian women have problems accessing health care.

The Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) 2006-7 report reveals that access to health care facilities is still hindered by distance, time and costs. The time cost of travelling to, waiting for, and receiving health services prevents women from seeking health care. This is worsened by insufficient knowledge tied to women’s low self-esteem, while decision-making dynamics also act as an obstacle to health care.

The report says 39 percent of women have no financial resources and 42 percent are dissuaded by distance, while another 42 percent is affected by lack of transport. The proximity of households to government health facilities varies across regions. Read full article



Botswana: Assertiveness and gender training for aspiring women politicians
Aspiring women politicians in Kasane attended a training session on assertiveness, gender and media to assist them in their quest for political offices from 3 – 5 September 2008. The workshop  emphasised the fact that the  media is a very powerful tool and politicians should be able to use it  to disseminate information and communicate to all sectors of  society.  Women should utilise all mediums to carry their messages such as radio and newspapers which are often  accessible. This would go a long way in bolstering their campaign strategies.

Swaziland: Case study: WLSA’s Swazi ‘Vote for a Woman’ Campaign

This year Women in Law Southern Africa – Swaziland (WLSA-Swaziland)  launched the ‘Vote for a Woman’ Campaign in  the run up to the 2008 elections.  The objective of the campaign was to increase the number of female decision makers at all level of government. There are 360 chiefdoms in Swaziland and therefore the aim was to get women to represent at least 30% of these chiefdoms at various decision making levels and ultimately at least 16 female members of parliament. Whilst WLSA targeted all sections of society and seemed to have the backing of all relevant key stakeholders, they still incurred many problems along the way. For example they found that attitudes amongst women themselves varied and that it was therefore necessary to sensitize society at large and women specifically on the importance of having female representation at all levels of society. WLSA focused on using the following materials to publicise their campaign: posters, T shirts, caps, presentations of television, adverts in print media and community meetings in various chiefdoms. There also had a slogan that when translated in English read: ‘This time is for women’.  In addition, WLSA held three days of training about the voting process and the Swazi Constitution.

One of the successful and innovative ideas that was used by WLSA to stress this importance was  the concept of  story telling: An example of a story told;

‘A government official goes to a village and asks the men in each household if there is a shortage of water in their house and whether or not a better water system needs to be developed in the local area. Each man in turn says that there are no real problems of water shortages in the area, so the government official returns to his office, baffled by the responses.

When the  men return to  their respective households and relay the events of the day to  their wives.  The women stands aghast, ‘But why did you say that??’. ‘Well’ explains the men, when I wake up at 6am there is water, when I need to wash feet you bring me water and when I need to drink water, you bring it to me’. Then the woman replied, ‘but the point is that I  wake up at 4am to go and fetch the water so that when you wake up at 6am there is water’.

This story was used to highlight that the fact that it is women who often understand women’s issues the best. When election time came round at the end of September only 7 (12,7%)  women were elected to the 55-member House of Assembly.

WLSA identified that there were many lessons to be learnt from their campaign:

  • Campaign started far too late; it was launched in 2008 yet the elections were also in the same year.
  • WLSA only managed to cover about a quarter of the 360 cheifdoms due to lack of resources
  • Subsequently some communities had already nominated their candidates
  • Role of the media: It was the opinion of one of the member’s of WLSA Swaziland that the media didn’t sufficiently cover the campaign although a lot of time and money invested in training the reporters.
  • The media practitioners claimed that they did try and support the event however they pointed out that it is essential that they are involved right from the beginning of a campaign: i.e. the planning stages in order that there is in depth knowledge about the campaign and its aims. The media also commented that at large, society and civil society organizations seems to be unaware of the hierarchy of the media houses; having reporters attend a workshop, does not guarantee that the campaign will receive increased coverage as it is the sub-editors and editors that are the gatekeepers of what actually appears in the media. It was therefore suggested that representatives from every level of media houses are present at planning workshops.
  • Many male candidates used the WLSA campaign to further publicise their own campaigns
  • EBC  – the elections committee in Swaziland – failed to hold election training even though it is written in the Swaziland Constitution that the Government must hold election training before an election. This resulted in people being unaware of the qualities that they should look for in a potential candidate and subsequently ill informed voting taking place.
  • Men felt threatened by the campaign and therefore intensified their efforts to block the campaign by pulling together support that they had in strategic positions to silence women’s voices.
  • TV programs that ran in the lead up to the elections did not dedicate sufficient time to women callers therefore men’s views tended to dominate these programs.

Click here to read more about Women and Politics in Swaziland, and why campaigns such as the early implementation of campaigns such as WLSA’s ‘Vote for a Woman’ campaign are necessary.

Regional: The media: essential to achieving fifty percent women in leadership by 2015?

By Susan Tomay

With elections in 10 countries over the next three years, the Southern African Development Community (SADC) has the opportunity to make great strides towards increasing the numbers of women in parliaments and other key decision-making posts in national government structures. How women politicians and media relate to each other, is an important part of whether this happens or not.

So far, increasing women in governance has moved at a snail’s pace. The recent signing of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development raises state commitment from the 30% agreed in 1997 to 50%, despite the fact that, 11 years on, only five countries in the region (Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, and most recently, Angola) have attained the 30% target in parliament.

The picture is similar at the local government level, with only three countries having reached and exceeded the 30% target (Namibia, South Africa and Tanzania) and Lesotho having exceeded the 50% mark with 58% women in local government.

Over the next five years, Gender Links, a regional organisation which promotes equality and justice for women, is working 14 SADC countries, where there will be national and local elections, to build capacity and encourage interaction between women politicians and the media. Beginning with Malawi in the second week of November, and in Botswana and South Africa shortly after, this will provide a unique opportunity to campaign for the 50/50 target. Click here to read the rest of article, brought to you by GL’s Opinion and Commentary Service.

Swaziland: CANGO holds awareness workshop on young women and HIVand AIDS, human rights and gender

Young women from all sections of Swazi society need to be empowered to be agents of their own destiny was one of the main outcomes of a awareness and consultative workshop hosted by the Coordinating Assembly of Non Governmental Organisations in Swaziland (CANGO). The workshop attempted to define the term young women and it was agreed that those who fell between the ages of 18 – 30 yearsqualified to be referred to as young women. Supported by UNIFEM the aim wasto discuss challenges faced by women around HIV and AIDS, Gender and Human Rights issues.

Several issues were debated and the most prominent challenges raised were socio-economic factors where young women endured abuse especially in the textile sindustry while receiving a meagre income. Other issues included: unwanted pregnancies where at least a 100 feotuses were discovered in this year alone at Matshapa by young women who can not afford to take care of their babies.   A lot of the young girls have resorted to selling their bodies in a bid to earn a living.

Two young women living with HIV and AIDS shared their stories and this was a touching moment in the consultative workshop. They spoke out abou t the challenges of living with the virus and how negotiating for safer sex has proved difficult. A number of  men demand unprotected sex putting them at risk of reinfection in the process. None of the legislation in place protect  these young women who sometimes find themselves  being hauled before the law on charges of ‘knowingly infecting’ their clients.

Participants lamented the partriarchal nature of Swazi society as well as the fact that many international human rights instruments have not been domesticated hence compromising the young women’s freedom to exercise their full human rights.


Mauritius:  A communication strategy for  the National Action Plan to combat Domestic Violence on the cards

MWO-GEMSA in collaboration with the  Ministry of Women’s Rights and  Gender Links  are convening a workshop to craft a communication strategy for popularising the National Action Plan to combat Domestic Violence from 17 – 19th November 2008.  This will bring together  NGOs working in gender violence,  gvernment officials directly responsible for the delivery of services to survivors of gender violence such as the police, justice, health, education, media practitioners, UNDP and representatives of Gender Thematic Group.

The Action Plan   was launched by Minister Indira Seebun during the  Sixteen Days campaign  of No Violence  Against Women in  November 2007. It is a harmonised version of that of action plans developed by the Ministry of Women’s Rights, Family Welfare and Child Development and Media Watch Organisation-GEMSA after a workshop held by Gender Links.  The communication strategy will go a long way in order  for the plan to be relevant to grassroots women and men  and that communities promote a  zero tolerance to gender based violence.  Click here to view the National Action Plan to Combat Domestic Violence

South Africa: Strenghthening the national gender machinery

A two-day workshop for National Gender Machinery (NGM) was held to strengthen women’s empowerment and gender equality, the Government Communication and Information System said.

The workshop which was held in Pretoria over the weekend was led by the Minister in the Presidency, Manto Tshabalala-Msimang. During the workshop it was recommended that the NGM must be strengthened in order to effectively implement a national strategy to get more women into the mainstream economy.

It was also agreed that the NGM will continue to engage in the India-Brazil-South (IBSA) processes through the IBSA women’s forum. The national anti-poverty strategy was discussed and a recommendation was made that the policy unit of the Presidency should be approached and engaged about gender issues within anti-poverty strategies.Read more

Source: The Times


In the next few editions we will feature  a series  of  best practices  of the prevention of  gender based  violence.    These case studies were gathered during a mapping  exercise  of promising  violence prevention models in South  Africa. Gender Links was commissioned by the Inter Departmental Management Team of the South Africa Government  under the leadership of the National Prosecuting Authority-Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Unit and UNICEF.

You are invited to submit case studies of ‘What is working in addressing gender based violence.” Contributions should be sent to Loveness Jambaya

This month we feature an example of programmes which focus  on  children and youth and gender based violence. Isolabantwana. Isolabantwana (Eye on the Child) is a community based child protection programme that advocates the collaboration of communities and formal resources when protecting children against abuse, neglect and exploitation. The programme further seeks to educate and enlighten communities about various social problems.  Read more about the project


14 November
Cyber dialogue: Financing for women in the media
Gender Links Office:
14h00 – 15h00;
Or log on to
French, English
Fortune Sibanda
+27 116226597
17 – 20 November Strategic Communications and IT capacity building and media seminar
Port Louis, Mauritius
Loga Virahsawmy
20 November Discussion: Financing  gender violence Gender Links Office:

12h00 – 13h00;
Or log on to
French, English
Fortune Sibanda
+27 116226597
24 November Taking stock: Progress in ending GBV
Constitution Hill, Johannesburg
Round table:
9h30 – 12h00
Cyber dialogue
12h00 -13h00
Adwoa Osei-Asibey
Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah
25 November
International  Day of No Violence Against Women – Launch of ‘I’ Stories
Gender Links Office
Cyber dialogue
12h00 – 13h00 SA time
Launch of I stories, Partonian Hotel; 17h30 – 19h00
English, French, Seshotho, Zulu,
Loveness Jambaya Nyakujarah
26 – 28  November Domestic Violence Act Conference
Parktonian Hotel, Johannesburg
Angelica Pino
28 November Cyber dialogue Human trafficking
Face to face discussion
Launch of WLSA campaign Red Light campaign (TBC)
10h00 – 12h00 SA time
Cyber dialogue
12h00 – 13h00 SA time
Anna Phiri

Comment on Gender Justice Barometer, Issue 28, October 2008

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