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GL held the first ever gender justice and local government summit and awards in Johannesburg South Africa from the 22 – 24 March 2010 with awards to five women and four men whose work on the ground won the highest accolades from judges and participants during presentations. The summit featured 103 entries from ten countries in a variety of categories including prevention, response, support, individual innovation, institutional good practices, specific GBV campaigns and innovative communication strategies and awards brought together journalists, local government authorities, municipalities, NGOs and representatives of ministries of gender and local government.
The second annual gender justice and local government summit and awards took place in Johannesburg South Africa from the 28 – 30 March 2011 with awards to six women and two men whose work on the ground won the highest accolades from judges and participants during presentations. The summit featured 124 entries from nine countries in a variety of categories including prevention, response, support, women empowerment, leadership, 16 Days campaigns (and Cyber dialogues), COE excellence awards and institutional. Under the banner “365 days of local action to end gender violence: halve gender violence by 2015” the summit and awards brought together journalists, local government authorities, municipalities, NGOs and representatives of ministries of gender and local government. On the evening of 30 March 2011, Gender Links awarded eight winners, nine runners up and nine special commendation awards at a colourful gala dinner that was held at the Summer Place in Sandton, the award ceremony coincided with GL’s 10 year birthday celebration.
GL introduced District level summits (DLSs) for the first time in 6 of the 10 SADC Countries running the COE programme in 2014 and held these again 7 in 2015. GL has held 13 District, 30 National (10 in each year) and three regional Summits (one each year), and included the participation of 20 emerging entrepreneurs from the entrepreneurship programme. This led up to the presentation of 20 good practises by the top 2 women from each country at the Regional Gender Justice summit in Johannesburg in 2014 and Gaborone in 2015. Since 2013, GL has collected 267 good practice case studies on ending GBV at the local level. These case studies are presented and further analysed to inform the writing of the book and development of the DVD for this project. Councils and their presentations are collected and shared on the GL website in the summit’s column here. To further campaign against GBV, the case studies were used to produce a DVD on Connecting the Dots – End Violence, Empower Women which can be found on Youtube. GL has compiled a book and ten country pamphlets on the findings and lessons learned from the project. The summits opened the emerging entrepreneur’s eyes and their horizons to the broader issues in the region.
GL held Pre-summit verification meetings in the three countries that did not hold DLSs in 2014 and 2015 due to lack of critical mass to hold DLSs, in order to review progress of the councils in gender mainstreaming, promoting local economic development and ending GBV within their communities. The DLSs are used as a learning, knowledge sharing and networking platform for councils within similar geographical locations showcasing best practices. This localised model gave COEs more time to participate, to share experiences and best practice. This model proved so popular that two South African Councils (Mossel Bay and Capricorn) held their own local level summits to end GBV. Grand Port Council in Mauritius, which won the prize for the best COE in all of Southern Africa, hosted a study visit for all the councils of Mauritius, themed around local level peace initiatives.
Since 2014, the gender justice and local government summits have been part of the SADC Protocol@Work summits.
In 2015, GL gathered 814 case studies during the district level and national summits. Altogether, the councils, GBV survivors and other partners have presented 2189 case studies at summits. Over the years, the summits have garnered active participation from 1120 women and 505 men (1625 in total) with 70.2% of the participants being women.