“In a country where 63 women are killed in one month, is there really anything to celebrate? Something has got to give. It’s enough now. If not for us then for our babies. The future generation deserves so much better.”  Kamo Daniella Magabane, Total Shutdown Campaign, South Africa.

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Synopsis  |  Background  |  Objectives  |  Roll out and activities  |  Schedule  |  Outputs  |  Outcomes  | Resources


In 2018 the message is clear: there is no Sixteen Day miracle for ending gender-based violence (GBV).  From the start, Gender Links advocated for Sixteen Days for Life – 365 Days of Action for ending gender violence. The campaign stretches from 25 November to the 10 December. Key dates include:

25 November – International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women
1 December – International Aids Day
3 December – International Day of the Disabled
6 December – Anniversary of the Montreal Massacre
10 December – Human Rights Day

In 2018, Gender Links (GL) and partners across the Southern African region are demanding action every day, 365 days a year, to address the exceptionally high levels of GBV as well violations to citizens’ sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) in all SADC countries. The campaign will move beyond GBV to include all sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) that fundamentally affect citizens’ well-being and opportunities for a productive future. The campaign will focus on policy and legislative change and key populations including amongst others adolescents, LGBTIQA communications and sex workers.

Background and context

Every year the United Nations declares the period from the 25 November as the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women across the globe.  The global theme for the Sixteen Days of Activism 2018 is End Gender-Based Violence in the World of Work. While GL recognises the high levels of violence in the work place, it is clear that this site in of many where women and men experience violence and cannot realise their SRHR due to legislative limitations or bad service delivery.

Between 2010 and 2012, GL worked with 13 SADC countries to develop National Action Plans to address GBV. In addition, through the Local Government Centres of Excellence programme GL has worked with local councils to develop SRHR, HIV and AIDS as well as GBV action plans.

For 2018, GL and the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance in 15 Southern African countries aims to locate gender-based violence (GBV) within the broader context of SRHR. The other key driver in the campaign is to ensure that SRHR is on the agenda 365 days a year. GL has always promoted the notion of the 16 Days for life. All stakeholders have to act consistently over the year to keep SRHR on the agenda.

The challenge is to ensure that the plans remain high on the agenda and are reviewed regularly to respond to changes in the contexts in countries and local councils.

The 2018 campaign takes place against the background of the #MeToo, and #TimesUpCampaign globally, and the #TotalShutdown, and #iwearwhatilike (and many other campaigns) in Southern Africa. GBV is part of a much broader campaign for #VoiceandChoice. in line with Sustainable Development Goal Five – Gender Equality. At a sub-regional level, the holistic approach responds to the relevant provisions in the updated SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.


  • To ensure that the campaign to end GBV is located within a broader year-long campaign to realise SADC citizens’ SRHR.
  • To create linkages between local, national and regional initiatives to strengthen SRHR responses particularly for adolescents and other key populations (including LGBTIQA communities and sex workers).
  • To facilitate virtual discussions to popularise SRHR campaigns across the region, provide accountability platforms, share information and make pledges for actions to improve SRHR over the next year.
  • To urge media practitioners across the SADC region to expand the coverage of GBV to include all aspects of SRHR under the banner #VoiceandChoice.

How will the campaign be rolled out?

The SADC Gender Protocol Alliance focal points in 15 SADC countries, with the support of GL as the Alliance Secretariat will implement national level activities. The SADC Gender Protocol Alliance focal points will engage with their respective governments on key SRHR priorities. This will include policy and legislative initiatives. At local level, GL will work with ten councils in ten countries to run community based SRHR activities with strong youth involvement.

GL believes that ending gender violence, as well as realizing SRHR, is inextricably linked to the economic empowerment of women. GL is working in partnership with 425 local councils across Southern Africa to roll out the Sunrise campaign to increase women’s agency and economic power.

Key activities will include:

  • Pre-sixteen days planning at national and local level.
  • Sixteen days information sharing, accountability and making pledges for ongoing activities in 2019.
  • Calling for innovative SRHR media stories and ongoing media coverage on SRHR.
  • Ongoing SRHR advocacy, lobbying and engagement with stakeholders during the year.
  • Tracking campaign activities.
  • Ongoing social media interventions.

16 Days for life model

Pre-16 Days National and local level SRHR planning workshops in 15 SADC countries. Each country and local council will identify key SRHR campaigns to be implemented over the next year.
During 16 days – Virtual discussions, full schedule follows. Overarching virtual discussions:

  • Accountability forum: what have we achieved and plans for 2019
  • Pledging our SRHR commitments for 2019
Thematic virtual discussions on the SRHR campaigns during the Sixteen days:

  • Safe and legal abortion
  • Menstrual health
  • HIV and AIDS
  • Comprehensive Sexual Education and Services
  • Child marriages
  • Sexual identity
  • Role of the media in strengthening SRHR
Year-long Ongoing advocacy and lobbying on key campaigns and engagement with all stakeholders. Tracking campaign outcomes and taking corrective action where necessary.

Schedule of Discussions

Online petitions and social media

  • Sign the petition to support safe and legal abortion in all SADC countries, click here.
  • Sign the petition for South Africa and Mozambique to improve abortion services, click here.
  • Join the campaign by commenting using the hashtags:



  • National (15) and local (100) SRHR plans and campaigns.
  • Ten virtual video discussions and summaries.
  • Reports of engagement with stakeholders.
  • Campaign materials.
  • Media articles on SRHR.
  • Social media messages on SRHR.
  • Additional sign up to the online petitions on safe and legal abortion.


  • GBV is located in the broader struggle for Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) for all citizens particularly adolescents and other key populations.
  • SRHR policy and legislative changes in the countries that are campaigning for those.
  • Generating a groundswell of activity at local level for better SRHR including education and service delivery.
  • Media coverage moves beyond GBV to holistic coverage on SRHR.


  • For more information on the SRHR campaign, click here.
  • For more information on the Sixteen Days for Life campaign click here.
  • To read the Constitutional and Legal Rights chapter in 2018 SADC Gender Barometer click here.
  • To read the Education chapter in 2018 SADC Gender Barometer click here.
  • To read the SRHR chapter in 2018 SADC Gender Barometer click here.
  • To read the HIV and AIDS chapter in 2018 SADC Gender Barometer click here.
  • To read the GBV chapter in 2018 SADC Gender Barometer click here.

For more information or clarity please email advisor@genderlinks.org.za