Concept Paper 2019

Background  |  Objectives  |  Campaign rollout  |  Schedule of virtual discussions  |  Social media  |  Outputs  |  Outcomes  |  Resources

Download the concept note.
Download the powerpoint presentation.

Background and context

In preparation for the Commission on the Status of Women and review of the Beijing Plus 25 review in March 2020 African states met from the 27 October to 1 November 2019. Amongst other the Africa position makes strong statements on changing norms and GBV. The recommendations include:

  • We recognise that deep-seated negative traditional and cultural practices, and negative social norms that persist in some African countries, continue to put women and girls at a disadvantage. We therefore place a high premium on eliminating gender stereotypes, transforming gender norms and repealing discriminatory laws, for the effective realisation of the rights of women and girls in Africa, in line with the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, the Maputo Protocol, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and Agenda 2063, “The Africa We Want”.
  • Eliminating all forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls as a prerequisite for gender equality and women’s empowerment:
    1. Accelerate efforts and engage traditional leaders to eliminate violence and harmful practices against women and girls, including child marriage and female genital mutilation (FGM);
    2. Expedite and strengthen integrated support services for survivors of gender-based violence to ensure efficiency, safety and trust through protection mechanisms;
    3. Prevent violence against women and provide care and support services, including victim’s access to justice, social and legal services;
    4. Address multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination and violence against women and girls, particularly among women with disabilities, the elderly, refugees and internally displaced persons who are women;
    5. Enforce zero tolerance and address the impunity of perpetrators of gender-based violence in peace and conflict situations;
    6. Encourage member States to strengthen and enact legislation on the protection of women and girls, as victims of violence.

The 16 Days 2019 occurs against this context and recognises the need to address GBV as part of an overarching project to achieve gender equality. Every year the United Nations declares the period from the 25 November as the 16 Days of No Violence Against Women across the globe.  In 2019, the UNiTE campaign will mark the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, from 25 November to 10 December, under the theme, “Orange the World: Generation Equality Stands against Rape!”

While GL acknowledges the high levels of rape, it is clear that rape is amongst the many forms of violence and discrimination women face across the SADC region. In 2018, GL and the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance in 15 Southern African countries located 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.

In 2019 Gender Links produced #VoiceandChoice Barometer that measured 100 indicators on SRHR in the region, including those drawn from the Alliance’s attitude survey.  The Barometer, launched in August by the Chair of the SADC Women’s Parliamentary Forum, serves as the first civil society shadow report on the SADC SRHR strategy score card adopted by SADC member states in November 2018. Out of the 20 indicators identified by governments, the Alliance found 12 that could be measured across all countries.

The 2019 Sixteen Days campaign recognises that gender-based violence is a symptom of gender inequality. The UNiTE Generation Equality campaign locates the 16 Days in the context of the broader goal of gender equality. This year Gender Links and the Alliance partners will roll out the 16 Days 2019 campaign will occur under the banner 16 Days towards Generation Equality.

The theme places three key concepts at the centre of preventing and reducing GBV. These are:

#VOICEandCHOICE: All citizens and particularly women must be able to exercise their choices freely and articulate their needs in all spheres of lives. This fundamental to democracy and to citizens demanding accountable governments.

#Patriarchymustfall: at the core of gender inequality and indeed gender-based violence is the notion that patriarchy is a monolithic construct that is almost impossible to break down. Women and men need to deconstruct the internalisation of patriarchy within ourselves and challenge its almost mythical power at every level.

#Peacebegins@home: an extension of challenging patriarchal values and beliefs in the self is the equally important task of challenging these within the home. Peaceful homes are equal homes. The 2019 16 Days campaign will re-introduce a past and critical theme, Peace begins@home.


  • To ensure that the campaign to end GBV is located within a broader campaign to achieve gender equality.
  • To challenge the concept of patriarchy and ways to break it down.
  • To identify the challenges that adolescents face when accessing SRHR services.
  • 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 local councils across Southern Africa to roll out the Sunrise campaign to increase women’s agency and economic power.

The integrated model for economic power as an instrument of change comprises four phases, these are: life skills, enterprise training, mentorship and access to finance. The project provided women with the tools to make alternative long-term choices, and set out to increase women’s agency and independence. Women on the programme reclaimed their power and participate fully in all aspects of their private and public life. Women GBV survivors grew their own businesses through access to finance, education and support.

Click here to read more.

Key activities will include:

  • Pre-sixteen days virtual planning at national and local level.
  • Sixteen days information sharing, accountability and making pledges for ongoing activities in 2019.
  • Conducting a rapid assessment of adolescent SRHR service at local level.
  • 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 towards generation equality model

Pre-16 Days National and local level SRHR virtual planning workshops in 15 SADC countries. Each country and local council will identify key activities to take their SRHR campaigns forward and plan for the next year.
During the 16 Days
Virtual discussions, click here for the full schedule

All countries virtual discussions:

  • 26 November 2019: Launch of the SRHR Barometer and Accountability forum: what have we achieved and plans for 2019.
  • 9 December 2019: Pledging our SRHR commitments for 2019.

Thematic virtual discussions on the SRHR campaigns being implemented in country:

  • 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
Rapid assessment of ASRHR services

Conduct a rapid assessment of SRHR services for adolescents in 10 countries.


  • Select local councils to roll out assessment.
  • Work with youth groups in each council.
  • Start 2 December and end 6 December.
Year-long Ongoing advocacy and lobbying on key campaigns and engagement with all stakeholders. Tracking campaign outcomes and taking corrective action where necessary. Ongoing media coverage on SRHR, how it affects people’s lives and the current campaigns.

Schedule of virtual discussions


Social media
Join the campaign by commenting using the hashtags:



  • National (15) and local (100) SRHR plans and campaigns.
  • Ten virtual video discussions and summaries.
  • Results from the ASRHR rapid assessment of services at local level.
  • Reports of engagement with stakeholders.
  • Campaign materials.
  • Media articles on SRHR.
  • Social media messages on SRHR.


  • GBV is located in the broader struggle for gender equality 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 campaigns, click here.
  • For more information on the Sixteen Days 2019 campaign click here.
  • To read the Introduction to the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Sexual and Reproductive Health chapter in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Adolescent Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights chapter in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Safe abortion chapter in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the HIV and AIDS chapter in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Gender-based violence in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Harmful practices in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.
  • To read the Sexual diversity in the 2019 Voice and Choice SRHR Barometer, click here.