The Deputy Minister of Trade and Industry Ms Elizabeth Thabethe yesterday launched an initiative aimed at ensuring that activism against the abuse of women and children continues beyond the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence Against Women and Children campaign period. The initiative will enable the Department of Trade and Industry (the dti) to empower vulnerable women who are exposed to abuse and will target all provinces especially depressed rural areas. The theme of the programme will be "365 Days of Activism on No Violence against Women: From Abuse to Economic Emancipation".
"The Department of Trade and Industry aims to play a more active role in developing initiatives to ensure abused women are empowered and are able to participate meaningfully in the economy, thereby achieving economic freedom. The initiative will also ensure that the department strengthens its role in the 16 Days of Activism campaign than previously. This will be done with key partners such as the Department of Social Development and the Ministry of Women Children and People with Disabilities," said Thabethe.
She added that a programme of action which includes training, linking women to economic opportunities and entrepreneurship will be developed jointly with other stakeholders. the dti's initiative will collaborate with other government programmes to empower abused women and children.
As a starting point, the Gender and Women Empowerment Unit of the dti visited a village that is experiencing poverty and incidents of abuse in Limpopo.
Thabethe announced that the initiative will be piloted at the Xihosani village in Giyani from next year. The village will be targeted as one of the initial areas to support and the department will spare no effort in lifting the village from the clutches of abuse and poverty.
"We as a department have decided to take the 16 Days of Activism campaign to the next level by implementing a programme that will change the lives of members of the Xihosani community in a substantially tangible and sustainable manner. We will then extend the programme to other provinces to ensure that there is economic empowerment of vulnerable women through targeted economic programmes," said Thabethe.
She added that vulnerable women require support that will empower them to view themselves as active economic participants.
The initiative will focus on women and girl children and ensure appropriate skills, enterprise development and opportunities for job creation and facilitated and developed for abused women and children.
She also emphasised that this initiative will succeed mainly if there is a strong partnership and collaboration with other stakeholders from government, civil society and private sector.