Men pledge to take a stand against Gender Based Violence and Femicide (GBVF) at Men's GBVF Dialogue held in Lejweleputswa District
Men in Lejweleputswa are saying "No to Gender Based Violence". They have formulated an ongoing programme that will be implemented in partnership with the Lejweleputswa Men's Forum and National Development Agency (NDA) funded civil society organisations in the district.
Gender-based violence and femicide is a scourge that is devastating the South African nation. Particularly, since the Covid-19 epidemic, reports have exposed that violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, is on the increase. Violence against women and girls is one of the most widespread, persistent and devastating human rights violations in the country.
The NDA in partnership with the Department of Social Development (DSD) hosted men to a dialogue, giving them a platform to, with various community stakeholders, engage on issues of GBVF in order to encourage social behavioral change to limit the prevalence and spread of GBVF within the Lejweleputswa district.
"As a government agency, we are providing a platform for CSOs and communities to come together, have the difficult conversations that will help them to come up with solutions that bring about social behavioral change. The change is only possible when responsibility and accountability takes place in communities - that the ownership rests with them", says Itumeleng Kwenane, Provincial Manager of NDA in the Free State.
This engagement was multi-faceted and include participation by Department of Social Development, Lejweleputswa District Municipality, Men's Forum and CSO Organisations: Life Line - Free State; Guardian Angel Care & Support; Tshireletsong Victim Support Group, Theunissen Boitelo Victim Empowerment Organisation, Henneman Victim Empowerment, Safer SA, Hope Creations and Goldfield TIVET College.
"The Lejweleputswa South African Police Services (SAPS) has victim empowerment programmes in all police stations in the district and we are committed to assisting communities with bringing GBV numbers down. The close correlation of alcohol and violence against women is evident and many cases are reported and support services are available to victims of violence if they are reported and cases opened", Warrant Officer Tshepo Sejake.
The Lejweleputswa Men's Forum is actively engaging with men and male youths on interventions that aim to restore the dignity of men as well as mentorship to build a stronger future society of men. "We are happy to be part of the dialogue as it speaks to our core mandate, to support and give courage to men to become better versions of themselves," Mr Johannes Manjani of Lejweleputswa Men's Forum.
Mr Nkhensani Mthembi, National Grants Manager concluded, "The NDA pledges zero tolerance to gender based violence and femicide through strategic partnerships with the sector and our implementing CSOs. Through each engagement we get closer to the goal".
The NDA already funds 7 GBVF organisations in the Lejweleputswa District that focus on implementing programmes and services for the "Prevention, Response, Care, Support and Healing" of all vulnerable persons affected by the scourge of GBVF.