Understanding 16 Days of Activism: the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from Awareness to Accountability
Our children are our greatest treasure. They are our future. Those who abuse them tear at the fabric of our society and weaken our nation. – Nelson Mandela (22 November 1997)
Founded by the Centre for Women’s Global Leadership (CWGL) at the first Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991, the Global 16 Days Campaign celebrates its 30th anniversary this year. 16 Days of Activism annually kicks off on the 25th of November. The campaign will run up until the 10th of December. Throughout the years, the campaign has had various themes to focus on. In 2020, the main focus stemmed from amplifying the voices of women workers in the informal economy. This year, the global theme emphases advocacy against gender-based violence (GBV) against women and violence against children.. In South Africa, the theme is the Year of Charlotte Mannya Maxeke: moving from awareness to accountability. This is a step forward in dealing with violence against women and children.
Combatting Violence against Women and ChildrenIt goes without saying that society needs to take accountability for these heinous crimes against humanity. When South Africa became a part of the 16 Days of Activism in 1998, the key reason was to bring awareness to some of the brutal issues we face.
There are ways we can combat violence against women and children, namely:
Child Safety and ProtectionOur Child Safety and Protection (CSP) Programme was created to ensure a safer and securer environment for the youth particularly in schools and their communities. CSP is currently running in Eastern Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu Natal, Limpopo and Western Cape. The aims of the programme are to dismantle corporal punishment and bullying in schools and putting an end to gender-based violence against women and girls.
Previously, the Fund had implemented a programme called Sexual Violence in Schools in South Africa (SeVISSA) which empowers girls in schools to deal with and acknowledge issues of sexual violence. It is operational in the four provinces, namely Limpopo, Gauteng, Eastern Cape and Western Cape. However, the call to address several other issues mentioned, encouraged a broader programme, CSP, to encompass the troubles our youth face within spaces that should be considered safe environments for them.
The Fund continues to work with organisations to ensure the rehabilitations for young perpetrators. More so, providing support to children who have fallen victim of sexual abuse, bullying and corporal punishment. Psychosocial support training for children, educators and parents or caregivers is offered by the Fund alongside the organisations. CSP also affords women and girls with entrepreneurial skills and economic strengthening activities to generate independence and income for themselves.
We at the Fund strive to keep Tata Madiba’s dream alive by ensuring that the children of our nation are protected within schools and their communities. Education is key, in that it eradicates the rise of poverty and GBV. They are the future, and we need to safeguard the future of South Africa. With this year’s theme, we must ensure that accountability is considered in order for change to come. This is to ensure that we can live in a society where victims and survivors become safe and preventing any future perpetuators of violence.
What are you actively doing during your 16 Days of Activism for the protection of women and children?
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