South Africa: National Development Agency on Launch of Masiphunge Women’s Empowerment Program

Gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) is a deep and widespread problem in South African communities, impacting almost every aspect of life. GBV (which disproportionately affects women and girls) is systematically and deeply rooted in institutions, cultures and traditions in South Africa. Population-based surveys show very high levels of intimate partner violence (IPV) and non-spousal sexual violence (SV) in particular, IPV being the most common form of violence against women.

To address this challenge, the National Development Agency (NDA) provided funding to the Umtata Women’s Support Center (UWSC) to implement a victim empowerment program in the local municipality of King Sabata Dalindyebo in OR Tambo district in the villages of Baziya, Mpheko, Tabase, Ntshabeni, Msana and Bumbane.

The program, led by UWSC, uses an approach called the Masiphunge (Let’s Have a Cup of Tea) Women’s Empowerment Program to specifically target women living in rural areas and bring them together to share a cup of tea while having a chat. of issues that affect their daily lives. – through conversation, women share their dreams, their sorrows and their achievements. The Masiphunge Women’s Empowerment Program (MWEP) provides a safe space for women to heal and encourage holistic well-being physically, spiritually and psychologically. As a result, women who complete the program are now GBVF whistleblowers in their own communities.

UWSC is an Eastern Cape-based organization founded in 1999 that works on gender-based violence, women’s human rights, HIV / AIDS, sexual reproductive health and rights, and human trafficking. human beings in the OR Tambo District Municipality area. UWSC is a brainchild of the Young Women Christian Association (YWCA) who created the Center due to approaches from desperate women, police and media reports on crime, especially on women, which also affects children.

Today, the launch of MWEP brought together program beneficiaries and officials from various ministries and stakeholders in the affected area, including community leaders and traditional leaders led by Chief Thanduxolo Mtirara as well as the police services. South Africans (SAPS). ; National Prosecuting Authority (NPA) and Women Rights International, among others.

“The Masiphunge Women’s Empowerment Program is a powerful instrument that aims to heal women holistically – mentally, physically and economically by implementing pillars 2, 3, 4 and 5 of the NDP which focus on various interventions. starting with prevention, going through the justice system, care and healing. and finally the economic emancipation of the participating women. We have seen significant changes and growth in all the women, especially the women of Ntshabeni village who have even mastered our last module which deals with forgiveness, “says Ms. Kholiwe Nongauza, social worker and program director at the Support Center for Women. women of Umtata.

Ms. Sinenjongo Makhanda (39) from Ntshabeni village said, “We are very grateful for this program. Masiphunge came to us and healed us in many ways, even our hearts. We are better and stronger and we are definitely healing – the scones we now sell after going through a baking class are our bread and butter. “

“It is through NDA strategic partnerships and an effective capacity building program that we are able to reach underprivileged communities and contribute to critical causes such as GBV. the Masiphunge program. It is a pleasure to come and observe the results of the program today and we hope to do more in the future, ”said Ms. Nokulunga Skeyi, Provincial Director of the NDA.

The Department of Social Development is committed to continuing to support this type of program and to expand it to other villages in the district and beyond. Self-defense courses are also seen as one of the additional services that will be included in the program in the future.

Mara R. Wilmoth