SADC: CROSS BORDER SUMMIT FOR GENDER JUSTICE
Date: Friday March 17, 2017
Polokwane, 17 March: The first ever joint SADC Protocol@Work Summit between two countries ended on a high note last night with awards celebrating local efforts to promote gender equality in South Africa and Swaziland.
Over 150 participants from Capricorn District Municipality (CDM), Gender Links (GL) Swaziland Centres of Excellence for Gender in Local Government, entrepreneurs and community based organisations shared best practices under the banner 50/50 by 2030! Empower women, End Violence from 14-15 March in Polokwane City, which hosted the event.
During the opening ceremony, the Executive Mayor of CDM, John Mpe welcomed all participants, especially the delegation from Swaziland. He urged partners to work together within and across borders to promote women’s rights and gender equality. Mpe stressed that “women’s rights are human rights and women must be empowered to participate and intervene in all aspects of life as equals in society”.
The Swazi delegation, which travelled by bus from Mbabane, comprised the Deputy Prime Minister’s (DPM) office representative Mpendulo Masuku, The Ministry of Housing Urban and Development Stephen Khumalo, Mayors of Ngwenya Town Board and Piggs Peak Town Council, councillors and participants from NGOs, the youth and government departments.
At the summit opening, Masuku announced that Swaziland is celebrating the whole of March (which includes International Women’s Day on 8 March) as women’s month.
Swaziland is currently the rotational chair of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC). Masuku underscored the importance of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that has recently been updated and aligned to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Africa Agenda 2063.
Action plans of the over 400 Centres of Excellence for Gender in Local Government in ten SADC countries have recently been updated and aligned to the Post 2015 SADC Gender Protocol. Masuku acknowledged and thanked Gender Links and Capricorn District Municipality for the joint summit and the opportunities for shared learning and networking.
The Executive Mayor or CDM and the representative from the DPM’s office supported the adoption of a strong Post 2015 SADC Protocol on Gender and Development that incorporates the gender targets of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Participants from CDM and Swaziland shared examples of what they are doing to advance gender equality during the two-day summit. There were 11 winners and 23 runner ups including the Entrepreneurship category which had a tie for the second run up position. The awards featured entries by survivors on gender violence who have reclaimed their lives through entrepreneurship training with the support of their councils. Nomcebo Dlamini won the emerging entrepreneur of the year award, with Nqobile Nkambule, Nombulelo Dlamini and Sibongile Mazibuko receiving the runner up awards.
During the awards ceremony GL launched the Sunrise – End Violence, Empower Women Campaign. The public giving campaign aims to raise awareness and resources on the link between economic empowerment and ending gender violence. The summit featured the launch of three Gender Communities of Practice (COP) – local government, the media and the Alliance to strengthen the post 2015 campaign for gender equality.
Gender and disability featured strongly during the summit and at the awards ceremony. The winner of the Entrepreneurship category Nomcebo Dlamini became wheel chair bound as a result of the violence she experienced. She now runs a clothing line for plus sized women as a result of the Empower Women, End Violence programme. In her acceptance speech she encouraged people living with disability to feel motivated as disability is not inability.
Partners in the initiative included Gender Links, CDM, the South Africa Local Government Association (SALGA), Swaziland Local Government Association (SWALGA), Ministry of Housing, Urban and Development and the DPM’s Office. The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) is currently funding the GL Centres of Excellence programme in Swaziland.
For more information contact: GL Governance and Economic Justice Manager – Mariatu Fonnah at email@example.com and the Swaziland Country Facilitator, Ncane Maziya on swdlocalgvt@genderlinks,.org.za or phone 00 27 (0) 64 3198732 or 00268 (0) 76240486.