ZERO TOLLERANCE TO VIOLENCE: EU, TVEP & MPT
SO MUCH GRATITUDE
One of the things that I love the most about this project is the opportunity to interact and connect with kind-hearted people and one mission: make this world a better place.
I find it incredibly inspiring and motivating working with these individuals, even if for a short period each time. I feel so much gratitude and respect towards those who have been working hard on these projects.
It is also thanks to them and their daily contribution that most of these projects have been turning out to be so successful. I met many motivated, enthusiastic and devoted humans along my journey for whom I treasure a deep and strong sense of admiration and love. My gratitude goes to those who everyday choose to fight for the others’ rights and stand by their sides, sharing moments of suffering and happiness.
I have to admit that I had a wonderful time in Zimbabwe, but of course I was really looking forward to visiting South Africa. I have heard a lot of things about this country, but I am actually happy to be able to see it with my own eyes.
The first project I visited in South Africa was in Makhado, in the Limpopo Province.
Here I met Ellen Mukondeleli, project Manager at TVEP (Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme) which is one of the implementing organisations, along with MPT (Margaret Pyke Trust) and the Population & Sustainability Network.
It is so empowering meeting and connecting with women like Ellen, so devoted to her job and driven by so much determination.
Back in 1997 the Thohoyandou community Policing forum, together with the South African police services SAPS, initiated a Victim Empowerment Committee (VEC) in accordance with the National Crime Prevention Strategy.
MISSION: to generate an attitude of zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and AIDS stigmatisation in the Thumela Municipality of Limpopo province, south Africa.
ZERO TOLERANCE VILLAGE ALLIANCE (ZTVA)
This programme aims to create empowered and safe villages within which women and children have the confidence and feel secure enough to act appropriately against any infringements of their rights and promptly access the services available to them.
The projects aim to build connection with governmental services points like Clinics, Police Stations and Learning Institutions, by providing female and male condoms.
(This lady is one of the Stakeholder from the Department of Health)
The ZTVA strives to impact every aspect of village life in a sustainable manner. A stakeholder committee consisting of community leaders is established and community activists are trained to conduct dialogues and workshop about different topics.
THE ZERO TOLERANCE SCHOOL ALLIANCE
This programme works closely with the Dept of Basic Education, who assists with the selection of schools from which a high rate of violence, bullying, teenage pregnancy has been reported. The entire school must be empowered through a series of rights and responsibility based short talks about gender-based violence, child abuse, sexual assault, HIV and teen pregnancies. Kids and teenagers are given books where they can learn and raise awareness about these important topics.
The project implementation area is characterised by high levels of human rights violations, especially abuse of women and children’s sexual reproductive and gender human rights.
For those who might not know, South Africa has the highest rates of rape in the world. Rape in this country happens across all races, classes and religions and it happens in every province. As well as gender-based violence, rates of child abuse are very high.
Most of the time these types of violence are committed in the home and therefore often unreported. But to address this issue and to end the human rights violations, the project includes the Establishment of Community Stakeholder Forums whose mission is to spread awareness about the above topics around their communities.
(Facilitator holding a Dialogue session, raising awareness about human rights and different topics such as :
HIV, SEXUAL ASSAULT, CHILD ABUSE, GENDER EQUALITY)
As you will see from the photos, I was very pleased to see that as well as women and children, who are most vulnerable to violence, were men and people aged above 60. I must admit that it is very challenging to raise awareness and sensitise individuals about topics that, most of the time, are deeply rooted to the heart of their culture.
But I was very pleased and happy to hear that since the project has started in January last year, the situation inside the communities has been greatly improved. As a result of this, for example, more victims have started reporting incidents instead of hiding them and fewer teenagers got pregnant thanks to the short talks given by training facilitators in the schools about sexual health and reproduction.
(Stakeholder : Mr Liuhalani George Budzwa who helped me connecting with the rest of the stakeholders)
These two policewomen admitted that since the project has started, it has been easier for them to cooperate with the communities.
I have such a wonderful time visiting this project thanks to Ellen and her colleagues and also I had the opportunity to speak about FACES2HEARTS at the local radio and newspaper!
Will soon show you the article and some more photos about it!