Press release: The end of gender-based violence is in sight

By: PfP
Date: 03-12-2019
Media release

Issued by Flow Communications on behalf of GIZ
3 December 2019
For immediate release

The end of gender-based violence is in sight
Multi-disciplinary conference will examine corporate culture, education, religious practices, security forces and the law, media and creative industries, embedded inequality


There is an end in sight to violence against women and girls. It’s an end that demands collective effort and partnership.

A groundbreaking gathering takes place in Johannesburg this week. The Regional Conference: Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Southern Africa – from Evidence to Action brings the best global and local researchers and practitioners together to tackle and end violence against women and girls in South and Southern Africa.

They gather this week at the Indaba Hotel to share results-driven work and put in place a series of practical interventions that will tackle gender-based violence (GBV) on all fronts.

It’s not going to be just another talk shop. The conference brings the best recent global thinking and doing to address the issue, arrest it and reverse it. For the first time, it brings to the region insights and practical applications that have had proven impact to prevent GBV. It will unpack the huge cost (material and otherwise) that GBV extracts from the people of the region. As important, it will bring solutions to apply to the unique cultural and other factors that cause and compound GBV in this region. The gathering will put in motion a series of interventions to make Southern Africa a much safer place for girls and women.

This is the first time that academics, researchers and practitioners with expertise in the wide variety of causes of GBV will gather in South Africa in a forum designed to share insights and learnings, so that a collective and comprehensive plan may be put into place to keep girls and women safe.

The conference is organised by the regional programme Partnerships for Prevention of Violence against women and girls in Southern Africa, implemented by Gesellschaft für internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) and its partners on behalf of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development; the Department for International Development (DFID) in the UK; the SA Medical Research Council, the Ford Foundation and the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) Gender Unit.

Says Begoña Castro, regional technical adviser at GIZ: “Prevention of violence against women and girls demands a multi-disciplinary and multi-viewed approach. Delegates bring a wealth of knowledge, insights and experience to the conference floor. Most important, insights and work already done by the delegates and their organisations have yielded good results, and have brought rates of GBV down where interventions were applied. Now we come together to discuss the latest evidence and translate them into action to roll these solutions out across the broader region.”

Gender-based violence is an issue the world over. However, it’s a scourge in South Africa and the wider SADC region where rates of violence against women and girls are in international comparison higher than they are in other parts of the world.

Challenges include insufficient enforcement of the law; not enough resources to implement laws, policies and programmes; and not enough monitoring and evaluation of the impact of legislation. Plus, to address the root causes of this kind of violence demands addressing attitudes, behaviour, traditional and cultural practices, stereotypes, media coverage of GBV events, and inequality. These all contribute in one way or another to the brutality that plays out every day in the region.

“Violence against women and children is preventable. We have evidence of what works, and what does not work. This conference is a big, bold step we’re taking in the region to apply what we know. ” says Castro.

The conference brings together development partners, government officials and parliamentarians, UN agencies, civil society organisations, global researchers, media and private sector representatives, and traditional and religious leaders.

Both conference days will include a plenary session (in panel format) and a number of clinics that will home in on issues and sectors that play a key role in preventing violence against women and girls before it occurs: the education sector, the media, the private sector, the churches and faith groups, for instance.

Clinic panellists will include (but will not be limited to) UN Women; Trócaire, the official development agency of the Catholic Church in Ireland; the South African Medical Research Council, Raising Voices (a Kampala-based not-for-profit organisation); Sonke Gender Justice; the SADC Gender Unit; the Ford Foundation; the private sector (including Anglo American and Vodacom Lesotho); USAID (Africa); and academics and field researchers from a number of local and international universities.

After the conference organisers will publish a summary of discussions and recommendations. It will include data and information on good practices, and how best to translate research findings into policy and practice. It will be directed at SADC policymakers and practitioners, and will be widely disseminated in the region and beyond.

The Regional Conference: Prevention of Violence Against Women and Girls in Southern Africa – from Evidence to Action takes place on 4 and 5 December 2019 at the Indaba Hotel. Journalists are welcome to attend. A media briefing will be held at 11h20 on 4 December.
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For more information, to attend any of the sessions and/or the press event, or to arrange an interview, please contact Chuma Siswana of Flow Communications on chuma@flowsa.com +27 11 440 4841.

Follow the #Evidence2Action hashtag on social platforms to stay abreast of conference news, and use this hashtag when engaging about the conference.

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Issued by Flow Communications for and on behalf of Partnerships for Prevention
Chuma Siswana: chuma@flowsa.com +27 11 440 4841

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