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Cross-Border Observations from India and South Africa

In early 2013, two young women were brutally gang-raped and murdered in different parts of the world: Jyoti Singh Pandey, a 23-year-old from India and 17-year-old Anene Booysen in South Africa. Both cases received uncharacteristic attention but what were the dynamics and specific factors and circumstances that propelled them into national and international prominence and can unpacking this influence the development of enhanced strategies to tackling endemic violence against women?

“Sexualised Violence in the National Debate: Cross-border observations from India and South Africa” is a joint project between the South Africa and the India offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation. The project, which commenced in 2013, produced two comparative studies – one on South Africa co-authored by Joy Watson and Vivienne Lalu and the other on India authored by Urvashi Butalia. The studies analyse the political, media and community responses to the rape and murder of the two young girls in the context of perpetuating violence against women in both countries. The studies also assess to what extent the unprecedented attention to these two cases led to any tangible social transformation processes.

What the comparative studies revealed is that although the cases were somewhat similar in nature, the social and political reactions to the rapes and murders of the young girls differed. In India the government’s response to the mass eruptions of social protest was to initially curtail it rather than to respond to what its citizens were calling for. In South Africa, while some marks of social protest were made across the country, it was politicians who took the centre stage. Almost as soon as news of Anene’s death hit the media, politicians descended onto the small town of Bredasdorp, using any opportunity as a forum for party politicking. Despite these initial problematic responses, some positive remedial measures did emerge. Although some concerns remain on the implementation of these measures what the responses to the rape and murders of these young girls proves is that the state can prioritise addressing violence against women particularly when media influence and/or just the right amount of public pressure is placed on it to do so. 

There are however 'no quick-fix solutions' say the authors of the South Africa study, “strategic thought needs to be invested in the prevention of sexual violence. Otherwise, both private and public spaces will continue to be sites of potential danger for women and girls.”

The studies can be downloaded by clicking on the above links. More media articles on this project can be found on the Heinrich Boell Foundation website.

For more information or to request hard copies of the publication contact: Claudia Lopes, Tel: 021 461 6266, Email: claudia.lopes@za.boell.org.

The overall goal of the Integrated Access to Care and Treatment (I ACT) is 'to promote early recruitment and retention of people living with HIV into care and support programmes. I ACT strives to improve the uptake of Pre-ART Care in Health Facilities and HIV Counselling and Testing (HCT) opportunities.'

I ACT, Integrated Access to Care and Treatment, supports people living with HIV by providing knowledge and skills through:

  • Facilitated group meetings based on a proven curriculum;
  • Referrals to health facilities, partner organisations and other support groups;
  • Community-based projects for alumni of the programme;
  • Training, education, and support for facilitators.

“I ACT was developed to counter the problem of patients not returning to healthcare facilities for follow up visits post HIV diagnosis, especially when their CD4 count is still high. I ACT focuses on educating newly diagnosed pre-treatment individuals on topics related to their diagnosis; but also on empowering PLHIV to take responsibility and ownership of their condition. I ACT is a strategy similar to traditional support groups, however it is a more structured, finite and curriculum-based approach. I ACT helps people to learn, share and live positively,” said I ACT project manager, Shaun Skidmore.

The I ACT programme has six learning modules which are facilitated in either a closed or open group format. Closed groups are defined as consisting of the same group of people that commit to attending all six I ACT sessions, upon completion of this six session curriculum participants are referred to external support structures, either facility or community based and a new closed group can then be created with new participants.

Open groups act as a marketing method for I ACT and there is no obligation for people to attend these sessions. Facilitators generally do an open presentation in waiting areas on one of the six topical areas that have an impact on people living with HIV and then inform listeners about the I ACT closed groups. In this way referral not only takes place via clinic staff but from waiting rooms as well.
 
The six I ACT topics used during Closed and Open Groups build upon each other, they include:

  • HIV/AIDS, STIs and OIs including TB;
  • Treatment Literacy and Adherence;
  • Acceptance of status;
  • Disclosure;
  • Nutrition and health living principles;
  • Prevention with positives.

Foundation for Professional Development (FPD) is the training partner for I ACT; we provide a five-day I ACT facilitators skills training to people who already have content knowledge of HIV, OIs and TB. The trainees are provided with the skills to facilitate support groups using the structured I ACT model. Post-training where we also provide mentorship to all participants trained on I ACT take place over a three-month period. This is done to assist with support group implementation at facility or community level and to work on sustainability measures.
 
“Presently discussions have begun on the integration of FPD’s community projects, namely Community Based Counselling and Testing (CBCT), Integrated Access to Care and Treatment (I ACT) and Adherence Clubs (AC) that will lead to the improvement of health systems strengthening and provide a comprehensive community package of care that will align to the Integrated Chronic Services Model (ICSM).” concluded Shaun.  

- Foundation for Professional Development, www.foundation.co.za.
 

The Programme Director

The honourable Deputy Minister, Buti Manamela

Chairperson of National Lottery Board, Prof Nevhutanda

Chairperson of SANGONeT, Tebogo Makgatho

Executive Director of SANGONeT, Kenneth Thlaka

Distinguished guest

Ladies and gentlemen
 
It an honour to be afforded an opportunity to speak at such an auspicious occasion and represent my President and my organisation SANGOCO. Our partnership with SANGONeT is a match born of South African conditions of struggle for freedom.

SANGOCO and SANGONeT have engaged in a robust programme of changing the world of civil society engagement with the developmental agenda. It has come to our realisation that empowering civil society in the age of information, requires constructing new ways of thinking and tools in the information, communication and technology (ICT) area. Our resolve is to ensure that information sharing across the sector becomes a living force charged to consolidate our efforts, improve our communication, link us to sides of knowledge, solidify our networks and generally give us access to the world of finance through donors and other international financial institutions.

Tipfuxeni is a Tsonga word meaning wake up and do things for yourself. We believe that generating this indigenous knowledge using global technology would advance the development and outreach of civil society to tackle issues such as poverty, inequality and the scourge of unemployment.

The Tipfuxeni project allows interaction of civil society sector on this platform. It further allows the donor community to align itself to the sector in terms of the goals and achievements envisaged. We will draw from government the developmental agenda as captured in the National Development Plan (NDP), different departmental growth and development strategies, and last but not least Corporate South Africa for their corporate social investment.

We support the idea of creating an open society driven by values of transparency, accountability and democracy. A society in which all are open to opportunity, but more importantly one in which even the least among all will develop sufficiently to desired potential. Our intention and purpose is to bridge the gaps of a divided society constructed to perpetuate poverty and inequality to one where resources are shared for the benefit of all, but of course dialogue is primary, access to knowledge is paramount, resources are key and Tipfuxeni project is the foundation to build on.

In conclusion

SANGOCO and SANGONeT remain resolved that work has to be done by all sectors, government will lead and civil society will complement and hold leaders and itself to account on the transformation project.

Finally, let me commend the National Lotteries Board for supporting this initiative of the civil society organisations.

I Thank you.

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The South African National NGO Coalition (SANGOCO), in partnership with the Southern African NGO Network (SANGONeT), launched the Tipfuxeni Project, on 23 September 2014 in Johannesburg.

Tipfuxeni, is a two-year online capacity building project aimed at South African non-governmental organisations (NGOs). One of the components of the Tipfuxeni Project is an interactive web platform, which provides NGOs, especially those that have not benefited from any information and communication technology (ICT) projects before, the opportunity to take advantage of ICTs and raise awareness about their work, share best practices and access information on NGO opportunities, among others.

Speaking during the Tipfuxeni launch, deputy minister of monitoring and evaluation in the presidency, Buti Manamela, described South Africa as a better place due to NGOs such as SANGOCO and SANGONeT whose mission over the decades, and in the outcome of Tipfuxeni, has been in cultivating active and vocal citizenry by being participants in their own development. Manamela states that, “The Tipfuxeni Project recognises that ICTs have a critical role to play in ensuring that NPOs [nonprofit organisations] embrace the vision outlined in the National Development Plan’s Vision 2030. The project is founded on the belief that access to ICT plays a crucial role in creating conditions for meaningful participation of people in society.  The profound meaning of the Xitsonga word Tipfuxeni, which means Do It For Yourself, is a critical underpinning of our national call to action, Together We Move South Africa Forward.”

He adds that, government is deeply committed to working with NGOs to combat concerns of poverty, unemployment and inequality which continue to haunt society 20 years into democracy.

To view the full speeches delivered at the launch refer to:

SANGOCO and SANGONeT would like to thank all civil society organisations and all stakeholders involved for supporting the launch of the Tipfuxeni portal.

We encourage you to continue engaging the sector on issues relating to NGO fundraising in South Africa through the Tipfuxeni portal, www.tipfuxeni.org.za, Twitter: @Tipfuxeni_Tipx and Facebook: Tipfuxeni Portal.

 

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