• IT Weighs in for Human Rights

    More than half of non governmental organisations (NGOs) in South Africa say that information and communications technology has had a major impact on their ability to advance human rights in this country. This is one of the key findings of a report entitled, State of ICT in South African NGOs 2009.

    The report, which was sponsored by Microsoft and the National Development Agency (NDA), states that while this figure has barely shifted in the past two years, NGOs are now poised to explore the cutting edge of mobile technology and social networking in pursuit of their causes.

    The report was released during day one of the Johannesburg leg of the ‘ICT for Civil Society’ Conference on 14 October 209.

    “It means NGOs are leveraging technology, but not nearly achieving its potential,” says David Barnard, Executive Director of SANGONeT.

    For more information, click here.
  • Review for Free State Nonprofit Funding Model

    Most of Free State government’s contracts with NGOs are coming to an end due to a change in administration.

    The Provincial Department of Social Welfare is using this opportunity to re-evaluate its funding model and to crack down on the prevalence of bogus organisations who are misappropriating tax-payers money.

    The department met with NGOs and told them it wants to increase the number of beneficiaries of its NGO and NPO grants from its current estimate of 1 300. However, the make-up of who gets funding has to change.

    To read the article titled, “Free State NGO and NPO funding model to be reviewed,” click here.
    <br /> SABC News
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  • Mangani Accuses NGOs, Donors for Plotting Against Govt

    The Zambian government has accused the 17 CSOs of conspiring with some donors and some high profiled Zambians to bring down the government.

    Home Affairs Minister, Lameck Mangani, says that some cooperating partners were behind the planned protests over the acquittal of former president, Fredrick Chiluba.
    Mangani says that there is a conspiracy between some disgruntled Zambians and the cooperating partners to portray the government as not being serious in its fight against corruption.

    To read the article titled, “NGOs, donors plotting against govt – Mangani,” click here.

    <br /> All Africa
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  • Njikelana Urges CSOs to Hold MPs Accountable

    African National Congress Member of Parliament (MP), Sisa Njikelana, has urged civil society to call on African parliaments to account on international trade negotiations as MPs have in the past not been "robust" enough in ensuring that such talks deliver on developmental priorities.

    Speaking at a discussion forum organised by the Africa Trade Network and the Trade Strategy Group, Njikelana admitted that MPs have been rumbling and mumbling about always getting the cake already baked when it comes to trade agreements. He says this means they [MPs] only become aware of the content of trade agreements when they have been finalised.

    He also suggested that MPs need CSO's support in order to drive pro-poor trade and development policies.

    To read the article titled, “Stop rubber stamping trade deals,” click here.
    <br /> All Africa
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  • TIZ Clarifies Position on Zambia’s NGO Bill

    Transparency International Zambia (TIZ) says it is not opposed to the registration of NGO but to provision in the bill that seeks to coordinate and regulate CSOs.

    TIZ president, Reuben Lifuka, says that NGOs countrywide recognised the need for formal registration and had as such been registered under the Company Act as well as the Societies Act.

    Lifuka says most NGOs adhered to strict rules of accountability and transparency and this could be evidenced through the submission of information on their activities and how funds were applied.

    To read the article titled, “TIZ clarifies position on NGO Bill,” click here.

    <br /> All Africa
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  • SA Lags Behind Africa With AIDS Campaigns – Motsoaledi

    Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, says that South Africa is lagging behind the rest of Africa with its HIV/AIDS campaigns because it talks too much and acts too slowly.

    Speaking during the South African National AIDS Council meeting in Johannesburg, Motsoaledi says that, “It’s not a secret that we didn’t do well.”

    Motsoaledi says South Africa’s slow response to the pandemic was raised by UNAIDS executive director, Michel Sidibe, in New York in June. He further says SA wasted too much time debating the pandemic, adding that: “Many African countries are implementing; South Africa is still debating.”

    To read the article titled, “SA lags behind Africa with AIDS campaigns: health minister,” click here.

    <br /> Independent Online
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  • AAC Backs SAB Over Alcohol Abuse

    South Africa’s Addiction Action Campaign (AAC) has congratulated SAB Miller on its stance against under-age drinking, driving while drunk and foetal alcohol syndrome.

    AAC’s chairperson, Warren Whitfield, who warns that this is the only first step, says companies profiting from the sale of alcohol need to plough much greater sums into harm reduction investment as part of meaningful social responsibility and righting massive imbalances in society.

    The AAC is campaigning for the complete abolition of alcohol advertising. This view is also supported this week by the influential British Medical Association, which calls for the limiting of the British alcohol industry’s R8 billion annual promotional budget to include its sponsorship of sports and arts events.

    The AAC has already approached the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU), church groups and NGOs to support its march to the SABMiller on 30 October 2009 in Johannesburg.

    To read the article titled, “Anti-addiction group backs SAB,” click here.
    <br /> Citizen
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  • The Equality Courts as a Tool for Gender Transformation

    In March 2009, Sonke Gender Justice Network filed a complaint at the Equality court in Johannesburg against the ANC Youth League Leader, Julius Malema. The complaint was lodged in response to remarks he made to university students concerning Jacob Zuma’s rape accuser claiming that she likely enjoyed herself during the incident. Sonke’s Equality Court case alleges hate speech, unfair discrimination and harassment of women, and is only the second high profile gender equality case to be taken to the Equality Courts since their inception in 2003 (1). This case study provides an analysis of the Equality Courts as a new legal forum for gender transformation work by examining the history and theoretical foundations for the courts, the procedures for utilising the courts, the problems and challenges faced when using the courts, and documenting Sonke’s own experiences in lodging its case.

    In January 2009, the African National Congress’ outspoken and wellknown youth leader, Julius Malema, addressed 150 Cape Peninsula University of Technology students. Already controversial for making inflammatory remarks in which he said he would be willing to “kill for Zuma,” Malema suggested that the woman who accused President Zuma of rape had a “nice time” with him because “when a woman didn’t enjoy it, she leaves early in the morning. Those who had a nice time will wait until the sun comes out, request breakfast, and ask for taxi money.”His words were met with cheers by the student supporters.

    However, many others were outraged. Human rights and gender equality organisations such as Sonke Gender Justice Network (Sonke) were worried about the impact such words would have in a country with alarmingly high levels of rape, where pervasive rape myths result in rape survivors often being blamed for rape and retraumatised in the country’s police stations and courts. Sonke’s Senior Programme Advisor, Mbuyiselo Botha, explained:

    “Malema’s words send a very dangerous message to the country at large. South Africa has one of the highest incidents of rape in the world. If people making statements such as these aren’t made accountable, then they detract from the gains we’ve made toward gender equality.”

    Recent research reveals a dire picture of violence against women and sexual assault in South Africa. A survey in the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal provinces by Professor Rachel Jewkes of the Medical Research Council and colleagues from the University of KwaZulu-Natal, ‘Understanding men’s health and use of violence: interface of rape and HIV in South Africa’, revealed that 1 in 4 men surveyed admitted to having raped a woman.

    The study also found that men who are physically violent towards women are twice as likely to be HIV-positive, and are less likely to use condoms. Any woman who has been raped by a man over the age of 25 has a 1 in 4 chance of her attacker being HIV-positive. These alarming figures, Jewkes posits, are linked to ideas about masculinity based on gender hierarchy, and to a sense of entitlement to sex evident amongst many men.

    The situation is exacerbated by misconceptions regarding sexual violence. A survey of 250 000 school aged youth indicated that males were more likely than females to believe that “sexual violence does not include touching; sexual violence does not include forcing sex with someone you know; girls have no right to refuse sex with their boyfriends; girls mean yes when they say no; girls like sexually violent guys; girls who are raped ask for it; and girls enjoy being raped” ‘Literature review on men, gender, health and HIV and AIDS in South Africa’ for Sonke Gender Justice.

    With this social context in mind, Sonke began seeking avenues of redress. Mbuyiselo Botha explained, “[Malema] is of high profile and influential, so he should be careful and sensible because young people look up to him.” As an organisation that supports men and boys to take action to achieve gender equality, Sonke saw this as an opportunity to prompt discussion about men’s roles and responsibilities in both colluding with and challenging the pervasive rape culture.

    Research on gender activism in South Africa indicates that to date, “organisations working with men have only occasionally used rights-based activism and have focused almost exclusively on community education.” Because of this over-reliance on workshops and community education strategies, “much remains to be done to make work with men truly transformational.” Sonke felt the effort to hold Malema accountable provided an important opportunity to experiment with rights-based advocacy as a gender transformation strategy.

    Sonke contacted the relevant institutions mandated by the Constitution to serve as human rights watchdogs, in this instance, the Commission on Gender Equality and the South African Human Rights Commission, before turning to the Equality Courts. The case has provided an opportunity to test the Equality Courts as a new tool for engaging men in the advancement of gender transformative work.

    Co-Director of Sonke, Dean Peacock, elaborated: “advocacy offers the possibility of generating enough controversy and media coverage to engage millions of people across the entire country in meaningful conversations. [The case against Malema] also offers the possibility that it might fundamentally shape the ways in which leaders think about how they address gender transformation, and in particular, how they address rape.”

    Click here to read the full case study.

    This case study was written by Sonke Intern, Emily Keehn. To find out more about Sonke Gender Justice’s work and read more case studies, visit their website at http://www.genderjustice.org.za/


    1. The Department of Justice and Constitutional Development [DOJCD] notes that “the gathering of statistics on the cases presided over by the Equality Courts is proving to be a challenge.” Decisions are not published in an official reporter, so this figure is an estimate. DOJCD Annual Report 2007-2008, p.51, available at http://www.doj.gov.za/reports/report_list.html/

    Emily Keehn
  • Kidnapped Aid Worker Released

    A Greek employee of the Medecins sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders - MSF) the medical charity, kidnapped in eastern Chad early last month, has been released.

    However, army general, Oki Daggache could not reveal all the details regarding the release.

    In March, British charity Oxfam estimated that 25 attacks occur every month on NGOs operating in eastern Chad.

    The violence is often blamed on bandits, and NGOs have frequently denounced the lack of adequate security.

    To read the article titled, “Aid worker freed in Chad,” click here.

    <br /> Independent Online
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  • The CSI Toolkit

    The 'CSI Toolkit,' a practical ‘how-to’ guide on investing CSI funds effectively. Produced by the CSI Solutions, the toolkit is the first publication of its kind in South Africa and provides invaluable information on the process, from developing a strategy to identifying, planning, managing and exiting community development projects.

    The publication involved a collaborative research process that included interviews with 100 major players in the CSI field. Based on this, it provides information around impact, sustainability, partnerships, social facilitation, capacity building and communicating your CSI activities. It encourages practitioners to actively engage in the process, learn from experiences and make the most informed decisions to develop sustainable projects.

    The Toolkit is aimed at grant-makers, not only corporates with big CSI budgets, but also SMEs that are exploring CSI opportunities. NGOs too can gain value from the information by understanding grant-makers’ expectations. It reflects the effect on beneficiaries at grass roots level, and promotes the practical alignment of business reality with social investment opportunities.

    To order your CSI Toolkit at cost of R450 (including postage excluding VAT), click here.


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