By Rahwa Hassen, Rise Up Program Associate
In February 2020, Rise Up successfully held its first Advocacy and Leadership Accelerator Workshop in South Africa. Twenty-two visionary leaders from across the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal provinces gathered for Rise Up’s intensive, one-week workshop in Pretoria, where leaders leveraged their experience in diverse fields such as STEM education, human trafficking, gender-based violence, LGBTQI discrimination, and women-led agriculture. During the workshop, the Rise Up Leaders elevated their leadership, advocacy, and capacity to create change, and developed their own advocacy strategies to advance gender equity in South Africa.
After the Accelerator, the Rise Up Leaders submitted their advocacy proposals and underwent a competitive selection process for seed funding to implement their strategies. Rise Up is excited to announce the funding of five advocacy strategies below! This first round of advocacy projects will increase girls’ power in education decision-making spaces, reduce sexual violence within the South African correctional system, increase healthcare access to sex workers, reduce poverty among women and girls through improved economic policy and programming, and reduce school-based violence, impacting thousands of women and girls across South Africa. These Rise Up Leaders will transform their communities to advance gender equity and improve the lives of girls and women during the global COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
Junior Citizens Southern Africa (JCSA): Amplifying female voices in key educational decision making processes in order to reduce gender inequities within school leadership and better respond to the needs of female students through an addendum to the National South African Schools Act (1996) that requires a 50% quota for representation of in-school girls between 14-18 years old on school governance boards in Gauteng Province.
Just Detention International-South Africa (JDI-SA): Reducing sexual violence in South African prisons through the incorporation of JDI-SA’s sexual abuse training curriculum into the standard training for all Department of Correctional Services Officers nationally.
Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (PACSA): Reducing gaps in healthcare access for female sex workers through the creation of a comprehensive, nondiscriminatory mobile health clinics program in the uMgungundlovu District, Pietermaritzburg.
Project Empower: Increasing economic opportunities for women and girls by strengthening the implementation of the EThekwini Expanded Public Works Programme, which seeks to alleviate poverty by establishing a technical working group made up of women from informal settlements and townships to ensure their voices and needs drive government programming that impacts them in Durban and EThekwini Metropolitan Municipality.
The Bold Empowered Affirmed Revived (BEAR) Foundation: Reducing gender and sexual-based violence in schools by strengthening the implementation of the National School Safety Framework and establishing a local accountability structure to monitor and evaluate school-based psychosocial support services in 13 schools in Diepsloot, Johannesburg.
Look out for more Rise Up news from South Africa in the coming months to learn more about these advocacy strategies and the achievements of the Rise Up South Africa Leaders.