Faith-based organisations join hands to tackle GBV
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Cape Town - A coalition of faith-based organisations and civil society groups say they want to make sure “their homes are in order first” when it comes to the collective fight against gender-based violence (GBV) and femicide in the country.
Around 40 faith-based organisations, under the banner Faith Action to End Gender-Based Violence, officially launched the 70 Days campaign yesterday in an effort to contribute to the eradication of GBV and femicide plaguing the country.
The leaders acknowledged the role played by religion in creating an environment in which these heinous acts could be carried out and could continue.
Sonke Gender Justice co-founder Reverend Bafana Khumalo said the various faith-based groups had come together to play a crucial role in ending the scourge of GBV and femicide.
The 70-day campaign – initially planned as a 100-day campaign – aims to facilitate discourse, create more awareness and lead to action and accountability.
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Southern Africa co-ordinator Ashmeer Joseph said it was evident that patriarchy and its foot soldiers, toxic masculinity and misogyny, was prevalent in the faith-based sector, thus leading to the idea for a campaign to actively take a stand against it.
We Will Speak Out SA head Daniela Gennrich said faith-based groups, places of worship and GBV activists had met in June to discuss what it would take to create a society free from GBV and femicide.
The collective said it would be aiding and supporting faith-based organisations to become actively engaged in anti-GBV activities and co-ordinating this work for a wider impact.
“So much is happening in little pockets. If we can find ways to collaborate and work together, we can have a massive impact on (the eradication of) GBV and femicide in the country,” said Gennrich.
She said they strived to be as inclusive, with members of the LGBTQIA+ community participating.
Minister of Women in the Presidency Maite Nkoana-Mashabane expressed her gratitude to all involved.
She said she was happy that there was a new “strategic framework” that enjoyed the support of “people who come with tools of analysis, national tools, God-given tools...”
No such strategy could work without this vital support, the minister said.