CABSA was @... 2016

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CABSA was @ the 1st SA Violence Conference. 15-17/8/2016

CABSA represented We Will Speak Out SA and other partners at the 1st South African Conference on Violence, from the 15th to the 17th August 2016 at the Birchwood Hotel and Conference Centre. In addition to materials from We Will Speak Out, materials were share from two Coalition partners: GEMA and CABSA. The Thursdays in Black Campaign was also highlighted.

The conference was exceptionally well-focused on gender based violence. There were over 400 delegates, 129 speakers, 21 poster presentations and 14 exhibitors . There were between 20 and 25 visitors at the exhibition daily. Participants had an opportunity to visit the exhibition room at tea break and after lunch, so there wasn’t much activity between sessions.

Brochures and pamphlets were shared with the participants. We had participants who completed the forms to join the coalition; one of them was a representative from the Ethekwini Mayoral office.

Participants were very interested in what Faith Based Organisations are busy with in their communities, because some of the organisations present at the conference had started to work with churches and church leaders. Participants were interested to gather information on activities on sexual violence and gender based violence and how to collaborate with faith based organisations. 

There were lots of questions asked.

This was also a good opportunity to interact with other exhibitors and hear what work they are doing.

Together with Lifeline, exhibitors agreed to wear black on Wednesday since the following day was “Thursday in Black”. It made it easier to demonstrate or encourage our visitors about Thursday in Black.

Nomsa Papale from Lifeline and I had conversations on how to reach out to faith communities and what types of programs could be proposed to churches. She found this very encouraging because a lot of people have given up on faith communities. She also appreciated hearing other people’s experiences working with faith communities. She was also impressed on hearing and reading about We Will Speak Out. For her it was not just about being there to represent LifeLine but she has a burden for her faith community. It would be a great achievement for her to see faith leaders in her community working together to combat gender based violence.

Hearing stories from different people about the work they are doing and the impact it has on their communities and churches was motivating. A Muslim lady, who is a psychologist by profession, shared the challenges she faced on starting interfaith projects in Paarl focusing on Gender Based Violence. She faced challenges in also trying to show faith leaders how the project could have an impact if they worked together. She realised that this was a process not a quick fix.

Having a conversations with Doctors Without Borders was also enlightening. Mpho shared about their work with faith communities, she said “I realised that its not an easy task to get faith leaders to work together, it doesn’t matter where you are from and what education level you have. When you want to work in a community you have to have thick skin”.

It is imperative to understand the communities we work in and be inclusive to the faith community.

 

This was a great opportunity for We Will Speak Out to be known and recognised.

 

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CABSA was @ the Methodist Church of Southern Africa Annual Conference. 24/9/2016

On the 24 September 2016 We Will Speak Out had an opportunity to exhibit at the annual Methodist Church of Southern Africa conference which was held at St Georges Hotel in Pretoria.

The conference was attended by 150 delegates. The delegation is made up of church leaders, lay and clergy, from South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique and Swaziland.

We had an opportunity to interact and share information on WWSO_SA with around 80 people who were very interested in joining the coalition. 60 membership forms and Coalition Membership: Policy Document were distributed.

Even though we exhibited for only 5hrs, it was an exciting and good opportunity to interact with the leadership of the church. 

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CABSA was @ the “Truth Be Told” International Conference & Leadership Training. 14-17/9/2016

CABSA represented We Will Speak Out SA and Thursdays in Black at the “Truth be Told” Conference at Rhema Ministries from the 14 – 17 September 2016.

Various Christian leaders spoke and challenged religious patriarchy and gender based violence (GBV). There between 50 to 60 visitors at the exhibition daily, participants had an opportunity to visit the exhibition before the sessions began and during tea and lunch breaks.

Brochures and pamphlets were shared with the participants, we had resources from all three partners and most of the resources were disseminated. We had participants who completed the forms to join the WWSOSA coalition. Most participants were very much intrigued by resources on Church and GBV, these resources sparked discussions and questions.

I met Mary-Anne who shared her very painful story with me where she was forced to be indoors by her ex-husband and not work or be part of any activities in her community or church. Every time she made a “mistake” she would be locked in a cage for a few hours in another room. Her marriage has been a terrible experience for her and her young son. She took courage to file for divorce and now she is safe but still needs support and counselling for her son also.

There are a lot of local church leaders who were amazed on the amount of information on GBV and on how they can get involved.

Ps Cele from AFM told of many cases from his church that he turned a blind eye on because he didn’t have any clue of how to deal with the situation but now he will have a new approach on how to deal with GBV in his church.

This was a good platform for church leaders to learn and be exposed to Gender Based Violence.

 

 

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