News in South Africa
SACCO members join violence reduction workshop.
Have you ever wondered what lies behind the production of a glass of wine? Besides the well – known process of winemaking there also lies a hidden world of domestic violence that farm-workers face every day. A group of farmers and farm-workers however are doing something to change this. Members of the Stellenbosch Winelands employees Savings and Credit Cooperative based at the Sustainability Institute in Stellenbosch attended the first evening of the ‘One Man Can end Domestic violence’ program offered by the OLIVE LEAF Foundation. The sessions are hosted by the Sustainability Institute at Lynedoch, in the training room at the Guest House building.
The project is an attempt to use the facility of the savings and loans offered by the SACCO, combined with a curriculum about HIV – prevention and gender roles, to empower especially women, and reduce overall vulnerability to domestic violence. The curriculum that is used is the ‘One Man Can…’ toolkit. It is a set of activities and training materials that focus on enrolling men as champions for gender equality. One Man Can stop rape, One Man Can end violence, One Man Can accept ‘NO!’ are all typical slogans and topics that are covered in the training. As most violence in the world is perpetrated by men, mostly against other men, but also against women, it makes sense to talk to men about reducing violence.
On the first evening people were still unsure about how they could become involved in this effort. It was especially strange to have a bunch of questions asked right away such as: “Do you think men are more clever than women?” In the first half an hour Wessel and Frederika were also nervously checking with each other the amount of people that were arriving, but by the time the first session started, the room was full. The group consisted, of mostly men! The aim was to have a half – half gender group, but the fact that mostly men arrived provides an even better opportunity to engage in change. The conversation was mostly about the way ahead and the importance of the issues that the sessions will cover. By the end of the evening, everybody was enthusiastically laughing and chatting about the way ahead.
The people who signed up for the workshop are from farms in the area surrounding Stellenbosch. (The farms Meerlust, La Petit Provence, Grootvlei, Bluegum Grove and Vlottenburg are participating.) They all live with high levels of alcohol abuse and resulting violence around them. This process will equip them to be able to become agents for change in this environment, showing their peers how they wisely use their money, and reduce their levels of vulnerability to violence and HIV infection. The sessions will continue once a week for the months of August and September and the graduation will be early in October. This project is an initiative of the Abalingani Gender Programme at the OLIVE LEAF Foundation.
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