Thursday, 31 March 2011


Entrants from across Southern Africa have scooped awards on the final evening of the Gender Justice and Local Government Summit out of which 69% of winners were female.
Zambia took home six awards or special commendations; the most of any country.
The 26 awards were presented to entrants in eight different categories – Centres of Excellence, Leadership, Institutional, Women Empowerment, Sixteen Days, Support, Response and Prevention.
Summit delegates came from Botswana, Lesotho, Mauritius, Madagascar, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe.
Female entrants won 18 awards or commendations and male participants won eight from a field of candidates and projects which judges called innovative and groundbreaking.
The Summit brought together 265 participants from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) including local government authorities, gender ministries, municipalities, civil society and journalists. The Summit also attracted many younger women and men, as well as mayors and deputy-mayors from throughout the region.
During the four-day summit, convened by Gender Links, delegates presented on diverse topics linked to local-level initiatives to combat gender-based violence. Earlier in the week, the Summit called on SADC governments to work harder to meet the targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.
The Protocol urges governments to ensure gender parity in all areas of decision-making and to halve gender violence by 2015.
The awards recognised local government Centres of Excellence, councils which have mainstreamed gender throughout their work. Madagascar’s Eva Robert Monique Ravaloriaka won in this category for her work introducing a comprehensive council-wide gender action plan to reduce institutional violence against women.
Zimbabwe’s Lucia Mkandhla won in the Leadership category for her impressive work with the country’s Women in Local Government Forum.
A second top prize went to Zimbabwe in the Institutional category. Josephine Ncube won for her work in gender mainstreaming in the Harare City Council.
South Africa’s Boikanyo Modise won in the 16 Days of Activism category, scooping top prize because of his success in targeting men through the “Real men don’t rape” campaign.
Mercy Zulu from Zambia won in the Support category. She runs a toll-free helpline and counselling service for women and children who have experienced gender-based violence.
Botswana’s Dineo Segoba won the Response award for her project that helps rehabilitate children whose parents have died from AIDS-related illness.
South Africa’s Mvula ka Mnisi won in the Prevention category for a project that focuses on the family, bringing communities together with the public and private sector, religious leaders and civil society.
Each category also had awards for runners up and some had special commendations. These included a GBV project for the disabled, a group that uses theatre to raise awareness of issues related to gender violence, a project that supports former sex workers and drug addicts, and a police support unit in Zambia that is providing support for victims of GBV all over the country.

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