On 25 January 2018, the Centre for Human Rights hosted yet another cohort of Young African Leaders Initiative (YALI) Southern Africa scholars for an afternoon of discussions on violence against women and the rights of sexual and gender minorities. The discussion started with introductions from Ms Patience Mungwari Mpani, Manager of the Women’s Rights Unit and Mr Geoffrey Ogwaro, Manager of the SOGIE Unit, on the work of their respective units.

The movie on community action on violence against women (VAW) produced by the Soul City Institute was screened. This was followed by a question and discussion session led by Ms Tomi Okeowo. The discussion touched on the inadequacies of the law in offering protection to survivors of violence. The impact of intimate partner violence on children and the importance of communities coming together to end violence against women. Participants also did group discussions on strategies to combat gender-based violence. Some of the suggested strategies include:

Promoting community dialogues to educate and disseminate information on the negative impact of VAW
Establishing social clubs
Educating Parents
Challenging gender norms and stereotypes
Strengthening existing laws to support survivors of Gender based violence
Developing social media campaigns
Setting up a public database of domestic and sexual violence offenders
Training and retraining of enforcement agents (Police) in handling VAW cases
Including VAW education within school curriculums
Introducing young girls to self-defence classes
Developing an app to aid reporting of domestic violence incidences
In addition, the group was introduced provisions in the regional and international instruments that relate to violence against women and a discussion ensured on how these can be used to address various forms of discrimination women experience.

Mr Ogwaro summarised the afternoon with a brief discussion on lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender rights and implored the scholars to think about sexual diversity and co-existence of persons with different sexual orientations and gender identities in the spirit of mutual respect and harmony.

As always, we look forward to another cohort and to the dynamic group of young scholars that visit us at the Centre for Human Rights. 


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