Cape Town, SOUTH AFRICA | 9th & 11th October, 2017
On the 9th and 11th October, ACTIVATE! Change Drivers and Africa Unite; both affiliates of the YESPeace Network collaborated to host a peer educator workshop in Cape Town, South Africa. The workshop essentially sought to equip peer educators with knowledge and skills quintessential for the effective delivery of content aimed at promoting quality education on gender and human rights to create interconnected, peaceful and sustainable communities across South Africa. 9 peer educators (3 Male and 6 Females) from various organisations working within the gender justice sector participated in the workshop.
The workshop was coordinated in preparation for the SDG 4.7 Interconnectedness, Gender and Human Rights: Youth Training Workshops to be hosted in the Western Cape and KwaZulu Natal provinces in South Africa respectively. Key among the objectives of these workshops will be to empower over 100 young people with competencies to contribute towards advancing sustainable development for present and future generations. Moreover, the workshops will endeavour to promote quality education on gender and human rights to enhance a sense of interconnectedness as a strategy to respond to the challenge of gender based violence.
In the introduction of her presentation, facilitator Ms Zanele Khumalo from Gender Works, emphasised the importance of locating gender justice within the broader development context in Africa. Zanele, who holds a postgraduate degree in Diversity Studies from the University of Cape Town maintained that “A new framework is needed to guide future socio-economic development in Africa: one which does not see economic growth as the central meaning and ultimate goal, but which is grounded in social justice and gender justice, and is based on principles such as reciprocity and solidarity”. In this respect, any genuine effort aimed at ensuring peaceful and sustainable communities across the African continent must endeavour to address the pressing challenge of gender injustice in general and gender based violence in particular.
Our efforts to build peaceful, interconnected and sustainable communities across the country must be cognizant of the dire need to address challenges facing the most vulnerable in society including women, children and the LGBTQIA+ community. The high incidence of rape cases, as well as other forms of physical and psychological abuse of women and girls and the LGBTIQA+ community are evidence of the pressing challenge of gender based violence in the South African society and are also leading to unrest in society. In order to create a peaceful and sustainable society, the gender component of SDG 4.7 needs a special focus and also needs to be understood within the broad theoretical understanding of positive peace.
Participant and peer educator, Miss Jo Mbangata described the workshop as an enlightening and empowering experience. “The workshop has broadened and deepened my knowledge of the notion of education for peace as it relates to the task of building a sustainable and interconnected South African society.” she said.
Among the key insights emerging from the workshop is the role that gender socialisation and conditioning plays in influencing and perpetuating gender based injustice in general. Furthermore, the workshop explored the socio-cultural and global context of gender injustice as it relates to the imperative of creating interconnected, peaceful and sustainable communities. The workshop identified social institutions such as culture, religion and patriarchy as factors primarily shaping the unequal distribution of power between women and men and thus perpetuating gender based violence. Different methodologies and techniques were used to deliver the content of the workshop, including brainstorming, group work, role play and plenary activities respectively.
Miss Cresencia Nyathi; a human rights peer educator working with Africa Unite and one of the participants of the workshop emphatically stated that “The workshop was an important platform to learn, unlearn and relearn; and to explore strategies to empower youth with key competencies to promote sustainable development.”
Upon the completion of the workshop participating peer educators expressed their confidence in delivering the content of the workshop and thus empowering youth to contribute meaningfully towards building interconnected, peaceful and sustainable communities.
“I have personally gained enormously from participating in the workshop and I look forward to applying the knowledge I have gathered from the workshop in my community development work” stated participant Mr Brilliant Nyambi.
The workshop ended on a participatory note with Miss Lezerine Mashaba, participant as well as one of the coordinators of the workshop expressing her gratitude towards individuals and organisations that actively contributed towards the successful implementation of the project.
The successful coordination of the workshop was made possible by the generous and kind support of the UNESCO Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Education for Peace and Sustainable Development.
Authors: YESPeace South Africa (Lezerine Mashaba on email@example.com; Brilliant Nyambi on firstname.lastname@example.org)
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