Johannesburg 28 May 2019: Gender Links (GL) officially launched Women’s Voice and Leadership project at Women’s Jail, Constitutional Hill. This Canada funded project has been entrusted to, and will be managed by Gender Links. 

Women’s Voice and Leadership project will run for four years. The project aims to work with grassroots civil society organisation to fight and put an end to gender inequalities in South Africa, empower and strengthen South African women and girls. WVL-SA will increase funding for local women’s rights organisations and movements, as they recognise the global funding gap that they face. In so doing, Women’s Voice and Leadership Programme aims to assist these organisations and movements in their efforts to eliminate discrimination and rights violations in policy and legislation (including implementation) and the provision of services, as well as harmful social believes and practices.

This initiative arises from Canada’s Feminist International Assistance Policy (FIAP) which has six main elements: promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls; human dignity; growth that works for everyone; environment and climate action; including governance; peace and security. 

Speaking at the launch, GL CEO Colleen Lowe Morna thanked the Canadian government for trusting them to manage such a big project. She especially thanked them for empowering a woman lead organisation. “We are honoured to be part of this great initiative, and hope to achieve great things through this project” she said. This project makes part of the work Gender Links is already doing which is promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women. Gender Links intents to work in a transparent manner in making sure that the mandate of this project becomes a success.

Speaking at the launch the High Commissioner of Canada Sandra McCardell said they are pleased to be a catalyst of change in South Africa (SA) and carry a mandate that empowers and uplifts SA women. The main goal of Women’s Voice and Leadership South Africa (WVL-SA) is to help local Women’s Rights Organisations (WROs) and platforms to become powerful voice for change in South Africa. WVL-SA aims to strengthen WROs in their programming, advocacy, networking and coalition building, and building a strong and sustained women’s movement that can advance and protect the rights of women and girls.  McCardell said, women are always seen as victims of crime, violence and abuse and through this project they hope to change the status que and build women who are drivers of change in different works of life. 

When giving her remarks Women Deliver Youth Leader Nsovo Nyeleti Mayimele said that through this project they hope to see more women in leadership, see more women empowered through education and see more women having access to good health care facilities. “This project will make a vast change to SA women and build a great future for the coming generation as well”, said Nsovo.

Head of Corporation, High Commission Canada Jennifer Cooper said they are happy to have partnered with Gender Links in this project saying they know it is in good hands.

This Article has been written by Thato Phakela Gender Links Media and Communications Officer.