WinnersProgramme and Speaker Bios  | Summit  | Summit report

Gender Links hosted the SA Women, Voice and Leadership  (WVL) Summit from the 3-4 March 2021. This summit culminated in an awards ceremony on 8 March, back to back with the GL WVL–SA organised International Womens Day (IWD) celebration, under the overarching theme Marching together for Generation Equality.

WINNER: Bellona Female Network
This dynamic network has developed a mobile app that aims to be the number one African platform to empower women and enable them to elevate their careers and one day become decision-makers in their respective organisations. The application is aimed at supporting women throughout their different life stages to become financially independent. The judges said this is a case of “women who lift as they rise – empower, innovate and connect. In the short six months of WVL the network has put policies in place, set up a Cloud filing system, shown great use of IT for document and project management, embraced Pastel Evolution for finance management. The project is self- empowering and is a model for other WROs. This is a contemporary and strong WRO in the making. Presentation
RUNNER UP: The Great People of South Africa
The Great People of South Africa, work in Khayelitsha, Nyanga, Gugulethu and the Cape Flats of Delft. The organisation has grown substantially putting in place finance, governance, anti-corruption/fraud, Human resource and a sexual harassment policy. Through the funding the organisation has been secured two new additional funders. Judges commended the organisation for its policies, profiling (good on social media); the detailed and honest presentation, doing M and E in isiXosa; resilience in the face of the pandemic. To quote the presenter, “you can’t grow if you don’t learn, unlearn, and relearn.” Presentation
Climate Change
WINNER: African Women in Energy and Power
African Women in Energy and Power (AWEaP) accelerates African women entrepreneurs’ participation in the Power and Energy sector. AWEaP supports African women founder entrepreneurs in the energy and power sector in 22 countries in Africa through tailored initiatives. Judges commended the “power entrepreneurs” for being innovative and different; thinking big; broadening the base of economic empowerment. Presentation
RUNNER UP: Queer Women in Business
The organisation started in 2020 with the theme, “queer women and the future of work and business, connecting beyond borders”. Throughout the pandemic, the team kept their community connected, informed and supported. In partnership with Queerwell (another WVL grantee) the organisation created a safe space through their weekly Virtual Connect sessions on mental health topics and discussions hosted by industry experts. The judges said the initiative demonstrated great use of IT, in kind support, and inter-sectional approaches: a practical and sustainable model!  Presentation
WINNER: New Heritage
The New Heritage Foundation Ending Period Poverty Campaign launched in 2016 to mitigate the absence of girls from school during their menstrual cycle. The speaker linked period poverty to Violence Against Women and Girls.  Period poverty has impacted negatively on the girl child denying her right to menstruate with dignity. Judges commended New Heritage Foundation for a focused and impactful campaign; participatory approaches;   good simple M and E;  involving boys; great partnerships in cash and in kind; a budget not just pads but also for information; regional linkages with pads sourced from Tanzania; great supporting evidence for example a video of media coverage. The partnership with the private sector is commendable. “We can’t leave this world as we found it.” Amen! Presentation
RUNNER UP: Coastal Resource Centre
The project aims to provide through integrated approaches voice and agency for adolescent girls and young women to advocate for their rights and reduce violence against women and girls in the rural areas of the Eastern Cape. Judges commended this confident presentation for its great linkages from local to international; a good budget breakdown that included in kind contributions; multiplier effects; use of social media statistics; rural focus and multi- faceted approaches. Presentation
WINNER: Ewatchdog
eWatchdog creates economic and social growth opportunities for women in the township economy through a safe and protective stakeholder initiative. The Kukhula Township initiative aims to mobilise and empower six female hawkers over a period of ten months by creating a new distribution point for a multi-national dairy with their products in the district townships and create an opportunity for a distributor to support the Hawker Distribution Network. The project provided an opportunity to design and co-create an enterprise development model to replicate and scale to other regions with opportunities to establish essential public, civic and community partnerships. Judges said the project is innovative and sustainable, a great imitative. We hope that the model can be replicated by others. Presentation
RUNNER UP: Persona Doll Training SA
Persona Doll Training SA through the Young Parenting Programme (YPP) aims to equip young parents (both men and women) with the necessary knowledge and skills for positive parenting during this period of Covid-19. The organisation offers psycho-social support in dealing with challenges that come with being a young parent and the added stress of Covid-19. Judges commended the innovative approach to teenange parenting – a great model that should be rolled out in many countries.  Presentation
RUNNER UP: Omega Centre
The project is to empower and educate health care workers on the frontline of the COVID 19 pandemic including to respond to Gender Based Violence (GBV). Healthcare worker each received 500 flyers with COVID 19 information to discuss and give out as a handout to the community members. Judges said that Omega had really responded to COVID-19, including with its own staff members getting sick, recovering and going back to the streets to continue to educate. Presentation
Economic Justice
WINNER: Dream Factory Foundation
Addressing the psychological, economic, social and health and safety needs of young women during the pandemic by a two level intervention –individual (Young women) and at the family level (identified as where most violence takes place. Judges commended the powerful delivery by the presenter; an innovative project that responds to the needs of young women. This organisation is set to grow in giant leaps!  Presentation
RUNNER UP: South African Depression and Anxiety Group
Based in eThekwini (Durban), SADAG in Collaboration with the Tumaini Community Project (NPO) focuses on facilitating sustainable income generation for refugee women to mitigate unemployment, xenophobia, and COVID-19. Judges commended the project for the intersection between economic justice and mental health during COVID-19. The work of SADAG is much needed in this country!  Presentation
RUNNER UP: Sasopsbiz Foundation
Phakamisa Girls Economic Empowerment Programme (PGEEP) is aimed at empowering girls and young women economically. Phakamisa is a Zulu word meaning “helping one another to rise”. The project addresses social and economic risks for women and youth through education, access to employment and entrepreneurship learning and practise. They use social groups called Hand Up Girls Squads (HUGS) as a platform for development. The judges said that the HUGS project is innovative, exciting and reaches the most vulnerable. Great use of technology to empower women!  Presentation
WINNER: Rise Up Against Gender Based Violence
This particular project started in Orange Farm as part of the Women’s Month activities in partnership with Distell. During the sessions, facilitators offered talks on issues of consent during sex, maintaining healthy relationships and anger management. Although men were initially hesitant to take part in the three-hour sessions, some men eventually started opening up about their experiences and realised some of their own toxic behaviours. Judges commended the unique approach of working with men in taverns that should be replicated throughout the country. They said the approach is innovative; it goes to the men in the community. The bravery of this team is commendable. Presentation
RUNNER UP: We will Speak Out South Africa
The project seeks to contribute to the decrease in the prevalence of GBV and femicide in KZN through building on past networks to establish an updated provincial database and geo-map of all CSOs working in the area of GBV and femicide, and a skills audit for targeted capacity building. The App is in the developmental phase. Judges commended the innovative approach and look forward to the next steps.
RUNNER UP: Lesedi La Setjhaba Family and Community Centre
The organisation assists victims of GBV who are often women, who come from disadvantaged communities, to fill in the protection order application forms written in English which is a barrier to them. The organisation listens to their stories and writes them in a way that is admissible court. Judges commended the access to justice initiative as core to supporting survivors – a much needed service!
Tackling women’s depression and poverty through storytelling for social change. Phola tackles issues that affect young people such as HIV and AIDS, drug and substance misuse, unemployment, teen pregnancy, life skills development. These youth include sex workers, survivors of violence and abuse, youth living with a disability, young mothers, and other vulnerable groups. Judges commended the robust presentation; answering all key areas; necessary partnerships; very convincing model!  Presentation
RUNNER UP: Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit
Amanzimtoti Trauma Unit equips children with life skills and an action plan on what to do should they not feel safe. The unit teaches parents and individuals that it is everyone’s responsibility to protect children. This is a program of safety and empowerment. The judges said this is a growing organisation, with great promise doing impactful work.  Presentation
Drivers of Change
WINNER: Trans Hope
Sazi Jali, is the director of Transhope. She said that her dream and hope is to see Transgender people having fair chance in life. The judges commended her confidence as a change-maker in Africa – she successfully changed her Gender Marker. She is passionate about trans rights, based on her own experience with hate crimes, and having survived the stigma and backlash; leading to the buddy support system within her community. She provided shelter for 7 trans people – a practical intervention. She is working with the KNZ legislature to change policies to include the trans people. Strong in mentorship based on personal experience. She hope to start a Gender Studies programme; conduct research on trans-issues e.g. on hormone treatment; make herself relevant to the trans group through continuous learning ; help rape victims to report their cases at the police station. She believes in door to door campaigns to change attitude and perceptions on trans with her community. Presentation
RUNNER UP: Women Navigating the Future Network
Mathabiso Chamane, joint runner up is a co-founder and CEO of Women Navigating the Future Networks. Born in Newcastle in KwaZulu Natal and currently residing in Centurion in Gauteng. She says she is a servant leader and a V3 leader – Visionary leader, Leader of Virtue and a leader that always aims to add value. I serve in all above mentioned positions with excellence and humility. Judges said that Chamane empowers women to be agents of change within the community and boardrooms. Inspirational! Presentation
RUNNER UP: Let us Grow Organization
Mum Rose Thamae is the founder of Let Us Grow Organisation from Orange Farm. She cares for women and children in the community. She runs SRHR, LGTBIQ programmes including a Support Group, HIV and AIDS information, Women Empowerment, Door to door campaigns and Awareness. We are the only organisation in Orange-Farm that monitors the ARVs program through a literacy program training received from the Treatment Action Campaign.(TAC). Judges said that Ma’am Rose should be given more opportunity to share her story and to upskill in her wonderful work caring for women and children in the Orange Farm community.  Presentation

WINNER: Mamadi Advice Centre
This is a special award to a community organisation that in the first six months of the programme showed great determination to learn and apply new financial systems. Well done!