Johannesburg, 10 March: Women Voice and leadership affirmed the ground breaking work of 23 organisations and individuals from a broad cross section of South African Women’s Rights Organisations in awards announced on International Women’s Day.

The awards followed the SADC Protocol@Work pre-summit held on 3- 4 March 2021. A panel of judges adjudicated 54 presentations entries in the Institutional, Climate Change, SRHR , Gender and COVID -19, Economic Justice, Gender Based Violence, Youth and Drivers of Change categories. Each category had a winner and runner up. The judges recognised nine winners and twelve runner ups; with two runner ups in four categories.

Gender Links awarded Mamadi Advice Centre, a community based NGO in Limpopo a special finance award for the most improved organisation in the first six months of the project.

Winners and runner ups come from the four of the nine provinces in South Africa, Eastern Cape (2), Gauteng (8), Western Cape (5) and KwaZulu-Natal (5).

Areas covered in the entries ranged from tavern dialogues held with men in three provinces where men are taught on issues of consent to the development of a mobile apps for mentoring young girls. Other initiatives affirmed included building on past networks to establish and update a provincial database and geo-map all CSOs working GBV and Femicide in KZN; court support, ending period poverty, mental health, entrepreneurship, sex work, youth living with a disability.

Sazi Jali the Director of Transhope, an organisation based in Umlazi in KZN won the Drivers of Change award. Jali, is the first South African to have successfully changed her changer marker in Africa. The judges commended her confidence as a change-maker in Africa. 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 who had no shelter during COVID-19.

Judges commended all the grantees on their outstanding work. Some of the comments included: “The project is self- empowering and is a model for other WROs; This is a contemporary and strong WRO in the making. The initiative demonstrated great use of IT, in kind support, and inter-sectional approaches: a practical and sustainable model! A unique approach of working with men in taverns that should be replicated throughout the country, the approach is innovative; it goes to the men in the community. The bravery of this team is commendable. the access to justice initiative is core to supporting survivors – a much needed service!”

Zintle Khobeni of non-governmental organisation The Great People of South Africa said, “we are part of a great community of Gender-Links and the Women’s Voice & Leadership South Africa, we are privileged to be counted amongst great humans, who do such incredible work towards gender equality in our respective communities, women who are change makers, movers, and shakers!”

Annemeka Fisher from Omega Centre said “On behalf of Omega Centre and the rest of our team thank you so much for the honour and privilege to be part of this event and to be a part of this great work.”

All the winners will have the opportunity to present their best practise at the Regional Voice and Choice SADC Protocol@Work Summit from the 15-17 March 2021. The Summit will culminate in the Awards ceremony and celebration of GL’s 20th Birthday  on the 17 March 2021.

For more information on the summit and awards, please contact the WVL-SA Grants Manager, Tinashe Chipwanya on 078 413 1843 or the Grants Coordinator Nomthandazo Mankazana on the WVL-SA number 082 560 0066 or 073 920 2165.