Report of the First Conference of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa
Sheltering Together For Excellence
Ocean View Hotel
A publication of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa
The planning for the National Shelter Movement’s first conference began way-back in 2009. The conference was supposed to have taken place in 2010. Due to our partnership with the National Department of Social Development, who wanted to fund a part of the conference, the conference was postponed to 2011. However, by this time, the Dept. had not followed through on its promise to fund the NSM Conference. Since the NSM had raised funds from the Nussbaum Foundation, we went ahead and held the Conference in November 2011 to honour our agreement with the funder and the shelters across the country. The aims of the Conference were:
- To raise awareness about the current state of sheltering in South Africa;
- To network with various stakeholders in the sheltering movement;
- To build the capacity of shelter staff, to inspire and to motivate them.
Attendance at the conference was excellent. Shelters from seven of the nine provinces were represented, including representatives from government. The participation of speakers and delegates was extremely productive as shelter workers are often isolated from each other and work under difficult circumstances in both rural and urban settings.
On the third day of the Conference, the NSM held its first Annual General Meeting. The purpose for hosting the AGM at this time was that the NSM did not have any additional funds to bring all the shelters together at another time.
It is our ardent hope that you will find the material from the proceedings of the conference valuable; and that you will be able to refer to it time and again.
Dr Zubeda Dangor
NSM Secretariat and Executive Member
Ms. Linda Fugard, Western Cape, Provincial Representative for the National Shelter Movement and an Executive of the National Shelter Movement.
It gives me great pleasure to welcome you to the first National Conference of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa. A special welcome to Ms. Tsholofelo Moloi who is the Director of National DSD, Myrtle Morris who is from the Provincial VEP from DSD as well as Joyce Mosaledi who is a the social worker and policy developer of VEP National DSD.
We, at the National Shelter Movement, would like to see the sixteen days of Activism turned into 365 days of fighting this scourge of Domestic Violence, until it is eradicated from our country – we must not allow anything or anyone to stop our fight.
At the outset of our conference, I want to thank the Ocean View Hotel Management for honouring our original conference fee cost since 2009, as well as the Nisaa staff and Sister’s Incorporated staff for all their hard work in putting this conference together. Also a big thank you to our three executives and the secretariat; without their hard work and dedication this conference would not be taking place. A special thank you to the provincial representatives who have all contributed towards the goodie bag, as well as Pick n’ Pay Head Office for the Fresh Living Magazine and Associated Magazines for the Marie Claire magazine. Most of the items in your goodie bag have been made by the residents and staff of the shelters. Three of the shelters have also displayed their jewellery at the back for you to admire and purchase.
A very special thank you has to go to the Nussbaum Foundation, who has fully funded the conference.
We hope that by the end of this conference you will feel uplifted, encouraged, listened to, shared, relaxed, networked and made new friends. Together we will stand as one advocating and lobbying for the best interests of the women and children whom we serve. Our conference will start with the introduction by our executives and our Provincial Representatives reading letters of support from their Province. Thereafter we will be addressed by Ms. Tsholofelo Moloi and to conclude the evening one of our Executive members, Dr. Zubeda Dangor, will give us an overview of the achievements and challenges of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa.
Tomorrow, we will have two speakers addressing the challenges faced by shelters both urban and rural, as well as Samantha Waterhouse from the Community Law Centre at UWC addressing us on issues of Women Accessing Parliament and How to Use the Media.
We will also be watching an excellent, inspirational DVD together, and then breaking into various groups as well as having our various breakaway groups for which you have signed up . Thereafter each group will provide feedback as to the discussions that had taken place in their groups.
After lunch there will be three groups’ one will be children’s programmes for shelters, funding and the shelter model.
On Tuesday morning we will be holding our very first Annual General Meeting with our guest speaker Helene Combrinck, addressing us. We will then be meeting in our various Provinces, with some joining together for a lively session of brainstorming on various topics, such as how to strengthen partnerships, establish forums and work with other Stake holders in the Provinces and each other, expectations of the National Shelter Movement’s executives and Provincial representatives and sixteen days for sixteen demands of actions for shelters, after which we will look at a way forward together.
May our conference be everything that you were hoping it to be and more. I certainly hope that by the end of Tuesday you will feel pleased that you came and will be taking something back with you to your department.
I would then introduce to you to Dr Zubeda Dangor, Lynette Strijbis and myself who are the three Executives.
The Provincial Representatives are Niri Moethilal from Kwazulu Natal, Sarah Lekale from the Free State and Rina van den Berg from the North West. We have an apology from Linda Brukwe . We do not have any representatives from Limpopo or Mpumalanga.
1.3 Presentation: Overview and Achievements of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa Conference:
Dr.Zubeda Dangor, Executive Director of Nisaa Institute of Women’s Development and Executive member of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa.
Good evening. It is wonderful to see all the representatives from all over the country. Firstly, in the year 2000, the Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development initiated and hosted the first Southern African Conference on sheltering for abused women and their children. Subsequent to that, we were asked to host another conference; however, we could not do this due to financial constraints. In the year 2008 Nisaa Institute for Women’s Development conducted the second Conference on sheltering. It was at this Conference upon unanimous agreement, that the shelter movement was established.
The National Shelter Movement, was founded on the 21st and 22nd of February 2008 and was launched on the 4th of August of that year, at Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg.
Most of the Provincial Representatives were elected at the Conference. A National Mandate for action was given to the National Shelter Movement-South Africa at the Conference, which had taken place in February 2008. Nisaa Institute of Women’s Development had been requested to serve as the secretariat and we still serve as a secretariat.
In May 2008, the Provincial Representatives and the Secretariat met for the very first time to develop the vision, mission and goals of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa for that year. The discussions which took place between them were with regard to firstly, how to develop the vision of this shelter group and secondly the mission and goals of the National Shelter Movement as well as discussions regarding planning for the year ahead. The Provincial Representatives elected the Executive Representatives.
Between June and July 2008, the Executive Committee met and initiated the fundraising drive for the National Shelter Movement Launch.
A wide range of stakeholders had endorsed the National Shelter Movement; including National Social Development’s Ms. Tsholofelo Moloi, who is acting on behalf of Connie Nxumalo and relevant Organisations.
We were very fortunate to obtain Funding for the launch from Irish Aid, the Development Bank of Southern Africa, Norwegian Peoples Aid and the Gauteng Provincial Government.
In August 2008, the National Shelter Movement had been launched at the Gallagher Estate in Midrand, Johannesburg. We had wide representation from Women’s Shelters, Women’s NGOS, the Government Embassy as well as the public. The guest speaker was Mohau Pheko along with the Irish Ambassador, Mr. Colin Wrafter.
The vision of the Organisation of the National Shelter Movement is that it provides a united voice on sheltering, for women and children affected by Gender Based Violence in South Africa. The National Shelter Movement provides that; we do not say that we do not work with men; however, our shelters are specifically for women and children. The mission of the Organisation is to firstly network, advocate and lobby Provincial, National and International Stakeholders; secondly to be engaged in service provision, legislation and capacity building on Gender Based Violence and lastly the sheltering of abused women and their children in South Africa.
The Organisation has a wide range of objectives, some of them being to lobby for the rights of abused women and their children in shelters; to provide Provincial Shelter Network forums for shelters; to develop the capacity of the National Shelter Movement South Africa; to engage in legislation related to gender based violence and sheltering in South Africa and lastly to offer space for mutual support, shared experiences and common challenges.
Shelters per Province in South Africa:
The diagram above indicates that in the Province of Gauteng there are nineteen shelters. Originally, when this work was done, we thought that Mpumalanga had four shelters; although they do have four shelters, those shelters are not specifically for women and children. They cater for victims of other crimes as well and not only women and children so for that reason that number has to be changed.
The Free State has ten shelters; this figure too does not clearly represent women and children’s shelters. The National Shelter Movement of South Africa has to continually investigate and checkout what is the ratio of the women and children’s shelters, because we need to be sure that we have an exact number so that we understand who is offering what service.
The Limpopo Province has many safe houses and overnight facilities but nothing that we can call a shelter. The National Shelter Movement of South Africa’s criteria for a shelter is that you house the women and children for one month minimum and that the services are there for the women and children but does not include other players.
The North West Province has one shelter, the Western Cape has fifteen shelters, the Eastern Cape has six shelters, but it is also not clear whether these shelters are offered only to women and children.
KwaZulu-Natal has four and the Northern Cape has three shelters.
We need a database to determine the amount of shelters catering for just women and children. In an attempt to put this together we are looking at about 57 shelters; however, this number could even be less.
We have got to go back to ensure that we have solid information from every shelter about who these services are for and for how long they actually house women and children survivors of violence.
There are also many challenges in sheltering. We were supposed to have this conference last year; however, it had to be delayed until this year due to financial constraints. Partnership with government also poses challenges. Prescription versus consultation on shelters is another challenge. There is a need for standardisation of finances across shelters in South Africa. Provincial Government provides some funding for shelters within their provinces; however, this is not standardised. Some shelters are getting twenty seven rand per women per day and some shelters are getting thirty five rand per women per day and there is a need for one standard across the country. The fact that men’s day is so close to the sixteen days of activism also poses some challenges. It is important that men’s meetings should not coincide with the sixteen days of activism. In terms of CEDAW, we need to be careful because our government has unreservedly signed the CEDAW convention in 1998 and in 2011. CEDAW looks at the discrimination against women so what we need to also be aware of is that a lot of perpetrators, particularly prisoners, receive much more for their needs in prison as opposed to what is given to women in shelters.
We definitely need to have partnerships with Provincial Government because they fund us. With National Government, the National Shelter Movement of South Africa has a great interest. With regard to the media we should appear more in the media; we are too quiet. We need to forge stronger links with the private sector such as research organisations and even the trade union movement.
NSM-SA Sheltering Together
Ms Tsholofelo Moloi, Director of Victim Empowerment Programme.
Good evening; firstly, I would just like to apologise upfront as I will not be able to attend the Conference for the full three days. I will be going to the North West Province, as it is one of the Provinces that have been identified by our Minister as a Province that has to be supported, as it is a rural area. This is one of the issues that is being addressed – that we are not reaching out to farm areas and rural areas. By supporting the farm and rural areas we are addressing this problem.
It is an honour to address this conference when we are all commemorating 16 Days of No Violence against Women and Children, as this will enable us not to forget about the mission that the National Shelter Movement advocates. The conference today is significant as it takes place immediately after the opening of the launch of the International Day, which marks the beginning of the 16 Days of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children which commenced on the 25 November 2011. People around the world and South Africa are embarking on different activities to commemorate the 16 Days of No Violence against Women and Children.
I also bring you warm and hearty greetings from the Minister for Social Development, Ms Bathabile Dlamini, Our Chief Director, Ms Conny Nxumalo and The Senior Management of the Department and the entire staff of Social Development as well as the VEP staff.
Thank you again for the opportunity accorded to me to address The National Shelter Movement of South Africa at your first conference since the launch of the movement in August 2008, and also to reflect on the present state of sheltering of abused women and their children as well as the roles played by various key stakeholders. Yes, indeed, it is true that effective intervention in sheltering, assistance, support, care and empowerment of women and their children is an important shared responsibility in every society, hence, I always will agree with the slogan, which says “Protection of women and children is everybody’s business”. Sheltering is the key component of our Gender Based Violence programme, and we will be failing in our duty toward abused women and children if we do not provide them with the protection they require and a safe haven in which to live.
I know it was not easy to plan and organise this conference due to financial constraints, but due to the commitment, dedication and perseverance of the executive committee of The National Shelter Movement of South Africa the conference is a successful one. I really wish to applaud and congratulate the executive committee for the work well done. As a department, we are aware of the many challenges that were faced by the movement; however; despite all these challenges the executive committee managed to sustain the movement with not much resources at hand.
Violence against women and children has become a scourge in South Africa. Since 1994, government has enacted legislation to eliminate discrimination and violence against women and children. Despite the entire legislative framework in place to protect women, violence against women is still on the increase.
Since the promulgation and implementation of the Domestic Violence Act, DSD had been mandated to facilitate the establishment of shelters for abused women; hence the development of the Shelter Strategy developed in 2004. This strategy was developed in consultation with key stakeholders in government and partnership with CSO’S. The department acknowledges and appreciates the continuous active participation of the Civil Society Organisations and strengthened partnership, despite the availability of limited resources.
The department has made an exerted effort to elevate the Victim Empowerment Programme; this also includes shelters. This programme has been declared one of the Minister’s and our DG’S priority for the coming years because of the continuing high prevalence of Gender Based Violence taking place in our communities. Provinces have been requested to put plans in place to establish more shelters in partnership with NGO’s, especially to reach out to communities in rural and farm areas. DSD has also developed a Shelter Infrastructure Model, which is in the process of being finalised and to be presented to treasury for funding. The model was developed last year, we are now looking at all infrastructure models in the department, not only for shelters but also for old age homes, children’s homes, treatment centres for people having a problem with drug and substance abuse etc. However, it is important that whenever they draw or develop that model they must make sure that there is a transitional housing for every structure of the shelter that they are developing and even advise them to visit the Saartjie Baartman Centre in the Western Cape as a model, which will enable them to understand what is being talked about. Those are the types of issues that we have been battling with, but at least now we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel; at least the Government is now listening to us in ensuring that VEP is taken seriously.
The department is still, however, experiencing challenges on the effective referral system and there is a need for us as a collective to improve this system. The department has developed an integrated JCPS cluster web based system to collect data of victims of crime and violence; this will enable the department to track the movement of victims/survivors within the system from one province to the other. This system is currently being piloted in six provinces i.e. Western Cape, KZN, Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo and North West. The pilot ends on the 31st March 2012. Once all of the results have been established all service providers in the Victim Empowerment Sector will be engaged to implement the system. The system is integrated and we are able to see where the person had been first admitted as far as sheltering is concerned.
We have also conducted the recent Feasibility Study on the development of the Victim Empowerment Legislation where the recommendation was also made to have to Road to Justice Card, which will also enable us to track down the movement of our victims. Currently our shelters are not registered; they are only registered as NGO’s; if anything should happen to a person in a shelter, our Department will be held liable for whatever happened to that victim. It is time that legislation is put into place to protect the safety and accommodation of women in shelters. There are standards in place but they are not enforceable because they are not governed by any legislation. We are really grappling with these issues.
The National Shelter Movement of South Africa also needs to look at what constitutes its membership’s affiliation and subscription, define the clear roles and responsibilities at national and provincial level and the support given to provincial branches. As much as the three executives can manage to sustain The National Shelter Movement of South Africa it is at the expense of the different Organisation; they are not full time NSM members but they have been elected to ensure the NSM is sustained. This will also enable NSM to develop clear action plans that will enhance and improve service delivery in shelters and promote adequate coordination if we have full time structures in place.
DSD has acknowledged NSM as a key stakeholder for the National VEP Forum and we need to see the same in all provincial forums. The executive or board functions need to be separated from the operational management functions. This will enable NSM office personnel to redirect their energy in strengthening the joint action and partnerships with the aim of improving service delivery in shelters and not forgetting prevention programmes. We all do not have the capacity for prevention programmes, but prevention is better than cure. There is a need for the development of a structure that will focus on the daily functions of NSM. The current configuration is not effective and does not contribute to the effective management of NSM. DSD was ready for funding but because of the current operational structure, the funding had to be deferred to address these operational issues. Lack of capacity is one of the issues that needs to be addressed.
VEP is an interdepartmental and intersectoral programme, which plays a leading role to coordinate, manage and implement VEP programs and services within the sector. This had also been facilitated by VEP. The department therefore pledges its commitment to assist NSM to achieve and fully implement its objectives.
Lastly, let me also share the objectives for the 2011 16 Days of Activism against Women and Children Campaign, which is informed largely by the vision of the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities. The recommendations that have been made and the findings of the Ten Year Social Impact Assessment study which calls for, firstly the Government to strengthen partnerships and collaboration with NGOs and Community Based Organisations (CBOs) – including those that target and involve men and boys for prevention and rehabilitation, faith-based organisations, traditional leadership and healers as well as the business sector. We cannot work in silence; we need the stakeholders to be involved.Secondly, to strengthen the pillars for a more effective and rigorous implementation of the 365 Days National Action Plan – especially the prevention pillar in as far as root causes for violence against women and children are concerned. Thirdly, to encourage community involvement in initiatives to combat crimes against women and children and lastly to communicate government’s substantive programmes and priority actions to deal with the problem of women and child abuse.
We all know that government has twelve outcomes for the Programme as far as the South African citizens are concerned. VEP needs to comply with outcome three which expects us to ensure the safety of women and children at all times.
Having said all that, this clearly indicates that this conference is in line with addressing issues that are of National priority.
Even though the department, in partnership with Civil Society Organisations, have made much progress in addressing the scourge of violence against women, a lot still needs to be done to improve and strengthen partnership with CSO’s to end violence against women and children. Sheltering is one of the mechanisms to provide abused women with support, protection and security.
Ladies to be able to live a life free from violence and abuse, is one of our fundamental Human Rights accorded to us by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa. All women and children in our country have the right to live in safety and have their human dignity respected and to be free from intimidation and the threat of violence. This is the central principle of our Constitution and the goal that guides our intervention programmes. Combating violence and abuse of women and children is a societal responsibility and government cannot do it alone. Communities too have an important role to play and can profoundly change attitudes and beliefs about the acceptability of violence and abuse of women and children.
We therefore need to continuously strengthen this partnership and ensure that we make a difference in the lives of our women and children who are the most vulnerable. The time to act is now.
Concern has been raised as to why I only speak about women and children and what about men; well the fact is that limited numbers of men are abused but we are not saying that this programme cannot afflict them.
It takes many hands to build strong and safer communities that protect the Human Rights of women and children and I invite everyone to be part of the solution. By working together, we will build a better South Africa free of violence and abuse for the present time and many generations still to come. I thank you.
Ms. Linda Fugard, Shelter Manger in the Western Cape; Provincial Representative for the National Shelter Movement as well as one of the Executives of the National Shelter Movement.
I would firstly just like to make it clear that I am speaking in my capacity as a Shelter Manager. I am from the Western Cape, and not all struggles in all the Provinces are the same. What I will be presenting are some of our struggles in the Western Cape.
The first point that I would like to make is that we are in the year 2011 almost 2012, and some of our Provinces still do not have any women shelters for victims of domestic violence whatsoever. If you have heard the statement that all Provinces have women shelters, it is not correct; some still do not have any and some only have one shelter in the Province. We still do not have any legislation on shelters and that is something that we have to address.
As far as funding goes most shelters, if not all, are faced with a monthly funding crisis. I have not come across a shelter which says we are fine financially. We also have a huge discrepancy in shelter funding per Province, and this is what we are trying to standardise – that some get huge amounts and some get little amounts we have got to really address this. This is certainly part of what The National Shelter Movement of South Africa wants to do and, of course, we want to go with the top level and not the bottom level. We also established minimum standards for shelters in South Africa but most shelters are unable to reach these standards due to lack of finances for their running costs; we need to address this as well.
Most shelters do not have proper children’s programmes, as they do not have trained staff to implement these programmes. There is also often a lack of resources; there is the heart and the passion but with limited resources, it is impossible to implement properly run programmes for both the women and the children whom we serve. Shelters often also find that the long waiting lists for specialised medical assistance like psychiatric assessments for women or for their children means that they have often left the shelter before the appointment actually becomes available, and that is something we have to address as well to help.
Secondly, with regard to DSD, many shelters face challenges with DSD in their province. For example there is a huge lack of a real 50/50 partnership. I always say that a partnership should be like a marriage, 50/50 and not 80/20, and we have to get this 50/50 partnership. Examples are lack of transparency, openness, commitment, honesty and mutual respect. For example, what is on the National and Provincial agendas regarding the future of women’s Shelters especially where funding is concerned?
Then there is a lack of consultative meetings with the NSM as far as women Shelters having to take in all victims of crime – What crimes do they mean and are they asking us to take in men, teenage boys, teenage girls and children? Since I have written this I have discussed the matter with Ms. Tsholofelo Moloi, and I come straight from Tsholofelo to us to take back to our Provinces that no women’s shelters have been asked by National to take in men or all victims of crime so there has been no directive nor mandate. We will be having a meeting next month because obviously, it has been on the table for discussion and what we are saying at the National Shelter Movement of South Africa on behalf of all the shelters is that we as a women’s Organisation will not be accommodating men in our shelters. We will like to know what exactly is meant by the term all victims of crime; once we have our meeting on the 8th of December, we will get back to you. If you are told in any way that National has said that you will have to take men or you have to take in all victims of crime the answer is that National has not said that.
We have also found with DSD that Phone calls, emails and letters are not being acknowledged and meetings are arranged at very short notice. Is there a political will to see Women’s shelters succeed and not just exist? Is there a genuine concern that we do not have enough Women Shelters in South Africa, as shelters often run with waiting lists as they are usually full, and how are we addressing these issues? As a country, how are we addressing these issues?
We also need Domestic Violence to be tabled as a serious crime like other countries; we need Stricter bail conditions; we need perpetrators to pay for their crime. As much as we want to endorse the perpetrator programmes being put in place we cannot ignore what has been done to the victims. Our focus has to be that we are here to accommodate, assist and protect our vulnerable women & children who seek our help due to domestic violence.
In respect of the situation regarding housing I am speaking purely about the situation in the Western Cape as things maybe working much better in your Province. There is a lack of affordable, accessible, available housing for women after they exit the shelters.
Women are generally low earners and most women cannot afford the present rental prices; therefore often women return to the abuser. Where is the Special Needs Housing policy that we have actually been writing in to the Western Cape for close to ten years? It has been in draft form since 2007. How seriously is the government taking this incredible need for housing? Government is just re-cycling their money to shelters – the same women different shelter – due to the lack of permanent housing. The questions that we need to ask ourselves are: Are we truly and honestly setting up women who are victims of domestic violence to succeed or are we failing them? Are we assisting them with their legal matters like protection orders? Are we challenging SAPS if they are disrespectful to our women? Are they receiving counselling and attending Skills training? Are we assisting them to find employment? Are their children receiving an education whilst at the shelter? Are we ensuring that no secondary victimisation happens at our shelters? Are we employing the correct staff, or just employing anyone?
Often lack of knowledge of what is required to run a shelter results in secondary victimisation unknowingly – this is where shared resources and expertise is vital between us.
If we are not fighting for the vulnerable women and children – then who will? Surely, we all need to make a concerted effort and if we keep all fighting the same fight – we will win. We have to look at addressing these issues together. We cannot be talking about the same challenges next year; we need answers now. We need to be the mouth for those who cannot speak. Thank you.
Ms Sarah Lekale, Provincial Representative of Free State
Good Morning colleagues, today is the fourth day of Activism of No Violence against Women and Children in our Country, We, as Victim Empowerment and Sheltering programmes, act together for 365 days against abuse of women and children. The purpose of the rural shelters is to provide accommodation, safety, protection and security to women and children victims of abuse, and prevent the secondary victimisation of domestic violence cases.
Domestic violence/family violence cases appear to be continually perpetrated against women and children. Most of the abuse occurs in and around the homes of the victims. In many cases, the victims are related to or know the perpetrator.
Concerning the question of infrastructure, the government does not fund land and building for the shelters. Most shelters only cater for the victims for a short-term, meaning that the victim can only stay in the shelter for a short period. This then creates a situation whereby the victims have no other alternative but to return to their abusive partners due to their financial dependence on the perpetrator. This also causes the victim not to report their cases of abuse.
In respect of transportation, it is difficult for the rural shelters service providers to reach other stakeholders like taking victims to Court or Clinic, taking children to school etc with public transport from the rural areas. In some instances, the victims do not reach their destinations and end up deciding to go back to their abusive situation.
There are no organisational / capacity building funds for rural shelters. These shelters are struggling to get assistance from other stakeholders who are in urban areas. This prevents them from acting immediately as professionals who can assist victims in shelters.
Every shelter has a mission, vision, aims and objectives; however, it is difficult to run different skills development programmes in rural shelters because they work in isolation because of the problem of limited transportation.
Networking with other stakeholders is also very important; however, due to a lack of resources, this poses a big challenge.
The Human Resource and Management are ineffective; we need this support. Staff development is also not in place especially when it comes to therapy, healing and restoration programmes, due to the shortage of Social Workers. We need employed personnel rather than volunteers to sustain the services.
Colleagues lets all stand together and set goals as early as we can, and devote all our energy and talent to achieve the fulfilment of these goals.
Samantha Waterhouse, Parliamentary Programme Co-ordinator at the Community Law Centre
Good morning, everyone I am very thrilled to be here amongst the active, interested, engaged, concerned and I think quite angry at times, passionate people that you are. It feeds me to be amongst people who are doing the work. I am very interested in the conversation we will be having because I started my career at the young age as a volunteer. I also believe that volunteers, when working with structure and with support, are an amazing thing and I credit my adult career to the opportunity to be a volunteer when I was twenty-one.
Concerning the question, what is an Advocate? Basically an advocate is a person who represents or gives voice to an individual or group whose concerns and interests are not being heard. This implies that the person or group represented lacks the knowledge, skill, ability or standing to speak for themselves. A wide range of people are advocates and, as far as possible, we should be finding ways that the affected individual/group should be enabled to speak on their own behalf. I agree and appreciate the fact that we not only need to educate ourselves and each other but also we need to be putting in place the systems that enable somebody that’s been through the experience themselves to speak about their experiences and most definitely for the purpose of making change.
Concerning the question what is Advocacy, advocacy may be once off or a sustained process. An advocacy campaign is organised, concerted – we make it visible and it is ongoing. The point of these campaigns being organised is the most important point. Organised being an umbrella term for organised activism related to a particular set of issues. They relate to having some kind of structure or frame to what you are doing. Advocacy campaigns usually focus on changing policy, law or practice at an international, national, provincial or local level. Lobbying is a form of advocacy; usually related to direct interaction with law and policy makers (may be Government, Parliament or other).Some examples of groups practicing advocacy are the Gun Control Alliance which is governed by the Firearms Control Act and the Child Justice Alliance which is governed by the Child Justice Bill as well as the Treatment Action Campaign.
The reason we should practice advocacy is that we have a responsibility to our clients. Victims of VAW and VAC are particularly vulnerable and generally silenced. Advocacy should also be practiced to influence the quality of understanding of the issue of policy makers and the general public and thus influence policy and social responses. Another reason would be to scale services – CSOs do not have the capacity to address everything. Solutions often lie with government. When we do not practice advocacy, for a very good reason because we are absolutely swamped with making sure that people are getting food, and that there are programmes in place and that people are getting what they need. Then we do find that it is very unfulfilling because we are constantly faced with the smaller problems and are not finding the solutions. Those who read the book, ‘The seven habits of successful people’ by Stephen Colby, would know that he speaks about the circle of control. Essentially you have all these things that demand all your attention; we are often so busy focusing on what’s not working, or what the problems are that we are not focusing on the solutions or the things that we can control. I think that it is a very helpful framework as to why advocacy is so important, and it links to heaven. Practicing advocacy creates a sense of self-fulfilment. The point is that there is a purpose within myself, as to why I do something that facilitates something better for someone else. In essence, advocacy is a way also of getting better control over very over – whelming, distressing and heartbreaking circumstances.
For example when a gang rape takes place we learn how advocacy leads to a place where you are not in any helplessness that had existed prior to the advocacy, the helplessness of the system that is not responsive and the helplessness of society that doesn’t really care whether you move out of that helplessness into agency. Agency is one of the things that I believe fulfils ourselves, and it is why we as service providers should be taking on advocacy action; we should be enabling, facilitating, supporting and empowering people in those situations of helplessness to advocate on their own or on behalf of others – it is enormously fulfilling. In respect of this issue that there are amazing challenges and obstacles, a huge issue came up of Political Will and apathy; we were talking about apathy about ourselves, apathy about the people who have the power to make changes particularly at a political level, a political will to see change – to see something different. Those are huge obstacles and it is exactly why advocacy is so exciting.
How do we get people who do not care, to care? That is really a question I want to ask you. What way can we do this, how can we show this issue to them in a different way because there is creativity and passion in it, there is humanity in it. Those things make advocacy so important. The point is that it is very hard to do that if we do not have people getting into it, if we do not end our funding proposals; it includes a chunk of somebody’s time somewhere to actually manage, organise and control advocacy, which in the context of the funding requirement is very challenging. I think that the danger of us not being visible advocates is that we will lose out and go further back into the phase that it was like before advocacy. Advocacy is not the most pressing issue and in the context of policy and socio economic inequality that we are living and working in it is very difficult to make those decisions. Most of the time we have to say, look we have to prioritise – this is right now and that is going to be the policy.
If in the strategic places that we create in our organisation are we asking the question of are we able to do advocacy? How can we enable ourselves to take action that will keep the issue visible? How can we help people who do not care or do not understand the issue to care or better understand the issue and what compels, motivates and encourages people to do advocacy. It is raising that lethargy, apathy, laziness and exhaustion. That is the stuff that drives what we do. The thing that has got to hold us is the thing that says something is not okay, we need to do something about it and standing collectively we are going to be more effective in standing on our own. However, if there is nobody else then I will stand alone, because when you put yourself here, and you are saying something, someone else in the room of about fifty people will come and recognise what I am saying and walk to me and stand next to me. If there is nobody brave enough to be the loud voice, then the other person who would very much like to be, does not go to him or her so it’s finding others. Some of the reasons why we practice advocacy, is because it is our responsibility. I think that we find ourselves in the context of work where we actually have a responsibility, to the people with whom we work as well as the community in which we work.
In respect of Violence against Women and Children, these people who are victimised through those processes are particularly vulnerable and silent; therefore we are working with some of the most vulnerable people in society. We have expertise and opportunities to learn, where we expose each other with the conversations that we have with each other, through the professional skills that we have learnt and that expertise is something that not everybody has attained as I have said, to make people understand things better. There is a very important issue of scale up of services. Shelters are in such dire need, they hardly have anything, so we need to keep saying this is an issue, this is an issue, this is an issue. Think about advocates, think about those campaigns that have been successful they kept saying repeatedly the same thing, and you do not get tired of saying the same thing. You say it in different ways to different people. Nevertheless, we have to keep on saying it. Because the people who are making the decisions about funding for shelters, they have a lot of other very important things and they have got to focus on those other things unless someone from this group is saying this is an issue, this is an issue, this is an issue.
Now I will be looking at what the elements are of advocacy, what are the things that should be in place that helps build a successful advocacy process. The issues I will be touching upon are building alliances, identify what the main thing is you want to advocate for and what the messages are, getting research and information, deciding who you are going to target and who you are going to lobby. I will also be speaking on parliament, litigation or going to the court, building public support and social mobilisation – that is mobilising society or groups of people, engaging with the media and then, very importantly, ongoing evaluation. The first element of advocacy is alliance building. All our experiences of advocacy processes at work use alliances. I do not know of successful advocacy where there is not a group of people all taking responsibility. That is the important thing. Everyone has a sense of responsibility; at the campaigns each different person says that they will be doing something different, and it is not a situation where you wait for the leader. It is a selective partnership.
Alliances can and should be fluent – people move, new people come in; normally what happens with an alliance is that it builds – they keep growing with time. There needs to be some kind of leadership. If you are in a room of fifty people, and you say that you will be starting a campaign on a specific issue, you need to say who are going to be the five people who are going to be our leaders; very importantly who is going to be our secretariat. Someone has to have the job of making sure that the meeting takes place. Someone has to act; if you do not have someone with that job then it is not going to happen. In your alliance, make sure that you have some kind of structure and leadership. Have a communications structure, be organised about communications; everyone should know how to communicate with the group. Have regular updates, once every two months send an update to the whole group. Create a space where people can communicate freely with each other on anything not just the campaign.
Use your communication space effectively. Sometimes you would need to lobby allies. You might need to go and convince people to join you, but they are worth the effort as they are going to add a lot of value. Some people will naturally come in, they will approach you, others you will have to find. What is very important in an alliance is not to force everyone to want the same thing, because people have different agendas and that is okay, but you do not want to force people to tow one line. In an alliance building process a lot of effort needs to be put into place to keep the group who is doing the work together, and all those basic principles such as good communication, dealing with conflict and differences. Those things need to be brought into the process, and often I do not see much attention paid to these aspects, so people just think that it is going to happen. You need to know whose job it is to for example, to set the agenda and send the e-mails etc. Sometimes you will find months passing and nothing has happened, everyone was passionate at the beginning but nothing has happened as there was no structure in place. Definitely, the other critical issue is identifying what your purpose is.
There are a number of different issues that are critical in the shelter context, such as the volunteer issue that has come up is whether we want volunteers or not and what kinds of volunteers, what is the purpose, how do you manage, etc; those are potential issues that you want to lobby about. Complex issues, which are, not debated end up causing more harm. With regard to the funding issue explaining what the funding issue is to people, explaining what the consequences are of the current model and talking about the solution. That is definitely a potential issue, so there are many. There are bigger issues and then there are the smaller issues, you do need to collectively agree on what the main issue is going to be on the campaign. If you try to take everything on you will do nothing.
You have to have the space for debates between people who have different views as to what issues are the key issues that need solving. If you do not do this people will be completely unfocused or resentful because their issues were not noticed and this will lead people to withdraw. Create the space for debates; create the space to come to a solution right from the beginning, in the early stages. You have to come up with the big picture, what is the big thing you want and then work on the smaller issues. When we are looking at the big issue, we have to look at what are the steps toward that.
You as a network are an enormous resource for research; you have the information everyone needs. You might want to link up with researchers to help you take what you know and put it together into something useful. There is also a lot of existing research, for someone to have a small working group to go out and find all the existing research, to put it together for everyone – you can do things like that; it is very important to work from a basis of research and not only case studies. I use case studies a lot and I use some of the more critical scenarios. I spend a lot of the time trying to get the more subtle cases people do not take seriously. It is a mixture of research and case studies and then very important you have to know your policy environment because you cannot lobby for change if you do not know what your policies are. So again, we in our different campaigns, we all have people who do job research. Make sure that they have created all the right policies that they know what it says, and they can advise the rest of us on it.
You will have to make decisions about whom your target is going to be, so you will do lobbying. I want to suggest that you do not limit yourself, and that you think at the top. If you have a problem in a local area, and it is a problem that is in many different localities, do not be afraid to write to the Minister at National Level and to the MEC at Provincial Level and to the HOD in the office, see them all. Many people are stuck when they are lobbying when trying to do things at the lower levels, it is about whom you know, and that is fine, it is good practice to start because you want those relationships to be good and you want to trust that everyone is going to work together. However, you should be willing, and do not be afraid to get the Ministers e-mail address and to call the PA and tell her that you are coming. When you are thinking about whom you are going to target or whom you are seeing, think about the following questions: who are these people?, how many of these people are your potential allies?, are some people who will enter Government from the other side and are these people who will take these issues on? It is important to find those people, who are your allies on the other side? Moreover, they may not be the heads they may not be the Ministers that you will find; these couple of people, whom you know will always be in the departments. If you speak to that person and if they can assist you, it does not matter their position, go and speak to them and they will help, so it is definitely important to find your allies. Also find out who are the people that are going to support you; you do not know if they will, so this is where you want to invest most of your energy.
Work on the people who will definitely support you or may support you, do not focus your attention on the people you know will not agree with what you are saying. Thereafter ask yourselves these question: who are these people? This is part of the planning process. These are just some of the things that you might do, such as writing letters etc.
When you are angry, and many of you have a great right to be, we shut people down; so take what you know about the principle of communication and conflict, and as angry and legitimate as your anger may be, it is not necessarily helping your cause if you are screaming and shouting. It is however, also not helpful to pretend that you are not angry. It is about finding the appropriate way to voice your anger – that I am not going to alienate people or if it does to consider it carefully before you start to alienate people. Express your anger amongst yourself – let your rage flow; it will help you to be more strategic and diplomatic in your work. Invest in those people; invest in those relationships with the people with whom you are lobbying – it is also the administrators, secretaries, personal assistants and the receptionists who understand your position and the issues. You may want to empower Government Departments, that is where a lot of advocacy is been targeted. Most Organisational Campaigns, when they are doing advocacy, go to the Departments or District office, Provincial office or to the National office; that’s appropriate and you should do that but what we are missing is the element of parliament – we have got legislation for Parliament. We have National Parliament in Cape Town and then there is the Provincial Legislation so the job of Parliament is Law and Policy reform, Parliament makes law. The other very important job that Parliament has that we do not take into account is oversight over the Department. It is the job of Parliament to ask the Department are you doing your job, what haven’t you done, what have you done, why have you not done the things that you have said you will do? They are supposed to hold the Department to account. Most of the Parliamentarians who sit in Parliament do not know or do not have the information they need to ask the right questions.
A lot of you are managing other people. If your only source of information about the person’s performance is what that person tells you then you probably do not have the whole story. As managers, you know you probably walked into big trouble in the past. When you only looked at the crux of what this person is saying. You need to know that the role of the Committees in Parliament is to oversee what the Departments are doing, whether it is the Provincial Legislature over the Provincial Departments or the National Legislature over there National Departments. I have just listed the committees – those that I thought were most important to this group: there is the committee on women children and persons with disabilities; now you will find in each province there will be a committee that deals with these issues that may have slightly different names. You will find that they have websites and you will find it on their website.
Then there is also a National committee in Cape Town that is broken into the National Council of Provinces and the National Assembly – so there are two committees in Cape Town. Justice, Police, Special Development, Correctional Services, Education, Public Works, Human Settlements – all of these committees are relevant. In addition, when you are thinking about whom we target, which Minister or which DEG should we target absolutely but also which committee, you may also first want to work with the department before you go to parliament; you may want to go straight to parliament and tell them these are the issues. Parliamentarians are seldom experts in the area they sit on the committee – they are politicians who have been put into that committee so as you would teach people who don’t know anything about what you doing you present the information at the parliamentary level, we give information that is easy to digest that sets out the problem with suggested solutions. You can ask them to ask the department particular questions for example how many shelters have you funded and how much? Parliaments are often going to be very welcoming of the information and the questions you ask. Build constructive relationships and you will find that you get a little bit more power. The civil society that is us and the NGOS and CEOS, Parliament is required by the Constitution to engage with Civil Society. That being interpreted may be that they must engage with Civil Society on law reports so on new legislation and new policies but actually we are arguing myself and a whole bunch of organisations that it includes on their oversight role and we are finding ways to be put on that agenda on to the oversight agenda.
The Department of Social Development must present its annual report to Parliament, whether it is National or Provincial. Go to those sessions hear what they have to say, you may not be the person making a big fancy presentation but you might want to use your informal opportunities as well – like during the tea break go and introduce yourself to different people. You have heard a few people speaking so go and speak to them, Find the people you can speak to and raise your issue that way. I often advise people to type out a few key questions you think that they should be asking; print it out and hand it out in the morning to everyone – I think they will be interested. Add your contact number and your name onto the piece of paper. At least one person out of a small group will follow up with you. Parliament is open to us, the information about what is happening in the National Parliament is on the website of the parliamentary monitoring group. The Provincial Parliament works a little different; they have websites and you need to find the committee; they will have a secretary and contact details. The committee secretary will be there and they will be happy to help. It’s actually very easy and when you start it is not difficult. You can provide formal introduction and verbal information; you can do this by having a conversation or doing a presentation. These are all effective and they work.
Parliament employs researchers, and they are a fabulous group of people to work with. They help the members by giving them information. You have information that you want the members to get; you go to the researcher and you ask for the information. Now we are getting to the part of the campaign where, as well as figuring out whom you are and what your key focus is on and what are your key messages, you make phone calls, you write a letter or you go to parliament. You also need to get your information out to the public. You do it to build public knowledge and support. You might want to build more participation; this can be done through demonstrations or media, but bigger campaigns need more organisation.
Journalists are two things: those people who are going to help you and people you are going to need to teach. It is not just a one sided approach. People also do workshops with journalists; however, it is very difficult to get them together to the workshops. Therefore, you teach journalists in exactly the same way that you are going to teach your politicians and civil servants. Package the information well and simply and make it available for them. Build relations exactly how you do with everyone else. Media must also be seen as much broader than just television, radio, posters; it is anything that you are doing that is written or printed even the internet, twitter or face book and have a campaign page on face book to get followers.
Tell people what is happening, what is new on the face book and the Google group; so there are many different ways to engage the media. You need to start knowing who the journalists are. You will engage media through press releases – keep it short and to the point. You will then send it out to people. You will then follow up on a couple of things with a telephone call. You may also write letters to the editor as a fabulous campaign activity, so you will draw up a press release that something has happened. Across the country from different provinces people write letters to the Editor on certain issues whether it is the Independent newspaper group or whatever it is; you must use the media groups to write from your personal experiences in the section. Then there are opinion forums which is a space to rant a little more formally and you need to phone the editor – you do an off air on these issues and you will agree on a date. With your campaign, keep visible in the media. From local media through to National, from the newspapers, the community newspapers and the National radio stations, you should use that space.
You need to have a committee to meet monthly, have regular meetings and have regular feedback from the groups. You need an ongoing communication. Discuss this is what is happening this is what is new. If you do not have that, you are not going to have a campaign either. Do not forget to continually evaluate what you are doing and to strategise.
So we don’t have time to answer these questions but I thought they will be useful just as a summary of what I spoke about. These are some concluding questions for consideration at the conference on what you will undertake for advocacy. What are the main points that must be raised about this issue? Who should be targeted with these? How will you target them? Who will drive this How will everyone else participate?
On Day 2, three workshops were conducted to inspire women to ensure that they have passion for their work and the right attitude and frame of mind.
Imagine a workplace where everyone chooses to bring energy, passion, and a positive attitude with him or her every day. The Pike Place Fish Market does just that. This video reveals how that is accomplished and how any organisation can do the same.
The video explains how play leads to success, shows how to delight customers and inspires people to be positive.
The bottom line is that fish has created a new vocabulary that will not just change how you view work; it just may change your entire view on life. The fish philosophy has become an extraordinary phenomenon. Catch the Energy and Release the Potential!
At Pike Place Fish Market, employees do not just fill orders; they fill people, with fun, friendliness, attentiveness, and enthusiasm. The work is hard, the hours long; yet these employees choose to bring commitment to work every day.
Imagine a workplace in which people are truly connected to their work, to their colleagues and to their customers. This DVD is a tool to help you lead people towards creating that environment.
The four steps to the fish philosophy presented by the DVD are:
- Make Their Day
- Be There
- Choose Your Attitude
Firstly, about play, the video explains how play leads to success; the second principle, make their day refers to serving people to the best of your ability and by doing this in some way you will be making their day; thirdly be there, show interest in others, listen attentively to them and in that way you will be there and lastly, choosing your attitude, you have a choice about the attitude you wish to relay to others and the DVD shows us the positive results of choosing a positive attitude no matter what it is you are doing.
Facilitated by Dr. Zubeda Dangor:
Group 1 were divided into two; the first group looked at the first principle of play.
- The first question posed to them was what seems to be the benefits of a creative playful work setting?
Essentially the staff are happy, there are rewards. The fish company were making money; we wouldn’t be making money but we would be happy and our clients would buy into our products and services – you create a good bond between colleagues and conflict is either minimal or resolution is quite easy because people are communicating well.
- The second question was: can you remember a time that you were having so much fun that you lost track of time?
There are various experiences; were I work, we revamped the shelter and the women residents, as well as staff, took part in the revamping of the shelter- this was great fun. At Saint Anne’s Shelter they enjoy a family day annually; there is a pool we have a braai and have lots of fun and games. At one of the other shelters the management did the rounds. It was a big shelter that had 140 beds but this was all about sensitising management to the shelter and people got quite excited about this. It was a shelter which was an old house in the Nederburg which everyone pitched in to clean up. That was a very happy time for them.
- The third question was that any job can be boring if you make it boring and any job can be fun if you make it fun. What are some of the ways to make your work fun and what else could you do?
We spoke about incentives for staff birthdays, cards and parties for children residents as well as for the staff, including having cake. In my region the women’s shelter movement meets once a month. We share our experiences and laugh a lot. By allowing residents to get involved in planning, we have lots of fun. In one of the other shelters, on Heritage Day, they cooked traditional food, wore traditional clothes and danced; they had community chats engaging everyone – these chats can take place in the gardens of the shelter or whatever facilities you have available. Some of the other ways to make your work fun is by having a women’s night, where you watch chick flicks, cry and eat snacks. At St Anne’s Shelter, Joy took her team to the airport because many of them had not seen the revamped airport; they got a voucher to buy something nice for themselves and had a good breakfast there.
One of the other shelters took their staff on a cruise, but did not tell them they were going on a cruise; so they got on the microbus and got on the boat. It is important to ask yourself what it is that they like you to do.
- Think of the time when someone told you made a difference to them and that you made their day. What was the situation and how does it feel?
We spoke a lot about house mothers – they are very special people. It’s often there were clients who say thank you, because there is a mother – a caring being for them and they often are the ones who pick the victims up.
One of the other shelters got an RDP house for the resident – she was ecstatic; she thanked them and said that they had made her life so much easier.
- What has someone done to make your day?
In the shelter where I work there are often more children than women; we talk a lot to the women and children about giving back. They know how to receive very well and often they don’t know how to give back. The children in my shelter bring anything like a stone or a broken pine cone, which they place in a basket, which I have in my office. It is like their little gift to me, and they see it there and they love it and you just have to pretend that you love the stone. Pretend that you do not know what it is – it can be great fun. A little two-year-old girl came into the staff meeting because she wanted the staff to be present to her; so those are the things that make our day.
In addition, men engaging with the issue of gender based violence bring donations to the shelter or ask to become volunteers.
- How can you make your clients day?
We all know that by giving them some clothes and food that will make them very happy, but by making them feel special, this will make them very happy as well. Also, make sure that they get a good farewell.
- How might you make your co-workers day?
When they leave the shelter, have a farewell for them, to thank them for their services to the organisation.
- How might you make your bosses day?
One of the things we thought of is doing your job well, giving thank you cards from the shelter, saying thank you for whatever he/she has done.
Facilitated by Evonne Perumal
This group looked at the principles of choosing your attitude and being there.
CHOSING YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEING THERE!
- The first question posed to them was how important is attitude in your workplace?
We felt that it was critically important; your attitude determines your altitude.
- Do the fish guys really have control over their attitude?
Yes, The Fish guys really had control over their attitude.
- What evidence do we have that we can choose our attitude?
We spoke about a number of issues where all of us had the opportunity to control our attitudes daily.
- Describe someone that you know that demonstrates that they control their attitude
We have two inspirational examples.
The first example that Margret Stafford mentioned was Mr. Stephen Mills. Two days before he was to receive his medical doctorate he was involved in a motor vehicle accident; as a result he was unable to move any part of his body except his eyes. The only way he could communicate with people was through a computer programme. He has since the accident written many books; he travels all over the world in a bus and he motivates people encouraging them to adopt a positive attitude. The book he has written is called The Truth about Wheels. His saying is,’ I chose to be a lion and I chose to roar’. That speaks about attitude.
The second example is about a young man who was born in Australia; he was born without any arms or without legs and this young man’s name is Nick and his saying is,’ if I fail I try again and again and again’. In life, you have a choice, bitter or better, chose better! Forget bitter – that’s attitude. Every day we have to chose; we have limbs, we have the ability to move them, we have a choice of a great attitude.
- Be there, have you ever been out to lunch and stopped at a restaurant where the staff is also out to lunch? What was your reaction?
Many times the service is not great, and many of us feel disrespected; we felt devalued, and that made us feel angry. We said if that is how we feel how many times we have put others into that position because we devalued them. We had perhaps disrespected them, so put yourself into that position because we were not being there for someone else.
- Have you ever gone up to a counter and have the service person deal with you while making a phone call, taking care of personal hygiene or talking to another worker? What impact does this have on you?
We can all say, been there done that, and we got irritated. Therefore, we know ourselves: when we say excuse me am I scotch lipped or what? I am real and I am here, how many times perhaps have we not let somebody feel that way. They are real and they are there; they have a voice and would like to be heard.
- Have you ever taken a phone call while in the middle of a conversation with someone else? How do you think they felt?
Again, if you do this it brings about the impression that the person you are speaking to is not quite as important as the third party on the other side of the telephone conversation.
- What are something’s that we can do to make sure that we are being there?
Make conscious effort, become activists of being there. When you are speaking to someone, make eye contact look him or her in the eye, so if I am having a conversation we actually looking eyeball to eyeball and we are there with each other. That eye contact is critically important, engage in a question ask them is this what you saying? Is this what you mean? Asking them if they happy with the outcome before they leave. You ask them are you happy with the outcome of our meeting? Is this what you were wanting when you came in? When people come into the office and you busy on the computer, put the computer aside switch your cellular phone off for that time and give that person your undivided attention. Lastly listen to them and reflect back to them what they are saying.
Facilitated by Lynette Strijbis:
Group 1 were divided into two; the first group looked at the first principle of play.
- The first question posed to them was what seem to be the benefits of a creative playful work setting?
We said that it creates a positive atmosphere, people want to be there it relieves stress then it doesn’t seem like work and surprisingly time does fly, one then does not notice the load. I think if someone were to ask us at the end of the day, to write down all that we did for that day. We will almost fit into what should be a twelve-hour shift .Very often, but maybe because as Melanie said we very good at multi-tasking and maybe that’s why GOD chose us females to be in the caring industry, and it makes for an inclusive atmosphere where everybody chooses to get involved.
- The second question was can you remember a time that you were having so much fun that you lost track of time?
People were smiling because they were recalling those days from the Park visits to going on camps to parties, zoos including the march that took place on Friday. It was only at the end of the day that we realised that we marched for 8 kms, because the community gathered with us and we had so much of fun. Someone shared about role-play, when someone did a prom to role-play of the staff and it does definitely help to laugh at yourself when you see yourself being portrayed that is a good stress breaker.
- The third question was that any job can be boring if you make it boring and any job can be fun if you make it fun what are some of the ways to make your work fun and what else could you do?
It was the choose your attitude, the young guy in the video said that it is a simple choice, he said ‘come I’ve got it’, come I’ve got it’. I hope that by the time when we go into our shelters on Wednesday morning, we go in with that new attitude to say today,’ I’m going to choose my attitude’. Sadly, it is quite a difficult thing, because we come from homes and families that have their own challenges. We need to choose to leave that at the gate, so that when we come inside the clients have no idea of what our situation is back home. Your attitude is has to be one of positivity. As you need to make a difference in their lives. I feel quite strongly; that very often people come into work or projects because they have had an experience in their childhood. Maybe about abuse and they think they can make a difference, but their healing process hasn’t been completed and then they come and work in projects and triggers take them down one of those park trails and that can be really quite damaging to your clients. Therefore, we have to choose to leave that behind and to make a positive difference in the lives of the clients. To Infuse a false sense of confidence tell yourself I can take this on I am going to do that, change the things you are able to change we may not be able to change everything that comes our way and we need to have an acceptance of that.
- Think of the time when someone told you made a difference to them and that you made there day what was the situation and how did it feel?
Someone said just listening can make someone’s day, giving him or her, an opportunity to express his or her talents. I love hugs, I think hugs heal but when women come in they not ready for hugs they feel like frozen fish you can feel there is no response. One morning I was in the kitchen and a song that was very precious to me came up on the radio, it was the song that played when I had my first dance with my late husband and I caught my breath and said,’ you know this song means so much to me and my late husband’. She came and she hugged me that made my day, because it told me that healing had taken place sufficiently in her life for her to recognise my hurt in that moment and hug me and that was a really precious moment.
- What has someone done to make your day?
Saying thank you, sometimes we forget to just say thank you and maybe sometimes to put some words in a letter of acknowledgement. Sometimes life gets so hectic, but if you can maybe just fit in time at the end of the day, and write a letter to someone to say that what you did today I want to say thank you to you and acknowledge it, and that goes a long way.
- How might you make your clients day:
You can make your clients day by listening to them without interrupting them; and by not judging them. Also spoil them from time to time, someone said that at their shelter the women cook for themselves so she decided to cook for them occasionally and I think that makes any housewife’s day. Allowing things to be given, this is a huge lesson because I think people can be hooked on handouts but you should teach them to give back. One of the projects we are running to give back is that we cook a pot of food for an informal settlement a few kilometres away from us and get the women to participate in this act of giving. They get to see that there is always someone worse off than they are. We now have a soup kitchen that feeds more than a hundred people on a Thursday as a little project. Someone also said that a fellowship group where you just share, women sit around and I think we have a gift as females we do not mind to share what we feeling and out of that come a whole gamut of emotions. We know how to laugh, cry, and go back to laughing again. You can also make your clients day by presenting them with accolades and recognition, just maybe a certificate or letter but recognising that which people do.
- How might you make your co-workers day?
Give them a card always acknowledge their contribution to the project.
- How might you make your bosses day?
One of the women in our group said that we should have a farewell party. No, we will not to that. Just acknowledge them give them cards and flowers and just say thank you and also from time to time just ask how she’s doing and how her family is doing.
This group looked at the principles of choosing your attitude and being there.
CHOSING YOUR ATTITUDE AND BEING THERE!
- The first question posed to them was how important is attitude in your workplace?
Positive attitude is the most important thing, because we meant to be there for the clients, they not meant to be there for us, so we should not go to work in the morning with baggage.
- Do the fish guys really have control over their attitude?
I think that it is obvious that they positively made a decision everyday to have fun and to share their time at the same time, it is about sharing and we all need to do that. Do not react take a breath and act when somebody is in trouble.
- What evidence do we have that we can choose our attitude?
I think look around you; and look at those people who are always miserable and you avoid those people. If you can go into a place like a shelter, where everyone has so much to bear and you are miserable so you have to make that choice of choosing to have a positive attitude.
- Describe someone that you know that demonstrates that they control their attitude:
I remember once I had a deaf girl, two years ago. She gets hysterical and the more excited she got the more excited everyone else got, because she could not communicate and I said to her shoo, shoo, shoo breath in breathe out breathe in breath out and I told her the more excited they get you must become calm control your attitude and even breathing.
- Be there, have you ever been out to lunch and stopped at a restaurant where the staff is also out to lunch what was your reaction?
You become feed up, annoyed, frustrated disrespected even walked out and went somewhere else.
- Have you ever gone up to a counter and have the service person deal with you while making a phone call taking care of personal hygiene or talking to another worker what impact does this have on you?
The same as I just said fed up, if they do not want my business I will take it elsewhere – what am I? Chopped liver.
- Have you ever taken a phone call while in the middle of a conversation with someone else? How do you think they felt ?
Do not do to others what others have done to you.
- What are some of the things that we can do to make sure that we are being there?
Be available, make eye contact, pay attention and let the person know that you are there and you are interested in what they have to say. Mother Teresa said we could do no great things just small things with great love.
Facilitated by Yvonne Perumal:
Group 3 was divided into two; the first group looked at the first principle of play.
- What were your first impressions?
I picked up immediately that the DVD was about how our attitude toward our work would affect our workplace. We really need to count our blessings and change our atmosphere, by cheering up our work environment. We need to be reminded to have fun. The people in the fish DVD were happy and having fun, creative and showed a lot of confidence. They created a positive atmosphere and they were being there; they were visible in the environment, in the area and to the customers. They were happy and energetic; they looked very pleased in what they were doing. They cared for their customers. They showed camaraderie – people wanted to be there. They relieved people’s stress and put a smile on people’s faces. It does not even seem like work, time flies. They have so much of fun that they do not even notice the load. They love what they are doing; they are promoting teamwork.
- What seem to be the benefits of a creative playful work setting?
The benefits of a playful work setting are that you attract customers and thereby make lots of money. By being creative, you can attract funds. If we are playful, the clients will have fun and feel better. At the first interview, they could find it homely and attractive. The shelter building says a lot about you. Everything should be about them and not about you; make them feel special. Play makes you approachable.
- Can you remember a time that you were having so much fun that you lost track of time?
We have lots of fun at the shelter when there is singing and music. The facilitator has been trained on how to make the task more fun. Clients display what they have made; and are lots of fun. We also have guest speakers at the shelter and competitions.
- Think of the time when someone told you that you made a difference to them and that you made their day. What was the situation and how did it feel?
Acknowledge the clients; this will definitely make them feel special and make their day. In addition, touching and hugging is very important. Accept and compliment the clients regularly. Acknowledge the clients children as well. Have competitions, incentives and surprises. Celebrate and remember their birthdays. Make sure they have toiletries and underwear.
- How might you make your co-workers day?
One day you can be a fairy godmother and do an act of kindness for them. Have celebrations, if someone has done well, provide certificates to the co-workers acknowledging the good that they have done. Have a best worker of the month award for the co-workers; this will encourage them to continue with good work. Have a picnic or braai for them. Give them a card or cake at the staff meeting. Create a special day for them.
- Be there. Have you ever been out to lunch and stopped at a restaurant where the staff is also out to lunch? What was your reaction?
Felt neglected, disrespected, and angry. Felt as if they do not care and they are rude and felt we wanted to call the manager.
- What are some things that we can do to make sure that we are being there?
We should switch our cell phones off when communicating with people. We should also address the person by their name. When we are speaking to them we should look them in the eye.Make eye contact – do not ignore them. Give them a slight touch so that they feel you are there for them.
- How important is attitude in your workplace?
It is very important to have the right attitude in the workplace. You should give priority to adopting the correct attitude. You should control yourself.
- What evidence do we have that we can choose our attitude?
We should be honest and act in the correct manner. I hope we are all going to go away bearing the fish philosophy in mind when we go back to work or to your shelters. Remember the four principles: play, make their day, be there and chose your attitude. Every morning you can do that. I thank all the groups for their hard work. And on that note, we will break for lunch.
Yesterday, Tsholofelo Moloi made a valid point when she spoke about victims of the children’s act, and that crèches had to re-register. I wanted to just start with that, because we had quite a debate or discussion in our group on whereby because of the children’s act we were asked to re-register. We started the process of re-registration in September of last year and after my 8 km walk on Friday, I walked into the office and received a fax saying that we were now registered. However it had been 14 months of a struggle between different departments: the city, health, menus and safety – it was a nightmare, but we got it so that was such a sigh of relief.
Therefore, in terms of our children’s programme our staff consists of eleven full time employees and one part time worker. But in our crèche, which I will specifically focus on, we have four full time employees, staff members. We have a crèche co-coordinator (he is a male and an amazing gentleman, a qualified ECD teacher) and then we have a baby class teacher, a teacher’s assistant and also a cook. I think with the crèche children’s programme what really works for us is partnership and relationship, to the point of local government coming through to our facility. One of the things that they do for the children is that the children might not have been physically abused in some cases but they witnessed the abuse. So how do we break the cycle of violence? The statistics show us the perpetrators of today were those little children of yesterday, and it is our responsibility, I believe also, to look at breaking the cycle to ensure that they do not become the perpetrators of tomorrow.
We work with the South African College of Applied Psychology, with their psychologist and play therapist. We also work with the Universities; we have a play therapist that comes in on a Thursday, and how the children are being identified is obviously through the ECD programme. The teacher would pick up how the child reacts and plays out within the day. We find that children are very aggressive; we had a little boy that stuttered; he was four and half already and he could not pronounce his words properly. Those were all of the things we picked up because of the abuse that he had witnessed as well.
The play therapist comes in, so the teacher identifies the children and what is important is that the mother is involved in the process as well, in terms of the healing. She is aware of what is going to take place with the child. We also have music therapy with the children that take place on the premises and we very fortunate to work with community therapy and community clinic. They have actually had bursaries where two of our full time staff had been trained; and then there was a mentoring process where they actually came to the facility to just oversee and look at how the teachers are actually preventing the learning that took place. It is not about having to have the specific equipment; it is learning how to make things in order to teach others. It is amazing to see how the children react towards this; they look forward to those things.
One of the other activities that we were also a part of was massage therapy for babies and children specifically. We all know that when the mother and child come into the shelter, in most cases the development of the child has not been achieved; the milestones have not been achieved. How do we get the child up to speed? This is how the group therapy and massage therapy, more especially, is of importance because it also teaches the mother how to develop that child properly and massage the child. What also happens in that instance is that the child and mother bond, because in most instances when the mother and child come in there’s just no bond and so that’s also a therapeutic way of starting to engage in that relationship with bonding between the mother and child.
Sweetness is the baby class teacher. She has been with us for 14 years already, and she is the one that specifically looks at this component. She does the mother and child workshop and observation. Some of the mothers that come in are first time mothers, We also take in pregnant women and a lot of the time this is also new to them; so something simple like bathing the child they find problematic. In addition, you will find the child has nappy rashes and you will find when the child comes on a Monday, he has a runny tummy. Something else that we are looking at is the amount of scoops of milk powder that the mother’s put into the baby’s milk bottles? These are the kinds of things that you and I take for granted; that we would know, that we would read up on. Those are the things that because many of the women were not parented properly they do not know how to be parents themselves. We also touched on parenting skills, and what that does for the relationship; so as whole, we frequently observe during the week what is wrong or what the child is lacking. She also has the mother coming to bottle the baby in the crèche so, she will just check in with them what happened last night and how the child was; also just for her to observe and for her to reignite and rein still that nurturing component. That briefly is our contribution. In respect of breaking the cycle of violence, it is not just the mother that needs to be empowered, but also the child as well, to ensure we turn out a better humanity in a few years time.
Lynette Strijbis, Executive Member of the National Shelter Movement
This is not a model in terms of this is point number one and this is point number two; in terms of first you do this or first you do that. This model is a model that Nisaa developed in the year 2000; it gives us a guideline in terms of what we need to cover in our shelters. It starts with a mission and a vision and it goes through our philosophy then objective, programme, policies, rules and an exit plan.
Therefore, what you can do when you look at this is fill in what do I have or what don’t I have? We have spent some time on economic empowerment, which is very important. We have also spent some time on the programme, because there are such a lot of programmes going on but are not necessarily all documented, but it is important that there must be programmes. In terms of this guideline there is one that is not filled in and one that is filled in a little bit, to give a guideline in terms of what you are doing.
The blue part is what services do we have in our shelter? Alternatively, maybe what should we have? This could be increased. My red ones are the ones I have been planning for 2006 – some of them can be met; some can only be met in five years time. The blue ones are ones like basic needs, health care, outreach work, volunteers and the victim empowerment – all of the things we are involved with. It is an oversight in terms of the sheltering; I think most people want to have an operational manual, which is a systematic manual of how to open a shelter. The oversight is important because of us all being on different levels, so this is just a guideline as to what gaps are there and where should I go in and create more policies or laws etc.
We started by looking at a brainstorm of what is a good fundraising proposal and identified some of those factors from the group that attended the workshop. Thereafter we go on to look at the steps to writing a good proposal, what those may be.
Then we looked at how to structure a proposal. In terms of this, people were given an exercise in two groups where they were asked to draw up questions for each sub heading under the structure of the proposal. So for example, if you had a problem statement they were asked to write questions: if they were funders what will the funder actually ask?
In addition, thereafter, we went on to examine each of those particular areas, which included the title page, the content page and the executive summary. What does that include? How long the proposal should be? Organisational information that should be included in the proposal, the problem statements, or the statements of need and what is actually required with that programme, description and then the project plan for the particular funding period that they were applying for, monitoring and evaluation, then budget information and how to prepare project budget. This was all done quite briefly because of the lack of time. We also looked at the hiring of a fundraiser and there were cautions on this, particularly for small organisations. Finally, dealing with rejection – so if the proposal is not accepted what the consequences will be, and that it is not really the end of the world.
Ms. Linda Fugard, Shelter Manager in the Western Cape, Provincial Representative for the National Shelter Movement, as well as one of the Executives of the National Shelter Movement.
Good morning, to start today’s proceedings, Zubeda Dangor will formally run the Annual General Meeting. She will introduce you to our guest speaker, Helene Combrink, from the Community Law Centre at the University of the Western Cape.
Lynette Strijbis will then be presenting the vote of thanks, thanking Helene Combrink for setting aside her valuable time to be here with us.
We will then Meet in our different Provinces to be discuss how to strengthen partnerships, forums and other stakeholders in Provinces and each other. Discussions will also take place regarding the expectations of the National Shelter Movement Executives and the Provincial Representatives.
There will then be a report back by the Provincial Representatives and Executives. Lynette Strijbis will then be presenting our vote of thanks. We trust that you have enjoyed the first National Movement of South Africa Conference.
3.1 Presentation: Women’s Right to Freedom from Violence and the Right of Access to Adequate Housing
Advocate Helene Combrinck, from the Centre of Law and Disability at the University of the Western Cape.
Good morning everyone, it is really a privilege for me to be here and I really enjoy the fact that there are familiar faces in the audience; but for me in a way I have a bit of mixed feelings that we even have to have a shelter movement. We talk about veterans, the fact that we, as old battle-axes, have to keep on talking about the same things/issues. Maybe some of the things/issues that I will be talking about are how to take some of these things a bit forward. What I will be talking about is that I am going to tell you a story, maybe some of you have heard about this story. This case that has been circulating internationally.
It is the case of Jessica Lenahan; she was Jessica Gonzales, and she remarried against the Government of the United States. I am just going to tell you in a very broad sense the story of this case, because I think that once I have told you the story you will agree with me; that this case that can very well happen or could have happened in South Africa. I am going to ask you to think about what this case can mean for us we and what we can draw from this case in terms of a movement and how we can take some of the messages of this case forward.
What happened was that, eleven years ago Jessica Gonzales lived in a town called Castle Rock in Colorado. She was in the process of separating from her husband who had abused her and their children. She had already gotten a temporary restraining order against him, limiting access to her and to her children. Eventually she got a permanent restraining order against him. In terms of the restraining order he had only been allowed to see the children once a week; to come to her house for supper and it had to be at a prearranged time, usually it was on a Wednesday evening. He was not allowed to take the children away from her house. On a particular evening she learnt that he had picked up the three little girls who were seven, eight and ten years old at the time. He had picked them up in the road with another friend of theirs who was there for a sleepover and had driven off with them in his truck. Jessica immediately started getting worried; she felt that something was not right because it was not something that they had agreed upon; it was not a good night for him to see the girls as they had this friend over for the sleepover. Something told her that this was a bit off, that something was not right. She phoned the police and told them that her soon to be ex-husband had taken off with her children, and that he is in violation of the restraining order and that she was not happy with this.
The police told her that the children are with their dad; they will be safe. Over the next couple of hours she called the ex-husband’s new girlfriend, who also said that he had been talking about driving off a bridge and that she too was not happy about his frame of mind. Jessica Lenahan thereafter had called the police eight times over the next couple of hours. At one point they came to her house; in the mean time the father had called to say that he took the children to an amusement park, this was across the state border in Denver. Because it was across the state border, the police were not prepared to go and arrest him. Eventually she started getting more and more frantic, because he would not return her children and she was telling the police repeatedly that he is not allowed to have the children overnight – he is in violation of the restraining order; she could feel that something was wrong.
The only response from the police was that he is their father, and he will bring the kids back. He arrived that morning at the police station and started shooting at the police; they started shooting back and he was killed in the crossfire. When the police had arrived at the truck, the bodies of the three girls with bullet wounds were found at the back of the truck. Up until now, it has not been clarified whether, it was the father who had arrived there with the girls already dead or whether the children were killed in the crossfire between the father and the police. The mother was not happy. She said that the police had failed to protect her and her children. Firstly, because there was a restraining order and the language in the restraining order says to a police officer if there is a violation you must arrest the guy. It is not like South African protection orders where the police can use discretion. Those particular restraining orders make it clear that if there is a violation, you must arrest the person; it is an order to the police – you must arrest. She also said that by the police failing to investigate the death of the children, the police had further failed her. There was a whole range of procedure and substantive claim that she brought against the Castle Rock Police Department. She failed with her claim against the Police and against the State at every level in the United States. There are a whole range of reasons for that because of the way the United States Constitution is written, and because of the fact that the right to protection from violence is not specific in the United States Constitution, and also because of a whole series of previous cases on this in the United States.
Ultimately her case was rejected by the Supreme Court; what she then did was to take it to the next level which was the Regional level, the Inter American Commission on Human Rights. It is on the same level as the European Courts of Human Rights or the African Commissioner of Human Rights and there she said that the State has not shown due diligence in protection her and her children. If the state does not show you due diligence then at least they should give you a remedy, which she also did not have. What is very interesting is that she said that every person has the right to know the truth, and by failing to investigate properly the death of the daughters, she had also been denied the right to truth.
What was very interesting is that in October, the Inter American Commission passed in her favour, and it made a range of recommendations apart from monetary compensation, including that the United States must lodge a full investigation into the deaths of the children. Now its eleven years later and it is a good question whether the forensic material and evidence is still available. I think just in terms of saying to her that she was right, that she was not just a neurotic mommy calling the police every half an hour because the father has got the kids and she doesn’t really like it, saying she knew something was wrong and that she knew something was going to happen would have given her closure.
This is not new law in International Human Rights Law – this is confirmation of law that is already out there but it is a very powerful reconfirmation of what already exists. The difficulty with the United States is that this recommendation is not binding on the United States for a whole range of Human Rights reasons. The United States is very careful about not binding itself with International Human Rights Law. The effect of which she might be battling, to actually enforce this ruling, I think that in terms of the moral recognition this decision is enormously valuable. That is also what she had said. Moreover, I think where this judgement is very important, is that it does not just look at what the Castle Rock Community did on that particular night; it looked at the systemic failure because she was a woman of native American Latino descent, so she has that kind of joint bias against her in the system. The Court recognised that, and said that that is where women are really at the short end of the stick in the American system. We know women that are marginalised are very often in the worst positions and that is definitely something that this Judgment emphasises. These systemic failures are particularly serious since they took place in a context where there has been a historical problem with the enforcement of protection orders, a problem that has disproportionately affected women – especially those pertaining to ethnic and racial minorities and to low-income groups – since they constitute the majority of the restraining order holders.” (Paragraph 161)
“State inaction towards cases of violence against women fosters an environment of impunity”. If the State doesn’t act against violence against women, it’s as if they are saying, you know what she’s just there, you got a free pass because you know nobody is going to do anything against you and again this is recognised in this case. “State inaction towards cases of violence against women, also promotes the repetition of violence ‘since society sees no evidence of willingness by the State, as the representative of the society, to take effective action to sanction such acts.’” (Paragraph 168)
Therefore, what does that mean for South Africa. This case reminds us that we have a stronger Constitution; remember I said that the reason why she failed in the United States was Constitutional reasons – the fact that the right to freedom from violence is not guaranteed in the American Constitution; but we have that guarantee in South Africa. We already have a unity of strong judgements on violence against women and children and state’s duty to respond to violence against women; they do not have that in the United Nations. So knowing this, how do we work when acting against violence of women and children?
We have to recognise that we have a very strong legal constitutional leg to stand on.
It is important for us to start working with the idea of due diligence, as we saw in the Gonzales case. Maybe we can say that we demand due diligence from the State; due diligence means that there must be protective measures such as shelters, otherwise women have to come back into abusive situations. Due diligence means that there has to be housing policies or housing alternatives and it also refers to people with disabilities and the elderly. I think that gives us, amongst other things, a very good basis for joint advocacy.
I know that the chairperson of the portfolio committee in parliament on Women, Children and People with Disabilities has recently become very interested in the issue of professional needs housing, so I think that around advocacy this is a very broad opening. If all the professional needs groups can work together we might become much stronger and I think we need to start looking at test cases – cases were we could actually go to Court. You are going to have to find a case, you are going to have to go to court and, with that, I think it is important to work with a legal organisation. You will have to look at the particular woman who had to leave the shelter; she had explored all the options she had nowhere else to go. The other possibility might be to look at litigation around policies and I think that we just have to accept, like Zubeda and I, that we all here for the long haul. It took Jessica Gonzales eleven years to get where she is, but if she achieved something then I think it is worth it.
The picture on the left hand side was Jessica with her children, before they were killed. The picture on the right is Jessica recently. It is important to pay tribute to her, and all other women who have actually take up the issue of advocacy.
Discussions on how to strengthen partnerships, forums and other Stakeholders in Provinces and each other, Expectations of the National Shelter Movement Executives and Provincial Representatives and the issue of sixteen days for sixteen demands of action for shelters.
Besides what is actually on the programme, please add to it by discussing your views and feelings on shelters accommodating all victims of crime and then, separately, shelters taking in men and also discuss the housing issue.
Lynette Strijbis, Executive Member of the National Shelter Movement of South Africa
With regard to the first question of how to strengthen partnerships, forums and other Stakeholders in the Provinces and each other, we already have a very strong shelter network forum co-ordinated by DSD. Every second month we meet. The commitment to meet every second month, in the past, was poor, but some work has been done.
Apart from that we have formed a committee of shelters, where DSD is not represented and where we take our personal issues. This has been started about two years ago; and we have had problems to sustain it and to get people on board but the structure is there, so we are starting with a new committee in the beginning of next year.
The Committee is at a position to start afresh, as a new structure has been planned for 2012. This could now be formalised, keeping Regional representation in mind as well as forming task teams, spreading input to more people; for example to take the Women’s Dialogues forward with one team so we have the structures; there it is just a matter of working out a strategy. Also select other issues for other teams: for example, work was done on policies and care plans. Care plans will cover the issue of length of stay of clients in the shelters, which we would also like to address.
Another way to strengthen partnerships is to form an alliance with the Welfare Social Service Development Forum, especially on Provincial Level. It was recognised that there are some problems at Regional level in different areas. It was suggested that we write a letter to the Provincial structure explaining our need for representation. Jay Bradley, is the secretariat of WSSDF at Usindiso Ministries and could assist us as a link. A previous letter of payment was sent but with no response. At this forum, we will have the opportunity to put our issues on the table and be a stronger voice.
What we have decided now is that we will do two things; one is that we will get together and form a strategy in terms of seven burning issues like working on our policies and our care plan to get task teams within the committee to work on that. The other thing is that we want to link with the Welfare Social Development Forum that also have issues of welfare organisations on the table. That is our way forward in terms of our partnership.
Secondly, the expectations of Executives and Representatives over the next two years for the NSM; firstly, to be a strong united voice and to take up all the relevant serious issues to National wherever appropriate, including the use of the media. Then the very burning issue of the Domestic Violence Act and the issue of advocacy need to be addressed. We need to do advocacy urgently; on implementation problems with the Domestic Violence Act as a follow up on our Women’s Dialogues during women’s month. That is the number one issue because we have had Women’s Dialogue; we selected one hundred women in Gauteng, twenty in each of our regions and we had a big function on that; so that is an issue that is close to our hearts and it is the number one advocacy issue that we want to take on.
Next is funding of shelters and losing social workers due to better opportunities in Government. (could this please be on the agenda at the 8 December meeting with National DSD).
We want the Representatives to keep us informed and to have communication updates of everything that is happening such as events, challenges, successes, documentation, workshops etc. which should be circulated. Shelters must commit to inform representatives of changes of contact details.
Concerning Sixteen Days with Sixteen Demands, and Sixteen Actions, we have come up with sixteen demands only in terms of Domestic Violence. The question had been raised: where we are going with these demands? What is the time frame? Are we going to wait sixteen years for our demands to be met or paid attention to? It was suggested that a press release be done of the National Shelter Movement Conference, to make these sixteen demands/actions known to the public. There must be finalisation of strategy and legislation. There must be an enforcement of our Constitutional rights.
The demands with respect to the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act are a plea to take us seriously and to treat us with respect; please do not humiliate us with inappropriate remarks; please arrest the perpetrators when they violate; please arrest the perpetrators when we are in immediate danger; please refer us appropriately, not from pillar to post with no help; please do not take us back to the abuser with no protection; please deliver the protection orders; please do not give information to the abuser that may endanger us; please do not take advantage of us we are in a vulnerable position; please do not be bribed by the abuser; please remove the firearms from the abusers; please give us information, tell us about our options and how the forms work; please do not lose our documents, photos and other forms such as J88; please inform us as to what is happening in our cases and lastly please transport us to a health facility as the act says.
There should be a budget given to SAPS for training; trained officials should attend to victims. There should also be a specialised unit within SAPS for domestic violence and sexual offences. We need DV to be recognised as a crime and be dealt with in a serious manner. The right to maintenance must be enforced; with regard to housing the names on the waiting list must be fast tracked, jobs must be created to give us opportunities and a commitment is also needed to protect the social workers in shelters.
The question that was posed, as to whether all victims of crimes should be admitted into the shelters, no consideration is to be given to this idea at all. Men and other victims can be assisted at victim support centres. Men can be referred to a shelter for men. Should there be not enough in the province, it is not the responsibility of women shelters to establish them. Also our constitution does not allow this – facilities are also inadequate, there is a danger for women and children to be victimised again and lastly criminals can enter the system without us knowing.
Ms. Melanie Gobel
Concerning how to strengthen partnerships, forums and other Stakeholders in Provinces and each other, our focus is firstly to create a Provincial Network in each province. Secondly, to network with other stakeholders and forums; each of us have our own forums in our provinces be it a VEP, SAPS, DSD or Welfare in the Eastern Cape; also, to encourage monthly Provincial meetings, rotating to different shelters.
About the expectations of the National Shelter movement of South Africa, Executives and Provincial Representatives are firstly, to drive advocacy and lobbying on the National Shelter Movement issues on a National and International Level and, in layman-terms, to be the voice of shelters of South Africa globally; to strengthen communications, including sending monthly reports to the provincial representatives. Also fundraising, we feel that there is not a vehicle to raise funds for the shelter movement, not just for the movement but actually for the shelters. There is not a voice to raise funds so we need to create a fundraising office on behalf of the shelters in South Africa. Imagine if we could say we are a shelter movement raising funds, for example, 55 shelters representing services to thousands of shelter victims a year; we want x million from funder x y z, and then we need to redistribute these funds. We see this for the future as an expectation that the power of the NSM will be the strong arm to raise those funds for shelters.
The expectation of the provincial representatives is effective forum communication at least once a month; we are not saying, you must have a monthly meeting because I think that is a little unfair for provincial representatives. We are saying you have to have a monthly-expected form of communication by either telephone or teleconference, or some form of effective communication, email or meeting or something, but there must be this communication. That is a challenge for each provincial representative. We are saying at least once a quarter we should meet and have a quarterly meeting with minutes. The representatives have to submit a report every quarter to the national shelter regarding the shelters in their province; we need to start feeding that information up; as much as we want that information down, we have got to start feeding information up. Representatives also need to have regular meetings with executives at least every quarter. There is an expectation that we would like to have a conference bi-annually on whether there is funding that is available.
With the sixteen days we read it a little differently; we do not have demands but we have suggestions. We feel that the National Shelter Movement should issue a release just before the sixteen days of activism and that the release will go to all the members; then we as members we are issuing that same collective release to all of our media releases. I have a personal relationship with six different media outlets in my own region and maybe the National Shelter Movement does not know about it. If I personally endorse that release and then send it out, they have a personal connection with me so they will then do it; so imagine if all of you did it; imagine that one voice with that one message that literally gets screamed out – what a powerful message that is going to be in the sixteen days of activism.
We should also have positive mass action across our country in the sixteen days. Imagine the good ideas that are working in our community that we could share amongst the shelter movement and the message of those ideas went across South Africa; again its mass action in a positive way.
Use effective communication. Use various forms of media; in Kwazulu-Natal they used the satellite link because they didn’t have funding to get together and have a fantastic conference. During the sixteen days, one person went to the University of Natal, others went to other places where there was a satellite link, so they all got together and spoke about issues during the sixteen days. We can do that and, again, we can get media coverage using what we have; that does not have to cost us a lot of money. Also using face book we can reach everyone and it will not cost you anything. You can also use twitter and cell phones reaching people who have these forms of communication. During the Sixteen Days of Activism, a lot of non-profit organisations can access BNI groups; go to a BNI group and get your voice heard. You can talk in churches, go to your local newspaper, to your local school and your rural areas during your sixteen days to talk to you traditional leaders.
None of the shelters in our areas are happy to take in men.
Presented by: Joy Lange
We also have a wonderful working group in the Western Cape, called the Western Cape Women’s Shelter Movement. We have monthly meetings and now we also have Mossel Bay and Steenberg, so we at least have quarterly meetings, where they can also come and attend. We have an open day three times a year for emerging shelters. The strengthening and the partnership is all about sharing information, resources, and training opportunities. Our staff today are graduating from a parenting training opportunity that they had, because of WSM. Somebody in our WSM would be able to attend Governmental or Parliament meetings on our behalf, so we at the WSM are being represented at Government level.
The expectations of the National Shelter Movement are that we are saying that you were excellent so you will have to maintain that excellence. We should also be included in various forums as an agenda item. There should also be standardisation of programmes like the volunteer programme. To influence legislation for example, perpetrators must be sent to shelters. We felt very strongly that it is the women always ending up in shelters but they are not really the perpetrators. We must create a specialised unit within the SAP to handle Domestic Violence, like we work with the Hawks for human trafficking and it is amazing to work with them. There must be in fact a specific division that handles Domestic Violence; we felt that we really need training, it is extremely important.
The Sixteen points we have are that, firstly that we as shelters need adequate funding. There should also be an amendment to the protection orders; the protection orders should actually protect the children, so that the mother who takes out the protection order and two days later withdraws it, has no option but to prevent the remodelling of the children because they will also become perpetrators in that relationship.
Then, with regard to the moral regeneration of values and principles, we need to demand economic empowerment of humans, like red door the labour department and colleges to assist us. To drive the special needs housing policy. Then programmes for men because we need to know why do they do what they do; they need to also do something – there should be a balanced approach. Then there should be preventative programmes in schools and in the community, also to stop the remodelling of the abuse. There should be training like we had, the minimum standards for shelters training; programmes like that should be a demand of the shelters. Also, get more state departments involved like the Department of Education. Look at international models of sheltering, those that work. We should become like the multipurpose facilities; the women are so scared to leave the facilities but sometimes they need to leave to go to home or to the hospital where they might bump into the perpetrator, so we must kind of force, for example home affairs, in a nice way to come to the shelters when we call. In addition, our last point is the availability of services; the waiting lists are too long – some women have to wait eight months to see a psychiatrist.
With regard to the question whether shelters take in all victims of violence, the answer is a capital NO. They should create more shelters that specialise on focus areas that are drugs, women exiting rehabs and women with older boys. We already have waiting lists for domestic violence, so how can we accommodate all other victims of violence.
The last point is housing; there should be an acceleration of clients whose names are on a housing waiting list. We must obtain more clarity about the special needs housing and some state departments or some municipalities need more clarity.
To obtain State owned land and find sponsors to build homes to become like a second state home. Get organisations, like Habitats for Humanity, to sponsor that because we do not actually do it ourselves. Then education on legal ramifications of housing grants; it has been mentioned that if a women was given a house and she felt that she would never again be able to get a house that is an education process that we as shelters should also take on.
Presented by: Sarah Lekale
Firstly, we can strengthen partnerships with Free State shelters, homelands and the National Shelter Movement by allowing them to help us. We have been discussing and we have realised we have many problems that we hope the National Shelter Movement can help us with. The Free State Shelter Movement must have a slot in the Provincial VEP forum in order for us to address our problems. Shelter managers must meet at least once a month. As I have explained we are having many challenges; so if we meet at least once a month we can address all these issues. We should meet every quarter at districts to discuss what we have planned that is working for us.
Then what is also important is debriefing; however, this does not happen in the Free State for the entire year so that is definitely a burden for us. We wish to meet the MEC, the HOD and the Director of DSD to address the issue of sheltering, as it is not a priority for them.
Secondly, what we expect from the National Sheltering Movement is that the Provincial Representatives must gather all the Free State shelters to present all challenges and achievements to the National Shelter Movement. The National Shelter Movement must put Free State as a first priority to visit. National DSD must fund NSM Executives to attend capacity building training in the Free State.
With regard to the Sixteen Days for Sixteen Demands for shelters, we have realised that we, as shelters of Free State, are having a lot of guests; therefore we want capacity building training, job descriptions and programmes, salaries and benefits. In the Free State, we are all volunteers – some of us do not receive salaries, while others receive R 2000 or R1000 and this is a challenge. Awareness campaigns are also something that will be of benefit. Shelters must be registered. Every shelter must have a social worker. The social workers can come in maybe twice a week; sometimes we end up not meeting the social worker for two months. Each shelter must have transport and shelters must have standardised funding. VEP forums at Provincial, Local and National level must be established. We used to have a VEP forum but social workers were coming in and out and some of them did not have the passion for VEP and we are therefore suffering.
3.2.2 How will the Conference document of the proceedings assist you in your shelter and your province?
If I should get this document, back to the Northern Cape, not only will my shelter be recognised but also within Government and all other forums. They know there are shelters, but they do not take shelters seriously in the Northern Cape; it’s just another NGO that has come up. Therefore, if I should get this document and take it back to the Northern Cape to the Provincial forum, then they will get the idea that NSM is not just another organisation within South Africa but now the shelters will also be heard.
I think that there was so much information shared that we just took a few notes, but I think it will be nice to get the general input. I think to give us as shelters more credit when we apply for funding and even anywhere else a certificate from NSM, that I belong to NSM, gives me more accreditation, I believe, and more accountability. So please apply for the certificate as well.
What this document will do for us in KZN is that we have a meeting in KZN every month and I am going to take the document and do a presentation of all the things that was represented here so when we meet VEP or DSD we talk all as one body. Moreover, for the future when this group is going to demand millions from across the world, we are building credibility.
I think that so much has been spoken, you can’t get it all in one go; it is something we can use as a resource not just for ourselves but for us to go back and share these resources with the others who could not be here. For me it is about going and empowering other shelters in other regions and to go back and think about what this conference really is all about and learning.
Dr.Zubeda Dangor, Executive Director, of the National of Shelter Movement for Women’s Development
Basically we have heard from all your presentations what your needs and requirements are, as well as what you going to be doing pro actively in the next year, so while we have a start we know you have a start and we are very excited about that.
What we want to do at the executive level is to ensure that we try and better meet your needs as well. However, having said that we did come up with a way forward. I am not giving it to you in any order of priority, we will have to look at that but just to give you an idea of some of the things on the list for the next year as goals for a way forward.
Funding is a pivotal one because this means that we will be able to exist, I am sure we are going to be able to find the funding. Secondly, we should continue to develop our partnerships not only with government but also with everybody else, and I urge you to do that in your provinces all the time, because you will also make your shelter known and ensure your services will also be known in the area that you work in.
Then we have appointed representatives in every province; in some of the provinces there are two representatives, in North West, Western Cape, and Kwazulu-Natal, but for the rest of the provinces we have to get a twin form instead of one representative. I think this is going to be important because we see this as a process of support but also capacity building. With two people, working together we will ensure a lot more work will be done and that we will support each other. Sometimes if you only have one representative you get lonely, the province is big but if there is someone working with you closely, you can encourage each other all the time.
In general capacity building, that’s something we will talk to people about because we always consult, what are the needs of shelters, what is the training required and how NSM can facilitate that or bring you in to actually facilitate because, what we must not forget, is that a lot of the expertise actually lies within this group. Many of you have years and years of experience and all that adds to the value of NSM.
Then the issue of legislation which has been brought up in the Western Cape group, is also an issue that needs to be looked at, as well as the issue around the protection order; so there are those kinds of issues that we will also have to look at.
Another issue is the issue of social workers, not only the protection but also the fact that social workers need to be paid properly particularly in the sector and sometimes there isn’t also enough of a recognition; the social workers who work in this sector are the very front line people whose burn out levels are higher.
You don’t just turn your back and go home – you have to be on call, and one of the most horrendous things I’ve heard today is that some of the people who are here are on call while they are at this conference and that’s really not on. You know you can’t divide yourself in that way. Therefore, that whole issue around social workers needs to be addressed.
Then we need to look at policies and there are all kinds of policies that need to be developed one of which includes the volunteer policy and with that there is a requirement of standardisation. There is a huge opportunity for partnership development also with people such as Samantha Waterhouse from the UWC Clinic, as well as Lee, so that if we working on advocacy we are not alone. That is important because the bigger the group the greater the success if you can bring other people on board.
I also think the idea of working with child welfare forums is an excellent idea. One in terms of advocacy, these are groups we have to keep in mind all the time. What I would like to remind all of you is when you go back, to please, make sure that you identify cases that you might want the Women’s Legal Centre or the other group that Sharon mentioned to become a case. That sets a precedent that’s really very important; so if you have cases please contact us and we can see if that can become a precedent taking case in South Africa, because you are the people who know about it. So do not just struggle on alone. Make sure you are talking to your provincial reps and make sure they are talking to the executives, so that those things can be taken up. I think in the case of a legal aspect, it is easier for us because you will have to provide the information and work together and co-operate with those particular bodies such as the women’s legal resource centre and others and they are actually very good; they have taken up several cases and they have won several. Therefore, I think that we do have some opportunity and we should take that opportunity – we definitely should take them.
On that note for now that is the way forward but what we will do is also look at the feedback that the provinces have given today and try and see what we can incorporate that’s missing from here. This list of the way forward is based on what has come up at the conference over the past few days and some of our own work at NSM that we know we need to carry forward.
|Place of Hope||047 648 email@example.com|
|Christina Matthews Foundation||078 365 2415||Christinamatthewsfoundation@gmail.com|
|3||Baloyi Lizzy||Eldorado Park Women’s Forum||083 465 4789||Kensanebaloyierocketmail.com|
|4||Bradley Jean||Usindiso House||011 334 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|5||Combrink Helene||Centre for Disability||021 461 email@example.com|
|6||Dangor Fozia||Nisaa Institute||083 410 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|7||Dangor Zubeda||Nisaa Institute||083 289 email@example.com|
|8||Daniels Felicity||Athlone House of Strength||021 862 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|9||Delubom Nosiphiwo||Soul Winners Children and Women Support Centre||073 207 email@example.com|
|10||du Plessis Estelle||CEF Shelter Mbay||072 437 firstname.lastname@example.org
|11||Fugard Linda Carol||Sisters Incorporated||021 797 email@example.com|
|12||Gibson Hermien||Saartjie Baartman Centre||072 017 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|13||Meonie Gobel||Living Waters||079 525 email@example.com|
|14||Grindley Ferris June||Abrina Ester House||033 345 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|15||Hadebe Busisiwe Jumainah||Thusang Advice Centre||073 333 email@example.com|
|16||Hartley Mariette||SAVF Carletonville||018 786 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|17||Hector Sophia||United Sanctuary Against Abuse||021 572 8662|
|18||Hoorn Monica||Dusk to Dawn Haven||073 444 1823|
|19||Hope Renee||House of Hope||084 531 email@example.com|
|21||Kouta Sharon||UNODC Western Cape||073 134 2926||Sharon.firstname.lastname@example.org|
|22||Kunene Nomaweto||A Re Ageing Social Services||083 377 email@example.com|
|23||Joy Lange||St Anne’s Home||021 448 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|24||Lecoko Kgomotso Mildred||Bolokanang Shelter Women Support Group||071 946 9802|
|25||Lekale Sarah Eikie||Goldfields Family Advice Centre||072 144 email@example.com|
|26||Mabogoane Mbhali||POWA||011 901 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|27||Makhunga Lindiwe||Tshwaranang||079 169 email@example.com
|28||Manana Jane||POWA||011 472 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|29||Mjandana Nombuzo Mildred||Ikhwezi Shelter||011 242 email@example.com|
|30||Modutwane Daisy||Polokego Shelter||082 967 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|31||Moethilal Neermala Devi||Durban Hospice for Women||031 303 email@example.com|
|32||Moganedi Joyce||DSD National||012 312 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|33||Moloi Tsholofelo||DSD National||021 312 email@example.com|
|34||Morris Myrtle||DSD Provincial||011 355 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|35||Motsei Albertina Zina||Sizanani Shelter||016 973 8429|
|36||Nkabinde Zelda||Mercy Heavan||073 029 email@example.com|
|37||Nonyane Dimakato Mirriam||Savile Victim Support Centre||076 488 1480|
|38||Ntakirutimana Vestine||The Potters House||012 320 firstname.lastname@example.org
|39||Osman Nuraan||Ikhaya Shelter for Abused Women||083 712 email@example.com / firstname.lastname@example.org|
|40||Perumal Yvonne Gonasagree||Bethesda House||083 255 email@example.com|
|Nisaa Institute||083 298 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|42||Pitoyi Nomfumaneko||Umtata Women’s Support Centre||072 294 email@example.com|
|43||Pule Motlalepule||Tumahole Victim Support Shelter||073 645 9283|
|44||Ramathibela Nomsa||Ikhaya Lethemba||011 242 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|45||Rampou Patricia Mmasango||Theodora Ndaba||073 098 email@example.com|
|46||Roomaney Aysha||021 933 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|47||Rossouw Lee||L’Abrie de Dieu Safe House Stellenbosch||021 883 email@example.com|
|48||Slippers Danielina Tinkie||Grace Help Centre||072 220 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|49||Stafford Margaret||Beth Shan Salvation Army||082 455 email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org|
|50||Steneberg Edwina||House of Destiny||071 018 email@example.com|
|51||Strijbis Lynette||Mali Martin||083 684 firstname.lastname@example.org|
|52||Strydom Lynn||Bellla Maria/Lifeline||078 464 3307|
|53||van der Berg Rina||Grace Help Centre||072 348 email@example.com|
|54||Vigne Carlon||Care Haven||021 638 5511||Vigne.carlon.gmail.com|
|55||Wilkinson Colleen||Mercy House||076 734 firstname.lastname@example.org