Courageous Youth Mobilized Against GBV

Courageous Youth Mobilized Against GBV

From January 29 to February 2, SWAGAA, in collaboration with Together for Girls and Population Council, invited 27 youths from the Manzini and Lubombo regions to participate in the Girls & Boys Mentorship Empowerment Workshop held at Ezulwini, Lugogo Sun Hotel.

This 5-day workshop introduced our future-mentors to the harmful perceptions, stereotypes and practices that perpetuate gender inequality and Gender-Based Violence in Swaziland. It taught them about the different types of abuse we see in communities, how to identify signs of abuse and how to report abuse.

The overarching objective of this workshop was to prepare these ambitious change-makers to become facilitators for the Girls Empowerment Club (GEC) or the Boys for Change Club (BCC) programs in their home communities.

The Girls Empowerment Club has been a flagship program for SWAGAA. With a third of Swazi girls experiencing some form of sexual violence before the age of 18, low rates of reporting abuse and an unrelenting culture of silence, SWAGAA adopted an integrated approach to prevent and respond to GBV faced by young girls in Swaziland.

In this workshop, SWAGAA trained female participants on how to facilitate Girls Empowerment Clubs, which act as “Safe Spaces” for girls to gain knowledge on Gender-Based Violence, build their networks and self-worth and get connected with primary services in their communities. Through songs, story-telling and other interactive activities, the participants were able to develop their own facilitation styles and gain the confidence needed to successfully deliver the GEC program mandate.

 

“The programme intends to inspire men and boys to ‘be’ different; to be courageous agents of social mobilization for change who unapologetically and courageously challenge society to foster safe, protective communities which promote respect and dignity.” 

In improving our approach in the fight against Gender-Based Violence (GBV),the introduction of the Boys for Change Club (BCC) program was integrated into SWAGAA’s mandate. Young men aged between 18 and 30 participated in the workshop where they were prepared on how to initiate and coordinate dialogues around Gender-Based Violence, sexual abuse, gender equality and Human Rights. The goal of the Boys for Change Club and mentorship workshop was to inspire the young attendees of the workshop to adopt positive and transformative gender attitudes, practices and norms to create a more equitable and inclusive society. The hope is that this will act as a ripple effect on the rest of Swazi boys and men.

Of the Boys for Change Club program, SWAGAA’s Executive Director, Cebile Manzini-Henwood said:

“The programme intends to inspire men and boys to ‘be’ different; to be courageous agents of social mobilization for change who unapologetically and courageously challenge society to foster safe, protective communities which promote respect and dignity.” 

The Need For Peer Education

Peer education is an important component of SWAGAA’s work across Swaziland. It helps to foster a strong connection between mentors and club participants, while at the same time builds confidence, equips children and young adults with life skills and reinforces the knowledge-learned through story-telling, sharing and games.

We are extremely proud of our 27 graduates who demonstrated their commitment to eradicating GBV, changing attitudes and becoming daring advocates of SWAGAA’s mission and vision for a future, where Human Rights are respected and all people live in peace and harmony.

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