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Gender Justice and Local Government summit in Johannesburg

The second annual Gender Justice and Local Government summit will take place in Kopanong Hotel and Conference Centre, Benoni from 28-30 March 2011. More than 265 participants from ten Southern African countries are expected to attend the event, which showcases examples of local efforts to end gender violence and empower women across Southern Africa.
Convened by Gender Links, under the banner 365 Days of local action to end gender violence, the summit is being attended by journalists, local government authorities, municipalities, NGOs and representatives of ministries of gender and local government.

The summit coincides with Gender Links' 10th anniversary on 30 March 2011. In line with the target set in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Protocol on Gender and Development for halving gender violence by 2015, the specific themes this year are: "Gender and local elections" on day one and "Leaders speak out on gender violence" on day two.

Good practice competition

There are 108 examples of good practices entered in eight different categories, to be judged by the audience and also a panel of distinguished judges. Entrants include the Chrysalide rehabilitation programme for former drug addicts and sex workers in Mauritius; a South African support centre for the victims of corrective rape; and a Zambian police victims unit that provides support to victims of gender violence. Each award will have a winner and a runner-up to be presented at the gala dinner on 30 March. The eight categories are:
  • Prevention of Gender Violence (GV) at local level: how do councils work to end GV - 12 entries
  • 16 Days campaigns, including cyber dialogues - 4 entries
  • Response to GV at local level: what do councils do to advance legal literacy, work with local police, etc - 12 entries.
  • Support around gender violence at local level - how do we support those who have experienced GV - 16 entries
  • Empowerment of women at local level: How do councils enhance the ability of women to take control of their lives - 22 entries
  • Centre of excellence - 20 entries
  • Institutional good practices - 12 entries
  • Leadership: two awards will be presented to individuals/leaders who show particular innovation and dedication to ending GV at the local level -10 entries

Local elections

The summit starts with a panel discussion about local elections in the SADC region. Ahead of elections in South Africa, it will feature an interactive debate with representatives and permanent secretaries from SADC countries, including Thoko Mpumlwana, deputy chairperson of the IEC and GL Board member.

Following the plenary session parallel seminars on Centres of Excellence and Women Empowerment will convene and run over two days. Sessions on Support; Response; and Prevention will also take place on 28 March.

On Tuesday 29 March, the Gender Links Gender Justice team will launch a research report on how leaders prioritise gender violence. The analysis looked at 1956 political speeches, including 118 speeches delivered by President Jacob Zuma, looking for references to gender violence.

The Enough is Enough campaign, launched on International Women's Day this year, will also be presented. This will be followed by parallel discussions on institutional good practice; the 16 Days campaign; and leadership.

The final day, 30 March, summit participants will take to the streets of Johannesburg for field visits that will expose them to some of the excellent gender initiatives being undertaken in South Africa. Gender Links will also launch Giant Footprints, a 316-page book documenting its achievements over the last ten years. This will feature video footage documenting some of the grassroots initiatives from the region. Footage can be made available on request.

For more information and a full summit programme visit Gender Links or contact Mona Hakimi .