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16 Days of Activism – “UNITE: Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls”

NATICC joined the rest of the world in commemorating the 16 days of activism against GBV. The 16 days of activism against GBV is an annual international campaign that kicks off on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, Human Rights Day. The campaign was started by activists at the inauguration of the Women’s Global Leadership Institute in 1991. It is used as an organizing strategy by individuals and organizations around the world to call for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. In support of this civil society initiative, NATICC engaged in various activities which commenced from the 25th of November to the 10th of December 2023.

NATICC ED Mr Sisekelo Nzima making his remarks.

During this period, in collaboration with other stakeholders, to raise awareness on issues related to gender-based violence (GBV) and teenage pregnancy (TP). Under the theme “UNITE: Invest to Prevent Violence Against Women and Girls”, the Government of Eswatini through the Deputy Prime Minister’s Office (DPMO) invited NATICC and other stakeholders, inclusive of civil society, media, religious leaders, private sector, national and international partners, administrative and traditional structures as well as trade unions, to join hands in fighting the ever-increasing rate of GBV in the country. In an event that was hosted by the DPMO marking the launch of the campaign, NATICC Executive Director (ED), Mr Sisekelo Nzima, emphasized the need to strengthen or introduce interventions that promote Mental Health, especially for students residing in both rural and urban areas. He also called for the church as a powerful and influential institution to take the lead in providing safe spaces and interventions for people with Mental Health issues.

Honorable Deputy Prime Minister Thulisile Dladla making her remarks.

When delivering her keynote address the Honorable Deputy Prime Minister (DPM), Thulisile Dladla, appreciated the presence of students from the two (2) high schools in attendance (Nhlangano Central High and Evelyn Baring High schools) by acknowledging them as future leaders, thus the need for them to be cognizant of issues affecting young adolescent boys and girls when it comes to intimate partner relationships. She appreciated the media for playing a pivotal role in information dissemination and awareness raising, adding that without media, it would be very difficult and time consuming to get the message across. She warned young people to desist from dismissing our culture as primitive or outdated because it provides a blueprint for surviving and prospering in the Swazi context. NATICC also hosted a Netball Tournament at Magubheleni Sports Ground under Gege constituency as part of the 16 Days of Activism campaign targeting young adolescent girls and youth in general. The aim of the tournament was to equip in and out of school adolescent girls on issues related to GBV and Teenage Pregnancy (TP) prevention. GBV and TP prevention messages were disseminated through the use of a PA system during the games. Players from participating teams were also encouraged to say something related to GBV and TP prevention. In order for communities to take ownership of such activities or events, a charismatic vocal young member of the community is also tasked, upon volunteering, with being the commentator for the games and, with guidance from NATICC Officers, also disseminating messages related to GBV and TP prevention. The messages centered around having multiple partners, putting education first, staying in abusive relationships and avoiding inter-generational relationships.

Moreover, NATICC also joined a march that was organized by the Royal Eswatini Police Services (REPS) under the Domestic Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offenses (DCS) Unit which started from the Nhlangano Police Station ending at the satellite bus rank. The aim of the march was to raise awareness on fighting crime, particularly domestic violence, and preventing road accidents which spiked drastically during festive holidays. NATICC also took the opportunity to share her services and encouraged women to avoid financial dependency, which also perpetuates GBV and TP, before encouraging everyone to report any form of abuse experienced or observed