In a bid to identify and recruit more Local Government Councils to become Centers of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming, the Second Annual Gender Justice and Local Government Summit and Centers of Excellence Awards will be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, from 28- 30 March 2011.
The Summit will be run under the theme ‘365 Days of Local Action to End Gender Violence: Halve Gender Violence by 2015.’
Briefing the media on the upcoming Summit, the country Coordinator for Gender Links, Keabonye Ntsabane, said, “it is important to court local authorities in the fight against Gender Based Violence as they are involved in the policy making process”.
Ntsabane said the Summit aims to bring together Local Government Councilors and Officials and relevant Government ministries.
“The Summit is aimed at popularizing the SADC protocol on gender and development target of halving gender violence by 2015,” said Ntsabane.
She added that the summit will seek to provide a platform to demonstrate and debate what works in preventing and addressing gender violence in local communities and providing an opportunity for local government practitioners to develop strategic partnerships and networking opportunities across the region as well as offering a platform to debate around local government approaches to preventing gender violence in local communities.
It is also an opportunity for stakeholders to interact and to present content of what they understand the role of local authorities to be, in turn also to affirm their good practice models through the summit thus broadening the impact and efficiency with regards to addressing Gender Based Violence collectively.
Ntsabane said during the summit, Gender Links will issue certificates to all councils that have completed the six stages to become centers of excellence in gender main streaming.
She said, like last year, the Summit will feature awards on good practices in ending gender violence provide an opportunity to document and disseminate these good practices as well as give incentives to local authorities to innovate new and effective strategies for combating violence against women.
The Projects Manager for BALA, Ludo Matshameko, commended the stance that was adopted by Gender Links of involving Local Government Authorities in the fight against Gender Based Violence.
“It is important for the local councils to participate in gender issues as we live with the gender based violence issues in our communities,” Matshameko said, adding that “the local council is the first to be approached on the Gender Based Violence issues and, in most cases, they do not know how to handle the issues”.
Ntsabane called on all councils that have demonstrated exceptional leadership and commitment in this initiative to submit entries for special awards on or before 14th February 2011.
Eligibility to participate in the upcoming summit is confined to Local authorities associations, community-based organizations, ministries of gender, ministries of local government and some individuals.
She said people who want to participate have to submit a completed application form, photos in high resolution, and any other documentation that can strengthen the application like CDs, DVDs or testimonials. Applications can be submitted to the country Facilitators or Direct to Gender Links, Johannesburg office.