Since the beginning of the 100-Day Challenges in April, the number of reported cases increased and peaked at 37%. Although the team did not reach the set goal of increasing the reporting rate by 80%, the number of rape cases withdrawn, especially those which involve minors, juvenile minors and minor victims, decreased every month, with a reduction in withdrawn cases of over 70%
Mobile office – a one-stop service in communities | Temporary shelters for victims/survivors | Awareness campaigns | Provision of counselling support | Stakeholder mobilisation | Outreach to victims/survivors
A sense of belonging and trust | Taking integrated services to the community | Doing builds Confidence | A tangible outcome as a goal | Community outreach and media | Civil Society participation requires activity funding | Keep team members involved | Collaboration enables “out-of-the-box” thinking | Quick start | Involve more stakeholders at the beginning
FOCUS AND GOAL
Rape is one of the biggest problems in South Africa, and it is estimated that a third of girls in the country will experience some form of sexual violence during their lifetime, often in the hands of someone they know. SAPS noted that most sexual offence victims are underage girls who often fall pregnant. These young girls are robbed of their childhood as they have to assume the role of a mother at such a young age. This also minimises their chances of having a good future, as they have to factor their children into their lives. Influencing attitudes and behaviours at an early age is key to preventing the spread of this epidemic.
Awareness building is critical at schools and in the community at large. There’s a need to inspire and empower parents and community members to become ambassadors for zero tolerance of sexual offences against minors. Enlisting traditional leaders and social media influencers will be equally important to building awareness and inviting young people to change their attitudes and behaviours regarding enabling sexual predators.
Three key interventions of the GBVF National Strategic Plan – Pillar 3. The national pillar team selected one area for the district to choose an Impact Challenge.
The team was concerned about the under-reporting of sexual offences against minors in rural and urban areas. The strategy was to encourage victims to break the silence and report cases rather than seeking to resolve them within the family or through traditional structures, which tend toward seeking resolution in favour of the perpetrators.
To Increase the number of reported cases in both rural (Lenyenye and Nkowankowa) and urban (Tzaneen) areas by 80%.
Since the beginning of the 100-Day Challenges in April, the number of reported cases increased and peaked at 37%. Although the team did not reach the set goal of increasing the reporting rate by 80%, the number of rape cases withdrawn, especially those which involve minors, juvenile minors and minor victims, decreased every month, with a reduction in withdrawn cases at over 70% for the 100-days.
Going forward: The team decided to extend their goals to reach all victims of crime and to continue with the outreach campaigns. The NGO social workers have also volunteered to provide counselling to victims after a crime has been reported and up until the case has been finalised.
Experiments, Innovations and Actions
Mobile office - a one-stop service in communities
The team had a plan to identify a place where all stakeholders (police, Social Workers, Prosecutors, Pastors and Traditional Leaders) would provide information every Wednesday. Communities will be provided with information and assistance. Continuing with this strategy proved to be difficult due to poor transport infrastructure in the area. The team then decided to use the mobile office model, where all the different stakeholders visited different communities at different intervals to provide information and services to the communities.
Temporary shelters for victims/survivors
The team acknowledged that some victims/survivors might need temporary shelter after reporting a case. They approached churches to make their facilities available as temporary shelters until the Social Workers were involved.
Three houses were offered by good Samaritans to be used as shelters for the victims, 1 house in Sasekani and two houses in Nkowankowa.
The team ran 40 targeted campaigns focusing on children (schools) and the community (villages), including traditional leaders. Through these campaigns, communities were educated on sexual offences and were encouraged to break the silence and start reporting cases to the relevant authorities.
Identified survivors and victims were referred to the Social Workers for counselling support.
Three Social Workers in the team offered debriefing services to the team.
The team was intentional in identifying and involving more stakeholders to maximise impact and increase reach. These stakeholders also donated shoes, sanitary pads and food parcels at Mapula Primary School.
The team visited the Tzaneen Health Centre to encourage victims/survivors to report cases rather than trying only to resolve them within the family.
Insights gained and lessons learned
A sense of belonging and trust
In the beginning, there wasn’t a sense of belonging and information was not flowing as well as it should have. Weekly meetings created space for more engagements which resulted in team members sharing their experiences and engaging more openly on the best possible ways to improve the odds of achieving the set goal. Team members began to rely on each other and were willing to assist each other.
Taking integrated services to the community
When the team could not establish the One-stop-service centre, they decided to use the mobile office model, where all the different stakeholders (Prosecutor, SAPS, and Social Workers) visited different communities at different intervals to provide information and services to the communities. The team were able to adjust their plans quickly by coming up with an alternative solution.
Working in a coordinated manner as one team made team members appreciate each other’s role even better. They actually saw how their joint presence improved the lived experiences of the community members who received the services. When they served the community in this way, it brought a sense of accomplishment and meaning in the work that they do.
- Use mobile “offices” to serve remote rural areas, involving all the relevant service providers.
- Matters which are usually handled by the heads of the families involved should be referred to the police immediately.
Doing builds Confidence
As members engaged regularly, they began to grow in confidence. They communicated their viewpoints with confidence, without any fear of being judged. This is a complete departure from the initial workshops, where only a few members spoke.
A tangible outcome as a goal
To deliver a tangible outcome is not easy, and projects often shy away from putting impact outcomes as deliverables as the goal.
Most stakeholders found it difficult to set a clear goal with measurable impact and target. Creating a safe environment for engagements and using simple illustrations the Ambassador managed to lead engagements to a clearly defined goal, and because they defined the goal, it was owned by the team. The goal proved to be a key energiser for the team’s activities
Projects should have tangible goals to prevent the team from doing activities that may not contribute to real impact.
Community outreach and media
The team was encouraged by the good reception of information by the communities. Communities need the information to make the right decisions and act accordingly.
Information sharing and awareness creation through awareness campaigns, media interviews and targeted outreaches, communities were sensitised about the importance of reporting these cases and ensuring that victims/survivors access the necessary support. As a result of the campaigns and outreaches, the team began to see less withdrawals of rape cases.
- Community awareness campaigns should share the right information to support the justice system.
- Use more radio and television to share information.
- Team members can run different campaigns simultaneously to reach more people.
Civil Society participation requires activity funding
Civil Society organisations have been very active in the process. Their involvement was, however, constrained by a lack of resources, more especially funds for transport to participate in the campaigns and outreach programmes.
Allocate resources for projects where civil society organisations are involved.
Keep team members involved
To increase the odds of achieving the set goal, members need to be fully committed and focused on the work at hand. It is easy for members to lose momentum and focus when roles are not clearly defined and allocated.
All team members should take responsibility for activities on the work plan.
Collaboration enables “out-of-the-box” thinking
The collaborative space enabled team members to rely on each other for ideas and to look further than what they know and what affects them. As the team was strategising on difficult issues, the different perspectives from stakeholders expanded the viewpoints and ushered in new ideas, which resulted in more innovations and creativity coming through.
100-Day Challenges do not allocate too much time for planning, members have to get on their feet as soon as possible. This helps to avoid overplanning whilst at the same time forcing people to focus. Iterative cycles of the plan, do, plan, do help the team to adjust the plans based on the impact of activities on the goal.
Use iterative cycles of the plan and do to get going with activities quickly.
Involve more stakeholders at the beginning
The team realised along the journey that they needed more stakeholders such as the LGBTQIA+ community, men’s groups, and children’s organisations to work with them to have more reach and impact. These organisations came at the tail end of the journey, limiting their ability to reach out to victims and survivors.
In selecting a 100-Day team, involve stakeholder groups such as the LGBTQIA+ community, men’s groups, and children’s organisations.
Survivors and victims directly impacted
in 100 days
To what extent would you recommend the 100-Day Challenge experience?
To what extent did the 3 behaviours emerge during the 100-Day Challenge, compared to before?
"The experience was exhilarating, innovative and inspiring to all to give back to the community in any manner possible"
01 April - 09 July
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step yes we might agree to disagree but we put in the effort and saw good progress"
People not part of the 100-day team but without whom the results would not be possible:
Octavia Khoza, 100-Day Challenge Ambassador