Home Institution

George Washington University

Publication Date

Spring 2012

Program Name

South Africa: Community Health and Social Policy

Abstract

This project is an exploration with the KwaZulu Natal Network on Violence against Women and its activities and relationship with grassroots-level organizers regarding the Prevention in Action movement in Wentworth to unite men and women in a movement to end gender violence and protect health and safety. Gender-based violence is a particularly tragic health and justice issue in South Africa. While most interventions attempt to raise awareness and empower women to stand up against gender violence, recently organizations have understood the need to engage men in the dialogue, mobilize them to take action, and foster true changes in social norms and behaviors. Though the Network is primarily a woman’s organization, it has embraced the challenge to engage with women and men by pursuing a campaign for community mobilization and by collaborating with Brothers for Life. I have observed training sessions and meetings, social mobilization activities, and the Network’s interaction with community organizers. My exploration of the Prevention in Action movement has allowed me to understand gaps and challenges in the Network’s interaction with community organizers, to delve into community perspectives relating to the movement and its ability to mobilize men and women and continue in the future, and to reflect upon my own perceptions of the movement through my observations and interviews. This work will greatly aid the Network and community organizers involved in seeing the assets of Prevention in Action, its challenges in Wentworth, a vision for the future, and a path to achieve this vision. If the KwaZulu Natal Network is pleased with this presentation, perhaps the staff and the community stakeholders of Wentworth can apply the lessons learned to their work to improve the quality of implementing and maintaining Prevention in Action and of future community-based gender violence interventions, particularly in their aims to engage both men and women.

Disciplines

Family, Life Course, and Society | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Inequality and Stratification | Social Work