Vodacom launches anti-GBV cam­paign

Lesotho Times - - Business - Retha­bile Pitso

THE pri­vate sec­tor should part­ner gov­ern­ment in the fight against gen­der-based vi­o­lence (GBV) by in­vest­ing in ini­tia­tives which en­sure the prac­tice is con­signed to his­tory, ac­cord­ing to Vodacom Se­nior Spe­cial­ist: Cor­po­rate So­cial In­vest­ments & Cor­po­rate Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Mpho Brown.

Mr Brown made the re­marks at Tues­day’s launch of SOME of the par­tic­i­pants in the Vodacom Foun­da­tion’s cam­paign against GBV en­gage in walk in Maseru on Tues­day, in con­junc­tion with the United States Em­bassy, Euro­pean Union, United Na­tions as well as other cor­po­rate and civil so­ci­ety en­ti­ties.

Held un­der the theme, “Unite for the Elim­i­na­tion of Vi­o­lence against Women”, the cam­paign’s par­tic­i­pants en­gaged in a walk around Maseru while wear­ing orange caps and shirts.

“The gov­ern­ment is work­ing strate­gi­cally to end gen­der-based vi­o­lence but, at the end of the day, the pri­vate sec­tor needs to know they can­not achieve this goal alone,” Mr Brown said.

“That is why Vodacom has ex­tended its out­reach to cor­po­ra­tions.”

Mr Brown said the foun­da­tion strives for the pro­por­tion­ate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of women and men not only at the telecom­mu­ni­ca­tions gi­ant, but also in com­mu­ni­ties.

“In ad­di­tion to the foun­da­tion’s man­date to work to­wards build­ing pro­por­tion­ate women to men rep­re­sen­ta­tion in the work­place, our team is pas­sion­ate about work­ing to­wards im­part­ing the same vi­sion that would al­low for fi­nan­cial in­clu­sion for women,” he said.

Since its launch in 2010, the Vodacom Foun­da­tion has sup­ported pro­grammes that tack­led chal­lenges around peace and na­tion build­ing, poverty and food in­se­cu­rity, ed­u­ca­tion, un­em­ploy­ment, eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment, gen­der equal­ity and HIV and Aids.

At the same event, the Di­rec­tor of Gen­der in the Min­istry of Gen­der, Youth, Sports and Recre­ation, Matau Futho Let­satsi, said their ini­tia­tive to sen­si­tise com­mu­ni­ties about GBV has con­tin­ued to un­earth en­trenched cul­tural view­points sanc­tion­ing GBV.

As part of com­mem­o­ra­tions mark­ing 16 Days of Ac­tivism Against Gen­der Vi­o­lence, Ms Futho Let­satsi re­vealed the min­istry has since de­ployed a bus des­tined for Thaba Tseka, Mokhot­long and Qacha dis­tricts whose oc­cu­pants will be ed­u­cated on the ad­verse ef­fects of GBV and also en­cour­aged to share their own ex­pe­ri­ences.

The 16 Days of Ac­tivism Against Gen­der­Based Vi­o­lence is an in­ter­na­tional cam­paign orig­i­nat­ing from the first Women’s Global Lead­er­ship In­sti­tute co­or­di­nated by the Cen­tre for Women’s Global Lead­er­ship in 1991.

The 16 Days Cam­paign has been used as an or­gan­is­ing strat­egy by in­di­vid­u­als and groups around the world to call for the elim­i­na­tion of all forms of vi­o­lence against women and raises aware­ness about gen­der­based vi­o­lence as a hu­man rights is­sue.

Ms Futho Let­satsi ap­pealed to stake­hold­ers in the ed­u­ca­tional and po­lit­i­cal spheres as well as gov­ern­ment min­istries to take a lead­er­ship in the fight against GBV re­gard­less of the chal­lenges en­coun­tered.

“We ap­peal to teach­ers to take a lead­er­ship role in cases where or­phans are raped by fel­low teach­ers, to women and youth in po­lit­i­cal par­ties to stand up against vi­o­lence in po­lit­i­cal move­ments, for min­istries to re­frain from ac­tions that re­sult in the low­er­ing of the stan­dards of pro­duc­tion and leave us poor, as well as the church lead­ers to act against GBV,” she said.

Na­tional Co­or­di­na­tor for Women and Law South­ern Africa (WLSA), Libak­iso Matlho, who com­mended Vodacom Le­sotho for be­ing the “first cor­po­rate company to part­ner with NGOs to ad­dress GBV” said com­mu­ni­ca­tion was es­sen­tial when re­ha­bil­i­tat­ing vic­tims.

“Since the le­gal process it­self takes a while, in ad­di­tion to the re­luc­tance of vic­tims to eas­ily talk about their sit­u­a­tion at times, the onus to en­sure that ev­ery step of the process is ful­filled rests upon us,” said Ad­vo­cate Matlho.

“WLSA has the oner­ous task of en­sur­ing the ini­tial process of re­port­ing to the po­lice to fi­nally ex­plain­ing ev­ery le­gal as­pect of court pro­ce­dures is com­mu­ni­cated with the vic­tim.”

SOME of the par­tic­i­pants in the Vodacom Foun­da­tion’s cam­paign against GBV demon­strate in Maseru on Tues­day.

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