Maverick Citizen

COMMUNITY FUNDING

Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund to disburse R69m to 110 organisations

Judy Dlamini, the chairperson of the fund’s board, said the fund would prioritise organisations in areas often neglected. (Photo: Gallo Images / Sunday Times / Simphiwe Nkwali)

Businesswoman Judy Dlamini, who is on the board of the Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund, spoke to Daily Maverick about the challenges the fund faced and what the fund considered when it came to funding organisations.

Ten months after the private sector-led Gender-Based Violence and Femicide Response Fund was launched, R69-million is being disbursed to 110 community-based organisations.  

These 110 organisations were selected after the fund had issued a request for proposals (RFP), which closed in August.  

Funding was primarily for organisations with programmes that focused on Pillar 2 and Pillar 3 of the National Strategic Plan (NSP) on Gender-Based Violence and Femicide.  

Pillar 2 is about prevention and rebuilding social cohesion and Pillar 3 is about protection, safety and justice. 

Judy Dlamini, the chairperson of the fund’s board, said the fund would prioritise organisations in areas often neglected.  

When you’re in urban areas, it’s so much easier to access anything, but when you’re in urban informal settlements it changes. I can throw a stone from Sandton to Alex but those are two different communities and access is different. 

“When you talk about anything, you’ll talk about Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Western Cape and everyone else, therefore it was important that when we look at these community-based organisations, we consider where they are. Is your province highly populated? Is your province highly affected by gender-based violence?” said Dlamini. 

According to the fund’s statement, 60% of the funds were allocated to community-based organisations in rural and informal areas.  

In assessing which areas to focus on when it comes to funding, Dlamini said that the fund took gender-based violence (GBV) hotspots into consideration. 

The last time GBV hotspots were announced by Police Minister Bheki Cele was in 2020. These hotspots were identified by the South African Police Service based on reported cases in 2019/20. 

The top 10 GBV hotspots were:

  • Delft in the Western Cape
  • Mamelodi East in Gauteng
  • Tembisa in Gauteng
  • Umlazi in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Empangeni in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Nyanga in the Western Cape
  • Inanda in KwaZulu-Natal
  • Temba in Gauteng
  • Khayelitsha in the Western Cape
  • Kwazakhele in the Eastern Cape

 “But we went beyond [looking at the GBV hotspots] because in the months that we’ve been around we’ve consulted a lot of people on the ground and a lot of researchers and we asked, ‘Is this data accurate?’ And we’ve discovered that it’s not, because it depends on who is reporting, amongst many other things,” said Dlamini. 

Underreporting about gender-based violence is a huge problem. When the crime statistics were released in September, the Commission for Gender Equality said that the numbers were not a true reflection of the sexual violence that is being committed. This, they said, was because many victims were afraid to report their assailants. 

When it comes to the challenges a fund like this faces, Dlamini said that “There are so many needs right now. For example, when it comes to Covid-19, people poured billions into the Covid-19 Solidarity Fund because… guess what? It’s affecting everyone, it’s a global challenge. 

“Then we had the unrest in July and everyone said, we have to sustain this economy, so let’s pour money into that. As the GBVF Fund, we’re competing with other challenges that donors think are bigger than GBVF.”  

Non-government organisations (NGOs) that have been “around for a long time” have also felt the crunch of shrinking funding, said Dlamini. 

“If NGOs used to get R10, now they get R5; some are not even getting anything. With these Covid-19 waves, lockdowns and loss of jobs, there is even more gender-based violence.

“With the president roping in the private sector, it has actually become everyone’s problem. The private sector has been called and told, ‘This is your country too, so when it burns for women, it burns for everyone and what role are you going to play?’ ”said Dlamini. 

According to the fund’s website, about R150-million has been pledged to the fund, with 75% of it having been collected.  

In a statement, the fund said that: “Initiatives implemented by the selected grant partners will impact women, children and the LGBTQIA+ community, as well as other vulnerable groups. 

“Based on targets that the successful community-based organisations have indicated in relation to their implementation plans, as many as 6.1 million women, 383,000 children, 76,700 people living with disabilities, and 51,000 youth will benefit from the coordinated programmes and strategies.” 

“The process [of funding organisations] has been so thorough that I can sleep at night and say, ‘We did our best.’ There are always going to be mistakes, but we are doing our best,” said Dlamini. DM

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