We mark the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women or commonly referred to, as 16 days of Activism in South Africa, in the midst of a global pandemic, which is likely to leave deep marks in the lives and futures of our adolescent girls and young women.

In South Africa, like elsewhere, the lockdown, disruptions and uncertainties associated with the pandemic have placed adolescent girls at increased risk of sexual violence, female genital mutilation, child marriage, unintended pregnancies, and disproportionate care work.

This is why UNFPA, UNICEF and Global Affairs Canada have joined forces in 2019 in the establishment of a Joint Programme “empowering women and girls to realize their sexual reproductive health and rights in South Africa” which is grounded on the understanding that the provision of services, by itself, is not enough: we must also work to decrease discriminatory and harmful practices and attitudes that perpetuate and validate SGBV against women and girls, and strengthen data collection and analysis efforts across sectors.

Ms Beatrice Mutali, the Country Representative for the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) in South Africa will tomorrow lead a high powered delegation to handover Covid 19 Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to the Eastern Cape House of Traditional Leaders. UNFPA is the United Nations sexual and reproductive health agency.

“The donation is from the Global Affairs Canada and is as a result of a request by the House for sponsorship for Covid 19 equipment and sanitary dignity towels for young girls in rural communities. We expect traditional leaders to ensure that the towels are distributed amongst the needy young girls both at local schools and those within the communities who are out of school,” said Ms Mutali.

Cogta MEC Xolile Nqatha said the donation will serve as a catalyst towards a long term partnership between the UNFPA and the department towards improving the lives of the poor in rural communities.

 The MEC said the consignment is destined for the two hundred and thirty-nine (239) Traditional Councils in the Eastern Cape Province to benefit communities as a safety measure for the initiation monitoring teams.

“This partnership will also go a long way to curb the effects of Covid 19, GBV and restore the dignity of vulnerable young girls and boys in rural communities,” said MEC Nqatha.

The details of the handing over are as follows:

Date: 26 November 2020

Venue: Bhisho, Provincial House of Traditional Leaders

Time: 10h00

Members of the media are invited to kindly confirm attendance to Mr Vuyani Sibene on 073 576 3381 or an e-mail to Vuyani.sibene@eccogta.gov.za

Issued by the Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Enquires: Mr Mamnkeli Ngam on 071 685 7981 or Mr Makhaya Komisa on 073 509 45161.

For details of the donation, please contact Ms Ziyanda Ngoma, UNFPA Strategic Communications Specialist on 072 299 0868 or email ngoma@unfpa.org