Say Yes to Women
How one organisation from Brazil and one from Cape Verde plan to raise awareness about women’s rights and access to justice to prevent domestic violence against women and girls
One of our main goals at the Womanity Foundation is to promote gender equality and women’s rights. Our program Womanity Award focuses on prevention of violence against women and girls (VAWG), which has gender inequality as it’s root cause.
We can see different manifestation of violence depending on culture, social contexts, faith, but the underlying issues are always related to gender inequality. According to UN Women, gender inequality drives violence in the family in three key ways: through social norms about men’s entitlement and dominance versus women’s expected submission and subservience; women’s economic insecurity in the family; and expectations that women should preserve family harmony.
The theme for this year’s Womanity Award is the prevention of domestic violence, which is a prevalent issue worldwide, affecting women of all social classes, level of education, races and ethnicities. According to the World Health Organisation, one in three women globally will suffer violence in their lifetime, it’s a global pandemic. When we hear about domestic violence many of us think about physical or sexual violence against women, but it’s much broader, it includes intimate partner violence, emotional and economic abuse and coercion, limiting access to items such as food. One of the selected pair of finalists of the Womanity Award this year is Themis Gender Justice and Human Rights, from Brazil, and Associação Cabo-Verdiana de Luta Contra a Violência Baseada no Género (ACLCVBG), from Cape Verde. They want to work together to raise awareness about women’s rights and access to justice to prevent domestic violence against women and girls. They are both experts in the field. Themis develops technologies for individuals to understand their rights, be more educated about the justice system and they mobilise communities to help prevent VAWG. ACLCVBG ensures that victims are provided with mental health services, legal support and living necessities.
The two organisations from the Global South are planning to collaborate to create change. They are partnering the combine their knowledge and experiences to adapt and implement Fla SIM pa Mudjer (Say Yes to Women, in English): Women Together Preventing Domestic Violence in Cabo Verde, a program for prevention of domestic violence to further assist the affected communities in two islands of archipelago: Santiago and Fogo. The importance of this collaboration is described by representatives from both organisations:
“South-South collaboration will enable new reflections from Afro-Latin American Feminism, providing new strategies to qualify the role of Popular Legal Promoters (PLPs) in preventing Gender-based Violence against Women and Girls, improving their work as agents of transformation of communities and justice system, in both countries.”Marcia Soares, Executive Director of Themis.
“With this collaboration, ACLCVBG hopes to gain experience and knowledge in legal matters to strength its own and the country’s capacities to face Gender-Based Violence in society, through the training of Popular Legal Promoters.”Maria Vicenta Cabral Fernandes, President of the Directive Council for ACLCVBG
THE LEGAL EMPOWERMENT PROGRAMME
The program Fla SIM pa Mudjer: Women Together Preventing Domestic Violence in Cabo Verde, will have two phases. Together these phases will provide the community with adequate knowledge of their rights and how to confront gender-based violence in their community:
PHASE 1: Women Leaders Legal Training focused on tackling and ending violence against women:
Female community leaders will be trained as Popular Legal Promoters (PLP) and educated on topics such as gender-based violence, women’s rights and how their respective legal system operates. In other words, members of the community will have a better understanding of the Judiciary and the State. By providing them with this training, they will not only have a better understanding of how to tackle this issue, however, they will also act as role models that are able to further educate their community.
PHASE 2: Community Care Model in each island involving: workshops, conversation circles for skills buildings; counselling and supporting women in situation of violence.
Community Care Model in each island that will involve the following components: workshops and conversation circles for skills buildings; counselling and supporting women in situation of violence, preventing worst situations of violence or femicide; promotion of broad community mobilization to prevent violence against women as workshops in the school community and in other relevant institutions, or campaigns for dissemination of key messages of non-tolerance of violence.
They believe that the program will empower women, increasing self-esteem and knowledge about rights, enabling them with skills and tools for access to justice, to become agents of change in their communities. And they expect to reduce incidence of domestic violence in Santiago and Fogo Island by addressing the deconstruction of gender-based inequities
To learn more about the Womanity Award, please visit our website: https://womanity.org/launch-of-the-womanity-award-4/
Themis Gender Justice and Human Rights is a feminist and anti-racist organisation based in Brazil that educates women on their rights. They develop technologies for individuals to understand their rights and be more educated about the justice system. This organisation was founded in 1993, at a time when there was less knowledge on this issue. They were indeed drivers in the movement towards mitigating Gender-based Violence (GBV), as they proposed the Maria da Penha law in Brazil. The law subjects domestic abusers to greater consequences and punishments for their actions. Themis were also a driving force during the pandemic, creating a humanitarian programme to help those affected with food, health kits, as well as access to internet and mental health services. Their main strategic areas are: Legal empowerment, Defence of Rights, and Justice and Technologies.
ACLCVBG is a non-profit non-governmental organisation based in Cape Verde (an archipelago of 10 islands in West Africa), that promotes gender equality and fights against GBV. They have been successful in promoting human rights and preventing discrimination and other forms of gender-based violence. Their support involves ensuring GBV victims are provided with access to financial and educational resources. They also ensure victims have quick access to emergency services, from legal assistance to medical support.