In order to be pro-active in the women’s rights discourse, POWA has initiatives that provide sector capacity building and strengthening, law reform, research, campaigning, knowledge creation and dissemination, rights education and regional and international strategic engagement. These activities work towards keeping the issue of women’s rights with specific focus on violence against women on the national agenda.
- SECTOR CAPACITY BUILDING AND STRENGTHENING
As an organisation that has been in existence for 29 years, we recognise the need to increase the knowledge and capacity of women’s groups in rural and peri-urban areas where traditionally, access to services such as the Criminal Justice System and clinics are a major challenge.
Due to requests for POWA to open offices in their communities by women’s informal groups, we resolved to empower women within their own communities through the concept of ownership. As an organisation, we therefore provide training, education and mentorship for women’s groups to understand the women’s rights discourse as well as formalise and develop services that respond directly to their particular needs in regards to violence against women.
We currently provide this service to 6 women’s groups in 5 provinces (Limpopo, Mpumalanga, Northern Cape, Northwest and Gauteng)
- LAW REFORM
A critical part of engaging in improving the rights of women is influencing national, regional and international policy. As an organisation, we have therefore developed a department that actively writes and makes submissions to parliament on issues that relate directly to our core issues. In addition, we provide expert support to government institutions regarding creating gender sensitive spaces for all women.
From the grassroots perspective, we actively engage in rights education to women’s groups and organisations thus mobilising women’s voices to create the appropriate attention to women’s issues and cause the desired effect of reforms for better laws for the protection of women.
- RIGHT’S EDUCATION
Part of the responsibilities of all branch offices is to engage with their surrounding communities in rights education. This process is done through community meetings , community conversations and formal workshops on understanding Human rights with specific focus on women’s right and access to justice.
- REGIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL STRATEGIC ADVOCACY
POWA recognises that South Africa has a comprehensive constitution, a good legal framework and numerous agreements and policies that are set out to protect women’s rights. These agreements are not only national, but regional (SADC), continental and international.
Part of the failings regarding the protection and access of women’s rights is the limited knowledge of the document framework, capacity and skills to implement and domesticate the substance of the agreements set out by the state.
POWA conducts preparatory workshops and information sessions to enable organisations to learn and choose to engage in the regional strategy. We also work towards creating report back or feedback sessions on activities of such meetings and thirdly, we work towards creating round table discussions for strategies of calling for state accountability on emerging issues.
- SHELTERING AND COUNSELLING
As an organization, we provide individual face-to-face counselling, group counselling and telephonic counselling to women whom have experienced violence. In addition, we provide child play therapy for children who reside in our shelters of safety with their mothers.
Women can access our counselling through our branch offices. We currently have 6 satellite offices and 2 confidential shelters. Our offices are strategically located in areas for women from economically disadvantaged communities and women from the Johannesburg inner city for easy to access services.
As we provide free services to all women in South Africa, we ensure that access is not an additional challenge to the already overwhelming challenges for women to access their rights. This approach assists with the reduction of women’s vulnerability due to economic/financial dependencies that play a huge role in violence against women. Our activities address issues of safety and security that are fundamental to rights for all in South Africa.
- SOUTH AFRICAN NATIONAL AIDS COUNCIL (SANAC)
WHEREAS, SANACWS represents a body of member organisations that addresses the feminised pandemic of HIV & AIDS, TB & STIs through a women’s rights and women centred advocacy and interventions informed by the National Strategic Plan (NSP).
WHEREAS, the parties share a common understanding of commitment to the goals and priorities set out in the National Strategic Plan (NSP) and SANACWOMEN’S SECTOR. WHEREAS, NACOSA is committed to support its members and partner organisations to support women in the geographic areas where their programmes are implemented.
Powa is a Provincial Secretariat of Gauteng AIDS council – Woman’s Sector. For more info click here
Our main focus is:
- TB and