POWA was the first organisation to establish a shelter for abused women, in 1981. The organisation also pioneered second-stage (or transitional) housing for women in 2009 in Gauteng. The direct services delivery component of the organisation forms the basis of and informs all advocacy interventions – at local, national and regional level.
POWA currently has seven physical working sites in Gauteng that provide counselling, sheltering and legal support to women at face-to-face level. We also have a national reach and presence through our telephonic counselling, advocacy, public awareness and sector-strengthening work. Over the years we have become an organisation that is considered to be an expert on issues of women’s rights and are consulted by the private sector, government and civil society on educational and decision-making matters pertaining to women’s safety and enjoyment of their rights.
As an organisation, our aim is to ‘open spaces for us as women and girls in all our diversity to enjoy our fundamental human rights’. In order to achieve this, we have structured our organisation in a manner that allows us to engage with women’s groups and organisations in various provinces as well as engage and influence national institutional structures such as the legislature, regional forums such as the African Commission on People and Human Rights (ACPHR) and international forums such as the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). POWA is also a member of the Solidarity for African Women’s Rights (SOAWR), a coalition consisting of 27 civil society organisations and development partners based in Africa. The work of the coalition is to ensue domestication and implementation of the African women’s rights instruments as well as the African Charter for the realisation of women’s human rights.
This annual report therefore brings codifies the work that done by the Organisation from April 2016 to March 2017 with an intention of achieving the vision of a safe and equal society intolerant of all forms of violence against women and girls. Where women and girls rights are promoted and respected. It is on this note that this report entails amongst others, the Chairperson of the Board’s report, the Executive Directors report and the programmes report from various departments offering services to survivors of violence against women that include providing shelters.