Dialogue for gender equality and respect

As part of the global SCOUTS for SDGs initiative, we hosted a Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Vikela Bulili School Dialogue at the Phumalanga Primary School and the Enzani Primary School yesterday. Many of the learners are also actively involved in Scouting in the Region.

The GBV Vikela Bulili School Dialogue aims to raise awareness about GBV, promote gender equality, and provide information on preventing and addressing instances of violence”, explains Regional Commissioner Manqoba Dlamini. “The dialogue sessions were designed to encourage open discussions between learners, teachers, and school administrators on these important topics and how to prevent, report and deal with this pandemic of violence against women in our country. ”

Even though both discussions followed a similar methodology, it was interesting to note the different emphasis that came out of the two schools.

The dialogue at Phumalanga Primary School started with an introduction of Gender Based Violence where its was explained clearly, especially its impact on individuals and communities. The pupils, teachers and schools administrators engaged actively about the root causes of violence against women and children, including societal norms, power dynamics, and stereotypes.  After the discussions, to ensure that the learners and teachers understood the realities of GBV, role-playing exercises were done in which they explored different scenarios related to GBV. “It was not easy to hear the personal stories and experiences that were shared by learners and teachers” continues Manqoba. “By creating a safe space for open dialogue and reflection, we were able to create a deeper understanding of the impact of GBV and were also able to refer participants to support services that can assist them in dealing with GBV.  . Information and resources were shared with the victims and a commitment was made by all present to work together to create a safe and inclusive school environment free from violence.”

At Enzani Primary School the dialogue with the learners, teachers and school administrators followed a similar format, with discussions focusing on GBV awareness and prevention. The learners actively engaged in conversations about gender equality, respect, and consent. Strategies for identifying and addressing GBV were discussed and here the focus evolved around the importance of speaking up and seeking help. ” It was encouraging to see the young participants and teachers actively collaborating in the creation of posters and messages to raise awareness about GBV within the school community. A pledge was made by all participants to stand against GBV and promote a culture of respect and equality.”

“I am grateful for the support we received from the World Scout Foundation through its longstanding partnership with Alwaleed Philanthropies. It is so important for us to be able to host and create open platforms for discussion, The dialogues held at Phumalanga Primary School and Enzani Primary School were successful in raising awareness, fostering communication, and promoting positive attitudes towards gender equality and violence prevention.  As a Scout Region, the Mpumalanga Scouts remain committed to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by supporting schools and communities in addressing GBV and creating a more inclusive and equitable society”, concludes Manqoba.