Harnessing the faith sector to be more active role players in the prevention and response to GBVF”

1. Introduction and Rationale

South Africa continues to witness high rates of intimate partner violence and killings of women and children, despite the daily messages condemning GBVF. Much more work needs to be done to curb the epidemic of GBVF.

As part of the effort to strengthen the implementation of the National Strategic Plan on Gender-based Violence and Femicide (NSP-GBVF), the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) in partnership with the German Development Cooperation (GIZ), Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (VCP), We Will Speak Out South Africa and Faith Acton to End GBV will host a webinar series to engage on the role of the faith sector in curbing against GBVF.

The NSP-GBVF highlights the faith sector as a key stakeholder, stating that programmes “specifically targeting religious leaders” should be rolled out to “harness their capacity as agents of social norm change.”

Furthermore, The Comprehensive National Prevention Strategy (implementation framework of NSP-Pillar 2: Prevention and Social Cohesion), recognises the importance of the faith sector in that it: “provides a roadmap to address the drivers of GBV which include social norms and discrimination rooted in patriarchy, culture and religion, and socio-economic inequalities.”

2. Rationale

Why the faith sector?

·       National Census statistics show that over 80% of South Africa’s population self- identify as religious, the majority of whom are Christian.

·       Given the weekly captive audience enjoyed by faith communities, religious institutions continue to exert a great deal of influence over people’s attitudes and behaviours.

·       Religious institutions have many assets, such as their widespread social support networks, ubiquitous infrastructure, and religious leaders continue to enjoy widespread public trust and respect.

·       Perhaps the most important is the moral obligation the faith sector has to transform and to become part of the solution.

The faith sector is founded on the principles of love, care and justice and thus it is situated to play a much-needed role of preventing GBVF and bringing about healing.

Achieving an end to GBVF requires the involvement of community structures including the faith sector. The power of the faith sector has been demonstrated historically through their contribution to the Anti-apartheid movement and the development of the Kairos document in 1985. As such, the faith sector remains an important stakeholder in building momentum to address and confront social ills. In the words of President Cyril Ramaphosa: “Violence against women has become more than a national crisis”.

3. Structure and Themes:

To fully understand both prevention and response to GBVF, a three-part series of webinars, each focusing on different aspects of the role of the faith sector, is proposed.

Three-part series themes:

1.     Mobilize the faith sector to unpack their role in addressing against GBVF with a focus on the resolutions from Presidential Summit)

2.     Focus on prevention response in faith care work with regards to GBVF

3.     Promote accountability and reform in internal processes that sanction perpetrators and promote gender equality within faith institutions.

Through Webinar 1, the hosts aim to:

·       Discuss the potential and power of the faith sector in preventing and responding to GBVF based on emerging resolutions from the 2nd Presidential Summit;

·       Create a platform for exchange on the implications of the Summit Resolutions in light of existing good practices as well as challenges within the faith sector; and

·       Brainstorm possible ways forward to harnessing the best of what is being done and addressing current challenges.

3. Participants

·       Faith sector

·       Members of the media

·       Civil Society

·       Government


4. Programme: Webinar 1





Welcoming of guests:

Introduction of the topic

Programme Director: Ms Luxolo Matimela, Technical Advisor, Inclusive Violence and Crime Prevention Programme (VCP)-, GIZ (South Africa)

5 minutes

Opening Prayer


5 minutes


Potential and Power of the faith sector in preventing and responding to GBVF.

Nontando Hadebe, Dr Nontando, Hadebe, International Coordinator, Side by Side and the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians


15 minutes


Report Back on Summit Process and Resolutions

Ms Nomgqibelo Mdlalose, Technical Adviser: NSP Implementation; National Department of Women, Youth and People with Disabilities

15 minutes

PANEL: Reflecting (implications and alignment) on Summit Resolutions (panel discussion)

·  Ms Saydoon Nisa Sayed, Global Network on Religion and Children

·  Rev Moss Ntlha, The Evangelical Alliance of South Africa (TEASA)

·  Rev Lauren Matthews, Minister, Methodist Church of Southern Africa (MCSA – representing Presiding Bishop Purity Malinga)

·  Ms Hailey Fudu, Secretary, Religions for Peace (RfP); Coordinator African Women of Faith Network (AWFN)

25 minutes


All participants

30 minutes

LISTENER REPORTBACK: Summary of emerging themes and Next Steps

·       Archbishop Lucas Morena, Archbishop Liberating Lutheran Church of Southern Africa; Board member, We Will Speak Out South Africa; Coordination Team member Faith Action to End GBV Collective.

15 minutes

Closing Prayer


5 minutes