Gender-based violence is a persistent global challenge and one that costs South Africa between R28.4 billion and R42.4 billion per year – or between 0.9% and 1.3% of GDP (KPMG, 2014). Rates of GBV are believed to be extremely high in South African communities, with many civil society organisations reporting increasing levels of violence, particularly against young women. Significantly for South Africa, which has the largest HIV burden in the world, women who experience gender-based violence are at increased risk of HIV infection.
End it Now! Together in response to GBV and HIV is a national conference to promote linking, learning and action on the state response to gender based violence (GBV), the interaction between HIV and GBV and the impact of GBV on young people, taking place in Johannesburg from 24-26 October.
The conference will bring together civil society, activists and, most importantly, organisations implementing GBV prevention and response interventions to gain a deeper understanding of the local context, share good practices and raise the voices of those most affected. Organised by the Networking HIV & AIDS Community of Southern Africa (NACOSA) and the AIDS Foundation of South Africa (AFSA) and funded by The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, End it Now! is a collaborative, local civil society-led initiative to help bring an end to the scourge of GBV in our communities.
“We hope this conference will help to build the momentum towards a more urgent national response to gender-based violence,” says NACOSA’s Programme Director, Marieta de Vos. “Although there are many organisations and public sector services working hard to respond to GBV in communities, it is not enough. We need to do more. We need to find out what works in preventing GBV and HIV; and work towards efficient and fully funded responses to support victims.”
“We need to eliminate GBV and promote healthy respectful relationships, especially among young people, if we are serious about human and economic development,” says AFSA’s Operations Manager, Phumelele Ngcobo. “There are examples of effective ways of preventing and combating GBV. This conference is an opportunity for civil society to share and build on experiences of what works.”
The learning, research abstracts, discussions and conference resolution will be available on the conference website www.enditnow.co.za. Follow the hashtag #EndItNow on Twitter for live updates.