EU-Funded Masibambisane – GBVF Free Zones Programme kicks off across nine provinces in South Africa

TO: All Media

ATT: News Editors, Human Rights Reporters

For immediate release

Monday, 9 May 2022

The Foundation for Human Rights (FHR) and Lawyers against Abuse (LvA) are pleased to announce the launch of the European Union funded Masibambisane – GBVF Free Zones Programme. The formal launch of the Programme will be held in partnership with the Free State Network on Violence Against Women in Bloemfontein, Free State on 11 May 2022.

The Masibambisane Programme is a multi-stakeholder and integrated community initiative, which is aimed at addressing the lack of accountability for gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF) at the local level in 18 selected communities across all nine provinces in South Africa, including the formation of local GBVF community structures or forums in each community. The Masibambisane Programme builds on the community-based multistakeholder models that take a zero-tolerance approach to addressing GBVF and that involve local state actors, civil society and community members in prevention and response activities.

Head of Cooperation of the European Union to South Africa, Dr. Bernard Rey, the Deputy Minister of Justice and Constitutional Development, Mr. John Jeffery, and the Deputy Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Ms. Thembi Nkadimeng will deliver messages of support during the launch to encourage people to value and uphold their rights as enshrined in the Constitution and promote active public participation in the implementation of the Constitution. The event will be also attended by other state officials, civil society representatives and members of the local community.

South Africa is a country of many contradictions when it comes to the empowerment of women and gender non-conforming people. Globally, it is ranked as the tenth best country in the world in terms of the number of women in parliament. Yet, there is not much to celebrate when one considers the high levels of gender-based violence and femicide, poverty and unemployment, which are gendered and racialized. Significant numbers of women, mainly Black African women, remain in low-productivity jobs, often in informal sector with very limited access to technology.  Women and gender non-conforming people continue to face multiple layers of exclusion and discrimination, which are further exacerbated by reduced economic opportunities and food shortages – issues that underpin GBVF.

Deconstructing the barriers to women and gender non-conforming peoples’ ability to respond to crises, and increasing their access to and control over resources, is critical in this challenging economic landscape, especially as we envision a world beyond COVID-19 pandemic.

The EU-funded Masibambisane GBVF Free Zones Programme will be implemented over three years by the FHR and LvA in partnership with 18 local community-based organisations operating in all nine provinces.

About the Foundation for Human Rights

The Foundation for Human Rights is a non-profit human rights organization that works to protect and promote human rights in South Africa. The FHR was established in 1996 to address the historical legacy of apartheid, and to promote and advance transformation and human rights based on the new constitution. The FHR implements four main human rights programs: the Constitutional Awareness and Education Programme, the Gender Based Violence and Femicide Programme, the Unfinished Business of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission Programme, and the Community-Advice Offices Programme.

About Lawyers against Abuse

Lawyers against Abuse is a non-profit organisation that works to strengthen the justice system’s response to gender-based violence by providing legal services and therapy to victims, engaging with state actors and empowering communities. LvA was established in 2011 to fill the gap that exists between the way GBV laws are written on paper and the way they are experienced by victims of violence. LvA operates community-based centres in Johannesburg in the communities of Diepsloot, Orange Farm and Hillbrow.

About Delegation of the European Union to South Africa

The EU Delegation to South Africa works to implement the overarching Trade, Development and Cooperation Agreement between the partners. The agreement covers political, trade and development interests and has several objectives:

  • Strengthening dialogue between the parties.
  • Supporting South Africa in its economic and social transition process.
  • Promoting regional cooperation and the country’s economic integration in southern Africa and in the world economy.
  • Expanding and liberalising trade in goods, services and capital between the parties.

Based on respect for democratic principles, human rights and the rule of law, the agreement establishes a regular political dialogue on subjects of common interest.

Media inquiries:

Lindiwe Sithole – 082 634 7154



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