Khanya Women's Centre

About the Programme: 

Since its inception in the 1980s Khanya College has been committed to women’s liberation. This occurred as part of the anti-Apartheid struggle and continued in the post Apartheid period with gender training for the Civil Associations of Johannesburg in 1992, the national gender programme with SACCAWU in the mid 1990s, and the focus on women’s position within the social movements and the effects of neoliberalism and casualisation on women in the 2000s. Khanya’s commitment to women’s emancipation informs the formation of the Women’s Centre– Setsi sa Mosadi.

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 Black women make up the majority of the unemployed in South Africa. Most of those who work access work in the informal sector, in low paid insecure jobs as domestics, caregivers and sex workers. In many cases families’ sole income is a state grant, and there is a daily struggle for food security. Violence and abuse against women and children is widespread, another indication of inequality and women’s location within society.

Khanya’s ‘Setsi sa Mosadi’ is a resource where women can find support for their individual needs through amongst others, cultural, educational, awareness raising, advice and counseling. This could simply be a tranquil place to read and to write, or a place to discuss problems and ideas with other women. The centre will also provide support for women’s collectives, for organisations and campaigns, to resist and in solidarity to realise that another world is possible.  

Objectives of the Women's Centre
 
Khanya’s aims with the Women’s Centre are:
* To build women’s leadership and activism within the social movements.
* To develop a self-conscious layer of women activists, and the building of women’s organisations.
* To empower and strengthen women to take up the issues they face by themselves.
* To enable women to tackle issues in their own environments i.e. in their organisations, movements and communities.
* To build networks with other organisations.
* To support & strengthen women’s organisations

Activities of the Women’s Centre

The activities of the Centre include:
  • Advice/basic counselling on a broad range of issues.
  • Education/awareness raising activities by making sure that information is available in the centre through resources.
  • Campaign & advocacy – Support the campaigns of women, foster women’s activism and build a women’s movement.
  • Training – Organise informal and formal training in support of women’s needs.
  • Build networks, alliances, partnerships with other organisations with the aim of enhancing our work and learning about best practices. Khanya College already works in close partnerships with innercity organisations such as Black Sash and the Center for Applied Legal Studies (CALS).
  • To strengthen research and writing, document women’s struggles, and encourage women to tell their own stories in a safe and inspiring way that will assist in facilitating social change.
 
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Setsi sa Mosadi – the centre of woman
The Setsi sa Mosadi Website launch was a huge success and reflected the warmth, the excitement and the solidarity that we have received for the women centre initiative from communities, social movements, ngos, donors, fraternal organisations and activists, both nationally and internationally. This confirms the need for the women’s centre, borne collectively, together with sister organisations as part of building a democratic women’s movement.

 

 

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Women's Advice Centre

Many individual women face a range of problems on a daily basis. These range from problems in the home, in the workplace, in the community, and in the society as a whole. The problems include abuse, discrimination, lack of rights, and physical, social and economic insecurity. The advice centre is a project of Setsi sa Mosadi women’s centre, and it hopes to help individual women face and deal with the daily problems that confront them in society. Advice, counselling, referreal to other specialist organisations that deal with problems facing women, litigation, campaigns and advocacy are some of the methods that will be used by the centre in its work.

The Women’s Advice Centre intends to address and deal with the following issues:
  • Domestic violence, including rape, sexual assault and harassment, physical, verbal and emotional abuse perpetrated against women.
  • Social grants & social security services - The centre intends to assist in addressing issues of access to the different government social grants and social services; and obstacles to receiving them. This includes assisting women with information about services, and their rights and responsibilities in terms of accessibility.
  • Administrative justice issues - This includes issues like where to apply for refugee status, ID documents etc.
  • Health & reproductive rights – Assisting women to access health care services and to make services, especially reproductive services, available in the centre e.g. free male and female condoms
  • Housing and Evictions – provide information about their rights to women being evicted from their homes.
  • Women & Children’s rights – provide accessible information.
  • Informationa about Labour rights within the workplace.
  • Family law – Women’s rights in accessing parental maintenance, inheritance and property rights.
While the advice centre will focus on individual support and counselling, this work will be linked to the broader work of building a women’s movement and therefore dealing with the structural sources of women’s position in society.
The Advice Centre will be open to the public from the 8th March 2011, and its opening times will be announced in time for the lauch.

For more information please contact:
Maria Vandriel
Phone: 011-336 9190 (ext 126)
E-mail: maria.vandriel_at_khanyacollege.org.za
 

 

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Gender Audit Project

While part of the College’s approach is to undertake gender training work with women activists and women in general, the key to its approach is to integrate gender issues in all its work. It is against this background that Khanya is setting up a gender audit project.

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The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Undertake an ongoing evaluation of the gender approach in Khanya’s overall work and programmes
  2. Develop strategies to deepen gender work across all programmes and work
  3. Undertake analysis of gender approaches in the work of the movements Khanya works with, and suggest strategies of how to deepen this aspect of Khanya’s perspectives

Activities

  • Produce an internal Khanya gender audit report on all aspects of the College’s work
  • Produce strategy papers on integrating gender in the overall work of the College
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Building Women’s Activism Project

The new social justice movement has seen a strong presence of women activists. Women members, however, make up a disproportionately small membership of the leadership structures of the new organisation. Nor do the social justice movements reflect this dominance of women in their internal cultures, ways of organising or the formulation of their demands. This project seeks to raise the profile of women activists in the new movements, and to provide support for the development of their leadership capacities.

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The objectives of the Project are to:

  1. Provide women activists with the space and tools to discuss and analyse key political-economic debates
  2. Enable women activists to develop a political and economic framework for understanding current debates around South Africa’s development
  3. Develop the confidence of women, in particular when confronted with debates around economic issues, and to encourage them to pursue ongoing study of political economy
  4. Assist women activists with some of the conceptual skills that are needed in social movement building
  5. Assist in developing a layer of women activists with the confidence to deal with gender oppression and inequalities within organisations.

Activities

  • A seminar series on topical issues dealing with gender issues in the social justice movement
  • Skills training workshops for women in the movements
  • Political and economic literacy training for women in the social movements
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