Stories from the Field

Making all Voices Count: Taking Community-based Monitoring Forward

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MAVCWShop Aug 2014Building on our succesful Community Monitoring and Advocacy (CMAP) and our Reproductive Maternal and Child Health (RMCH) projects, the Black Sash has launched the Making All Voices Count (MAVC) pilot project. Our project, managed by Hivos, is part of a global initiative which aims to empower Community Based Organisations (CBOs) to take ownership of and participate actively in citizen-based monitoring of three government services in 20 service sites across South Africa.

'Hands off our Grants' presentation at KZN Women's Imbizo

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KZN Womens Imbizo 2014 1bEvashnee Naidu, KZN Regional Manager, participated at the Chatsworth and District Partnership against Aids/Women of Destiny S.A. 2014 Women's Imbizo on 27 August. A huge turnout of around 500 women marked this auspicious occasion. Participants included correctional services employees from Umzinto and Westville.

A panel of presenters consisted of a range of experts whom the organizers considered Women of Excellence in their respective fields. Black Sash addressed the challenges faced by women in their households due to the Unlawful and Illegal Deductions of Grants. Despite how rife this issue has been all over the country for over 18 months, beneficiaries were still shocked to hear that this was happening. Many were under the impression that they were immune to the deductions due to the SASSA re-Registration process, not realizing that this was the loophole which had created the opportunity for the unlawful deductions to take place.

Black Sash Participates in Bruntville Health Dialogue on Mandela Day

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KZN Mandela Day

Our KZN Regional Office was approached by the Mpofana Municipality to participate in a Stakeholder Dialogue on Mandela Day (18 July) in Bruntville as part of our work with our RMCH project (Reducing Maternal and Child Mortality).  The forum was conducted in one of their most rural areas where the highest number of deaths with mothers and babies/children are recorded. The map by Statistics SA, pictured, shows that Ward 4 of Mpofana is severely affected by poverty.

The community could attend a mobile clinic, and Black Sash, PMB Stats SA and Siyanqoba made presentations and answered questions. The latter handed out T-shirts, shopping bags, caps and umbrellas to participants who answered questions correctly, based on the presentations.

Rights Education with Farm Workers in Ceres

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Ceres Rights Ed wrkshop June 2014 1

Black Sash Cape Town Regional Office was invited by the Witzenberg Community Advice Centre to conduct a rights education workshop with farm workers and community members in Ceres on June 21 2014.

Ratula Beukman and Abigail Peters spoke about the Maintenance Amendment and Children's Amendment Bills (in relation to the foster care crisis) to be tabled at parliament in 2014. Farm workers raised rights-related issues that they face, such as problematic service delivery and their living conditions.

Black Sash meets with Partners to inform Paralegal Training Course

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05.06.14 CTRO caledonOn 5 June, the Black Sash (Cape Town Regional Office) met with its local partners in Caledon to inform the curriculum of our upcoming Popular Paralegal Training course. Conducted by Black Sash's Ratula Beukman, this meeting addressed farm workers rights and how to put together a guideline for the paralegal training.

Some areas for consideration for the training include ESTA (Extension of Security of Tenure), police-enforced removals from homes on farms, and mobilizing farm workers to understand and enact their rights. Forced evictions occur all the time, often on unconstitutional grounds. Women are particularly affected by the lack of housing, as they cannot acquire a house without a husband.

Participants came from the Overberg Development and Empowerment Centre (ODEC,) TCOE, Rural Legal Centre, Theewaterskloof Agency (Riviersonderend) & Sikula Sonke (Grabouw). Partners of the BlackSash will assist with gathering participants to attend the training that will take place in the next few months.

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