Our partner in South Africa is the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown’s Department of Social Responsibility.
South Africa, with its population of 55.9 million people, faces many challenges. The World Bank estimates that more than 55 percent of the population lives in poverty, and it is ranked 119 out of 188 countries on the Human Development Index.
Women and girls face particular challenges. Unemployment rates for women are much higher than for males, sexual and gender-based violence is rife, and infant and maternal mortality rates remain high.
HIV rates in South Africa appear to have stabilised, but the power imbalance between women and men, and resulting sexual and gender-based violence, are a contributor to the transmission of HIV, particularly in rural areas.
Anglican Overseas Aid has had an association with the Diocese of Grahamstown since 1990, and from 1999 has been working with the Department of Social Responsibility in the Eastern Cape Province.
Work with people affected by HIV has evolved into the current Sinakho Safe Community Network Project. Dynamic women leaders have been equipped to become a grass-roots Safe Persons Network, with training in human and legal rights, women-centred responses to violence and abuse, and counselling.
This network is strengthening community efforts to protect women and children from violence, and advocates for action on crime by their local police and justice system. Vulnerable people are feeling safer, and have greater confidence to report sexual assault.
This project also aims to support vulnerable women by increasing their ability to feed their families through permaculture skills and community gardens.
Funding: This project is funded by grants from the Australian Government’s aid program and donations from the Australian public.