Department of Social Responsibility (DSR), Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown
The Department of Social Responsibility (DSR) is based in the Eastern Cape Province of the Republic of South Africa. Project activities take place in the Districts of Amathole and Cacadu around King Williamstown, in some of the poorest areas of South Africa.
The DSR is part of the Anglican Diocese of Grahamstown. It was established in 1977 to fight against the injustices of the apartheid era. The DSR operates in some of the poorest areas in South Africa, where unemployment remains at 50 per cent.
The DSR works with rural communities on some of the major issues facing them, including gender-based and sexual violence, HIV and AIDS, and land reform and food security. The work is done through community-based responses to empower the people who are most affected, including survivors of violence and people living with HIV and AIDS. Land justice work for women in vulnerable groups includes helping them to gain skills, income, and sustainable nutrition opportunities for their future.
Anglican Overseas Aid first began work with the Diocese of Grahamstown in 1990. The partnership came about from a request for assistance in advocacy made by the then Bishop. By 2004 the focus of Anglican Overseas Aid’s programming support was the prevention of HIV and AIDS (through awareness raising, community education, community-based care to vulnerable groups, nutrition and food security).
Anglican Overseas Aid’s partnership with the DSR has evolved over time from supporting the management of the HIV/AIDS pandemic to the current Grahamstown Diocese Women’s Empowerment Program.
This project supports vulnerable women by increasing their ability to feed their families through permaculture skills, and building community intolerance towards violence against women and children.
A major part of the project is the development of Safe Persons Networks, in which key women are trained in gender issues, women-centred responses to violence and abuse, HIV and AIDS issues, the Sexual Offences Act, citizen forums and counselling. They focus on vulnerable groups within their community: rape victims, old people, youth and children, teaching them about the laws that should protect them. They also train police, health, and justice staff about their duties under these laws.
Funding: This project is funded by grants from the Australian Government’s aid program and donations from the Australian public.