UN Joins Eswatini Government in Launching the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign

UN Resident Coordinator, Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, joins Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Themba Masuku, to launch 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence.

On Wednesday 25 November 2020, United Nations Resident Coordinator Ms. Nathalie Ndongo-Seh, joined Deputy Prime Minister Honorable Themba Masuku, in launching the national campaign for the 16 days of Activism against gender based violence.

Held in Pigg’s Peak in the Hhohho region, the launch marked the official kick-off for activities for raising awareness on violence directed at vulnerable groups such as women and girls in Eswatini. A series of regional dialogues are scheduled to take place across the 4 regions of Eswatini under the campaign theme: Orange the world: Fund, Respond, Prevent, and Collect!

In her remarks, Ms Ndongo-Seh highlighting the extent and negative effects of GBV, noting that violence is a major challenge faced by women and girls in Eswatini.

“In Eswatini, 1 in 3 girls experience sexual violence before the age of 18, while, reportedly, nearly half of Swazi women will experience sexual violence in their lifetime. 87 of every 1,000 teenage girls fall pregnant. Early teenage pregnancy is the leading cause of girl teens dropping out of school and brings many health risks such as birth complications,” Ndongo-Seh stated.

“One girl losing her life to pregnancy and birth complications is one too many,” the RC emphasised.

She further called for swift action towards eliminating GBV as it stifled progress towards achieving the sustainable development goals, in particular, SDG number 5.

“Urgent action is needed to protect our mothers, sisters and daughters. With only 10 years left to achieve the 17 Sustainable Goals, in turn Agenda 2020, the world risks leaving behind the girls, women, mothers and sisters of today and tomorrow.”  

The COVID-19 pandemic has shown signs of its impact on women and girls in Eswatini with 6423 women experiencing violence between January and September.

The Deputy Prime Minister Senator Themba Masuku urged all stakeholders to take part in ending gender-based violence in Eswatini. 

“I call upon all stakeholders, government, civil society organisations, faith based organisations, the private sector as well as development partners to come together and FUND initiatives towards preventing SGBV, PREVENT in anyways possible the incidents of SGBV in all spaces, and to COLLECT all related and relevant information on SGBV. This will to help improve the interventions as well as budgeting resources need to eliminate all forms of SGBV and Violence against Children in the Kingdom of Eswatini,” Masuku said.

The DPM also emphasised on the importance of reporting GBV as an important tool for eliminating violence in Eswatini.

"Majority of violence incidences go unreported as a result of family secrets, fear of victimization and coercion on the part of the family or close relatives against reporting or even withdrawing reported violence cases, as well as lack of trust in the justice system, among others,” Masuku said.

Phila Mndawe, a woman from Matsamo in Northern Hhohho, shared that the 16 days campaign is an important activity for Eswatini to achieve gender equality. She suggested more efforts involving the boy child as males are usually perpetrators of violence.

The focus on empowering the girl child only delays progress on achieving gender equality. The boys are left behind and continue with their bad habits. Involving men and boys in ending violence would yield better results as every society member would be playing their part,” Mndawe said.   

Eswatini is experiencing a rise in incidents on women violence. The activities launched by Eswatini through the DPM today from part of the country’s efforts towards eliminating this harmful practice, and in turn progress towards achieving Sustainable development Goals.  

Written by
Author
Zwelakhe Nsibande
Communications & Social Media Assistant
UNFPA
Zwelakhe Nsibande
UN entities involved in this initiative
FAO
Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
ILO
International Labor Organization
IOM
International Organization for Migration
UN Women
United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women
UNAIDS
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS
UNDP
United Nations Development Programme
UNESCO
United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization
UNFPA
United Nations Population Fund
UNICEF
United Nations Children’s Fund
WHO
World Health Organization