2019 Solidarity Hub

Image Gallery: ACT Ubumbano Solidarity Hub

Programme | ACT Ubumbano Solidarity Hub

Churches involved in urgent relief for cyclone Idai survivors

This partnership stems from the fact that this disaster will require the highest level of mobilisation possible.

The South African Council of Churches (SACC), Red Cross South Africa, Hope Worldwide, and other civil society partners have been involved in consolidated and urgent relief efforts to help survivors of cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

Red Cross South Africa CEO Lindel Papiyah said ahead of a planned media briefing: “We are partnering with the churches because this is a disaster that will require the highest level of mobilisation possible, and churches have that footprint and goodwill.”

Cyclone Idai has wreaked havoc on Beira and surrounding areas of Mozambique, resulting in loss of communication, damage, and destruction to shelter and settlements, health and water/sanitation facilities and thousands of hectares of standing crops, communication infrastructure, with loss of life and injury.

SACC’s Bishop Mpumlwana said: “We know that many more people will die from disease resulting from this tragedy, far more than those lives taken by the cyclone itself. Human lives will need to recalibrate in the new reality, including dealing with hundreds of children orphaned in this disaster.

“This is an urgent but long term joint effort by us as churches and civil society to help our neighbours that will require consistency of commitment.”

Deloitte has joined the partnership, bringing in pro bono audit support to the fund that is being launched.

Deloitte CEO, Lwazi Bam said: “We have been looking for civil society partners to respond to this disaster, and are happy to have the partnership with the SACC and faith-based organisations. We shall be calling on all our associates to participate in this noble endeavour.”

– African News Agency

16 Days of Activism confronting Gender Based Violence (GBV)

CA in South Africa is again involved in 16 Days of Activism confronting Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country – through our emerging joint ACT Ubumbano Solidarity Hub work.

We focus on 2 key solidarity activities this year to empower communities to take forward the justice struggles against GBV (prophetic voice in action) far beyond the 16 days – watch this yammer space for updates in the new year:

  1. Intergenerational Dialogues on GBV – Building Solidarity through Liberation Theology
  2. Improved Community-based GBV protection systems – through community paralegal advice office network

The intergenerational dialogues within a faith space have the aim of creating safe space for dialogue between younger and older women (especially linking those below 24 with those above 65 – both groups experiencing GBV) and develop concrete solidarity and networking plans for different communities and groups involved involving church leaders and various communities and community-based social movements. While individual church leaders have spoken out on GBV, this initiative hopes to advance a collective ecumenical voice to amplify voices from grassroots social struggles.

The community-based GBV protection system is a pilot for using the well-respected community advice office network as a catalyst to shift the focus of GBV approach at community level from response and support to protection, where communities become agents of their own protection, by involving varied actors: churches, local police, migrant women, community savings clubs and local CBOs.

This responds to a major challenge in South Africa that GBV plans often remain national policy documents without filtering to other levels, particularly communities. These can then in turn support advocacy towards more informed future plans at higher levels.

Both these actions will link with several member partners of ACT Ubumbano and will involve church leader engagement in the approach.

What is ACT Ubumbano?: We are a network of Southern African and European organisations working for economic, gender and environmental justice.  ACT Ubumbano brings together about 30 southern partners (with a strong faith-based participation, but inclusive of others with no specific faith identity) and 3 ACT E8 European members (CA is a co-founder) – as an initiative of ACT Alliance members and other partners. The partners work on different themes and from local to global, but a priority has emerged of intersecting and connecting different justice struggles and amplifying community voice.

Gender Justice is a key component of this work, and a key strategy is around engaging faith leaders and GBV survivors, as well as focusing on women/girls as well as men/boys in different activities and taking their voice to decision makers. We look forward to exchanging with other countries to amplify and learn from each other, for example connections related to Side-by-Side or other similar connections engaging communities and recognizing the role of faith actors in advancing Gender Justice.

Government’s Intervention Vital in the Waste Industry

Community activists are calling for government to intervene in the waste pickers industry. The community of Thulani Snake Park informal settlement in Soweto wants the government to regulate the industry by protecting waste pickers and thus allow the community to make a meaningful living from collecting waste.

“Residing in a community that is contaminated by mine waste radioactivity is not easy for the people of Thulani Snake Park, as this causes health hazards and endangers our livelihoods. People around the area are now making a living as waste pickers to survive” says community member and activist Thokozile Mntambo.

Picking up waste has allowed the community to make money from recycling, thereby ensuring that they can pay for electricity, paraffin and food.

Waste picking is not covered by any type of legislation or policy, and waste management policies in South Africa cover only the formal waste sector.

“It is hard for women waste pickers as they need to wake up early  and walk long distance pushing a trolley to get items like metal scrap and plastic bottles for recycling” says Mntambo. In the suburban areas’ women waste pickers get labelled with derogatory names such as “bomalala pipes” while security guards also chase them away from picking up waste.

“Waste pickers also do not get enough money from waste collection because the scrap yard does not pay much, especially when the scale is small,” continued Mntambo.

A 2017 report by Department of Science and Technology through the National Research Foundation’s Centre of Excellence in Food Security found that on average waste pickers made between R290 to R 770 a week from the waste they collect.

In Thulani Snake Park, some of the waste pickers are drug addicts, who use the returns from selling scrap metal to feed their addiction. This contributes to the dangers faced by women waste pickers who are exposed to intimidation by these addicts.

“The Thulani Snake Park community is calling on government to formulate policies that will ensure that they are recognisedas an informal sector,and to stop the municipality from privatising the waste picking sector,” concludes Mntambo

NOTE TO EDITORS: The Ubumbano Community Voice website and application is a platform for community activists in Southern Africa to share stories of their struggles for dignity and justice, and for journalists and others to get direct access to those stories. It is supported by the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of faith-based organisations.

For More Information and Interviews Contact:

Nhlanhla Kubeka
frayintermedia: Account manager
Tel: +27 11 888 0140
Cell: +27 79 847 897
Email: nkubeka@frayintermedia.com

Thokozile Mntambo
Thulani Snake Park community activist
Cell: +27 65 326 4565

Ashely Green-Thompson
ACT Ubumbano: Change Manager
Cell: +27 83 442 4497
Email: AGreen-Thompson@christian-aid.org

NGO creates citizen journalism app for communities

By Sibahle Malinga, IT Web Journalist

CT Ubumbano, a network of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) around Southern Africa, has unveiled a mobile and Web-based application aimed at helping community members report and share their personal stories of social, economic and gender injustice.

ACT Ubumbano is part of the global ACT Alliance consisting of members from Europe and Southern Africa, aimed at helping communities fight societal ills such as child abuse, lack of service delivery, crime, domestic violence, racism and xenophobia by collaborating with, and supporting, solidarity initiatives.

Speaking at the launch in Johannesburg yesterday, Ashley Green-Thompson, change manager at ACT Alliance, said the citizen journalism platform, the Ubumbano Voice Community Project, is aimed at giving a voice to marginalised communities and those most affected by social injustice.

“Mobile phones have become a critical tool to change lives in communities. The digital platform is about giving communities the opportunity to speak to each other and to the public, in a way that is unfiltered or unedited.

“Primarily, we want to create a network of communication between communities, government councillors, NGOs and churches, through sharing stories which will explore relevant issues.

“Oftentimes other people such as the media and politicians speak on behalf of community members without always representing facts or reality. As ACT, we don’t decide what the messaging should be, it’s the community member who does so, by sharing a personal story about something that affects them directly and raises awareness on an issue that could go unnoticed,” she explained.

In citizen journalism style, the user shares an image, video or a written article of their personal story or incident on ACT’s social media pages on Facebook, WhatsApp and Twitter.

The moderator analyses the stories, makes minor edits and then uploads them to the ACT Web site, which automatically feeds them onto the mobile app.

The app, currently only available from the Android app store, is not only about having journalists follow up and report on some of these stories. It also aims to go beyond telling stories and creating a flow of information, sending a message to key decision-makers, such as national government officials and local councillors, to be aware of what’s happening in their communities, Green-Thompson pointed out.

“There could potentially be hundreds of stories told per day and it’s important for the policymakers to have access to these stories, through the app. While there is no limit to the type of stories shared, there are obviously guidelines to follow regarding the type of content published, and the stories have to be credible and based on factual events.”

Global impact

The ACT Alliance is a global network of 146 churches and NGOs working together in over 120 countries to create positive and sustainable change in the lives of poor and marginalised people. The NGOs include: Act for Peace, the Centre for Disaster Risk Management and Community Development Studies, Baptist World Aid and the Council of Churches.

In response to changing global conditions, and to effectively amplify the impact of its work, the Alliance collaborated with three European Protestant development agencies and Southern African partners, to explore new models of solidarity and collaboration between European development organisations and civil society organisations in Southern Africa.

“A key element of this process was establishing a ‘Solidarity Hub’, which is the focal point for interaction, learning and dialogue among local and international partners. The Ubumbano Voice Community Project is part of the Solidarity Hub, seeking to take targeted and strategic action to make real change and deepen solidarity in communities,” according to ACT Ubumbano.

With the advent of technological advancements and social media, the popularity of citizen journalism has spread across the globe. Some major news events have been recorded by citizens who were in the right place at the right time. These include the widespread destruction of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the 2005 London subway bombings and the 2005 Air France crash in Toronto.

Other NGOs that have introduced citizen journalism digital platforms in SA include youth organisation loveLife; amandla.mobi, which runs online social activism campaigns; and the Citizen Journalism in Africa Project, a partnership project between NGOs Sangonet and Hivos.

Source: IT Web