ZwaKala training for
by Kellyn Botha
29 April 2017, South Africa
Between 19 and 21 of April, Iranti hosted an extensive training workshop as part of the Zwakala Project’s advocacy and activism expansion mandate. Facilitated by Nomsa Manzini of Iranti and funded by the European Union, the Zwakala Project works to monitor and facilitate LGBTI+ activism; and conduct skills development training at the grassroots level in Gauteng, North West and Limpopo provinces.
A total of 38 delegates from across the three provinces attended, most of them part of the queer community themselves and representing multiple Community Based Organisations (CBOs).
The morning kicked off with introductions and ice-breakers, before the delegates outlined their hopes and expectations for the training. The Iranti team has found such interactions helpful in catering to the needs of delegates, allowing constant improvement in both teaching and learning.
Thereafter, delegates were divided into groups to assess and discuss what activism and advocacy techniques they would employ for three hypothetical hate-crimes, which had been written up by Iranti staff based on true cases. When the groups gave their feedback, and a lawyer from Webber Wentzel Attorneys, Tshegofatso Phala; and Iranti staff members Joshua Sehoole and Bobby Rodwell were able to give expert advice and opinion on the options taken; advise on alternative actions; and educate on the value of the constitution in protecting LGBTI+ rights.
By the second day, the focus shifted from advocacy to media training, facilitated by Pholokgolo Ramothwala. Delegates were asked to return to the case scenarios and develop media strategies on how to deal with the hate crimes in regard to media, both mainstream and social media. The media session covered various forms of media; from the written word and film, to digital media platforms. The focus of the session was on how to chose the right kind of media for the message and audience.
Delegates were then ask to look at what media strategy they would use in their own work.
The final day focused on the funding and capacity building needs of the activist organizations. HIVOS South Africa’s Gabriel Khan facilitated, and looked at the global funding terrain, bringing this down to the way in which individual organisations can approach the funding world.
“The main issue is funding for most organisations,” says Manzini, “and not many organisations are properly informed on funding-procurement.”
Some of the main challenges in accessing funding were highlighted, such as the fact that government often overlooks smaller, grassroots organizations, when funding CBOs, NGOs and charities. This is ironic as it is often these small organizations that people on the ground have access to. The training also highlighted the responsibility of advocacy groups to remain transparent and accountable with their resources and plans in order to maintain donor confidence and community trust.
The training workshop was one of the multiple projects facilitated by Iranti through the Zwakala project, in its ever expanding mission to document and fight against lesbian, transgender and intersex rights violations in South Africa.
With the violence against queer communities unlikely to end until there are sufficient resources and training to enable strong processes to be undertaken at local level.
With an apparent spike in hate crimes against trans and lesbian women in recent years, the training by initiatives like Zwakala will contribute to bringing justice to victims. Though the violence against queer communities is unlikely to end until there are sufficient resources and training to enable strong processes to be undertaken at local level.
The delegates returned to their homes in the Gauteng, North West and Limpopo, more committed to combating hate crimes, and taking with them Iranti’s hopes for a safer, freer future.