Dr Eric Pule.
The urgent call by South Africans for government to do more to end gender-based violence and femicide (GBVF), has been heard. In only 12 months since its inception, the GBVF Response Fund1 has received pledges worth almost R200m, with the first tranche of R69m in funding being paid to 110 qualifying, high-impact community-based organisations (CBOs) and intermediary organisations. Following a rigorous selection process, the University’s Advice Centre was identified as one GBVF Response Fund1 recipients.
According to Dr Eric Pule, Director at the Advancement and Partnerships Office (APO), the R500 000 grant came at the perfect time, when much funding was needed to assist the TUT Advice Centre to carry out the great work they do for communities.
“We are extremely pleased and welcome the grant. Indeed, we are faced with a social ill that has become hyperendemic and has been exacerbated by the worsening economic conditions in the wake of COVID-19. The fund will assist the Centre to bring about change through research, awareness, and practical support,” said Dr Pule.
The funds will go towards the following:
- Provision of support to survivors that will enable them to navigate and interact with the criminal justice system;
- Provision of non-profit and/or free legal and paralegal support services in relation to GBVF; and
- Training of ‘those who protect’ in relation to GBVF
The TUT Advice Centre, together with communities, aim to build a South Africa that is free from gender-based violence and femicide. Since 2018, the Centre has been running door-to-door and Human Rights Awareness Campaigns, as well as educational Radio Presentations to address GBVF issues. Staff members and students who volunteer at the centre have visited schools, old age homes, disability centres, orphanage homes and other areas to provide free legal assistance.
The University’s door-to-door campaigns have given opportunities to those people who have no means, or cannot get to the centre’s offices, to obtain free legal assistance at their doorsteps. The centre also manages a ‘please call me’ programme, which members of the community can use to send a ‘please call me’ message and get assistance with regard to GBVF issues.
Moreover, the centre reaches more than 9 000 people per year on GBVF and human rights issues, while its geographical reach is national.