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Professional Facilitator Training

Monitoring & Evaluation

Gender Reconciliation Report for 2010

Phaphama Initiatives, Johannesburg, South Africa

March 6, 2011

Woman, You are Africa, You are the first in the world, Woman
Mother of civilization is you
Your courage has raised great sons and daughters of the earth
Mother of civilization is you
Though you were struck with an earthquake or hate and destruction
Mother of civilization is you
I hear your song in the distance, you have turned your pain into stepping stones
Mother of civilization is you
I say rise up and blow the horn, beat the drums and add your new song to your new song,
because Mother of civilization is you!
(Poem written by the men to honour the women
during the closing ritual of a gender reconciliation workshop)

Women and men in celebration


Executive Summary
This report assesses a new social innovation in South Africa called Gender
Reconciliation. Founded and developed by the Satyana Institute, Gender
Reconciliation is a powerful new methodology for healing and reconciliation between
women and men. Several of our senior staff at Phaphama Initiatives have been
trained by Satyana Institute, and are now implementing Gender Reconciliation
workshops in diverse venues in South Africa. Recent programes conducted for
various target groups include: NGO organizations, communities, social work students
at the University of KwaZulu Natal, religious leaders in Cape Town, a high school in
Etwatwa township, and prisons in the Johannesburg area.

Two years ago we conducted our first evaluation of the Gender Reconciliation
programme. At that time we concluded:

Not only does this work have the potential to heal relationships between men
and women; it also. . . is a powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS; infact,
the only tool that addresses the root causes of HIV/AIDS rather
than just the symptoms. There is a great need to roll-out gender
reconciliation work on a much broader scale in South Africa. 1

Based on this finding, we proceeded to raise 70,000 Euros from Stichting Porticus
(Netherlands) to implement Gender Reconciliation more widely. Now with more
experience in this work, we are coming to the view that the Gender Reconciliation
program has the potential to prevent communities from self-destructing because
of gender violence and HIV/AIDS.

To assess the impact of the Gender Reconciliation program over time, we
conducted three focus groups between three and eleven months after the
workshops. Results were impressive, with many reported life-changing impacts:

• Most participants reported healing effects within their families, including greater
trust and improved communication in some of their most challenging relationships.

• Many male participants reported a positive shift in their attitudes and relationships
with women and girls, and several reported a whole new understanding of women’s
pain. Some of the men reported that they are taking responsibility to curb their own
gender-based violence, and in some cases that of their male friends.

This last finding is especially encouraging, because statistics show that the majority
of violence against women and girls is perpetrated by male family and community
members, rather than strangers.

These auspicious results suggest a strong need for wider implementation of Gender
Reconciliation programes in South Africa, and beyond.


1 Report on the Gender Reconciliation Intervention by Satyana Institute, Phaphama Initiatives,
Johannesburg, June, 2009. This report is an assessment by Phaphama Initiatives of Satyana Institute’s
Gender Reconciliation programs in South Africa conducted in February – March, 2009.


Introduction
Phaphama Initiatives is currently half-way through a two-year (2010 and 2011).
funding cycle with Stichting Porticus for our gender reconciliation program.
Phaphama is engaged in this training with our partner, the Satyana Institute, a
U.S.A.-based NGO, who are the originators of this form of gender reconciliation
work. We are grateful to Satyana for their willingness to work with us as an
implementing partner of this work in South Africa and we value their close
mentorship of and cooperation with us.

In 2009, Phaphama facilitators (of our Alternatives to Violence Project) attended a
Basic and Advanced gender reconciliation workshop with the Satyana Institute, and
then participated in two further workshops with Satyana: one in a school in a
township east of Johannesburg (Daveyton); and one with male inmates in Leeuwkop
prison. We chose these two target groups (prisons and schools), as these most
clearly reflect our very troubled society.2 These are also the two main sectors we
normally work in and it was our wish to see how the gender reconciliation work could
deepen the Alternatives to Violence training already begun there. A report has been
written on this and is available on request.

The positive outcome of these workshops convinced Phaphama that we wanted to
become trained to do gender reconciliation work on a larger scale in South Africa.
After discussions with the Satyana Institute, it was agreed that a core of experienced
Phaphama facilitators would be selected to attend the Training for Facilitators (T4F)
modules to be held for Phaphama in 2010. The criteria for selection were as follows:

• these facilitators must have attended a 5-day Basic and a 5-day Advanced
workshop,

• they must have experience in group facilitation, and

• they must be committed to a spiritual practice of their choice.
As such, nine facilitators were chosen.

This report details the activities and outcomes of Phaphama’s gender reconciliation
program in 2010, as well as it plans for 2011 and beyond.

Workshops conducted in 2010

The following T4F modules were conducted with Phaphama facilitators:
page 3 of 31


2 “A 1998 survey found that one in every three Johannesburg schoolgirls has experienced sexual violence at
school.” Andersson, N., Mhatre, S. Mqotsi, N, & Penderis, M., Prevention of sexual violence: A social audit of the
role of the police in the jurisdiction of Johannesburg’s Southern Metropolitan Local Council. Johannesburg: CIET
Africa, 1998.


  • Dates: 9 – 13 April
  • Module: 1

  • Dates: 8, 9, 10, 25 and 26 November
  • Module: 2

  • Dates: 5 – 8 December
  • Module: 3

Will Keepin and Cynthia Brix of the Satyana Institute conducted the Training for
Facilitators (T4F), which was held at Phaphama House in Soweto. We found the
training to be very professionally conducted. The modules were carefully planned to
build upon one another: Module 1 focused on the facilitation of specific activities in a
Basic gender reconciliation workshop and the skills and attitudes that a facilitator of
this work needs to cultivate. Modules 2 and 3 continued providing opportunities for us
to learn to facilitate this work, but also deepened our understanding of the very
sensitive issues that can arise in gender reconciliation workshops, namely
pornography (access to which is growing at an alarming rate globally, especially
among young people) and lesbian/gay/bisexual/transgender/intersex issues. Role plays,
debriefings and discussions were the predominant mode of training, and was
very effective in conveying the important concepts in this kind of facilitation, which
demands a high level of skill, neutrality, compassion and sensitivity.

A significant amount of time was also spent on the ethical considerations that facilitators are
obliged to agree to before embarking on this work. Where necessary, specialist
facilitators were brought in to deal with specific areas that need attention in this work,
for example, in how to deal with trauma that surfaces in a workshop. For this reason,
we were also extremely grateful that much time was given to experience, develop
and enhance different interfaith spiritual practices of mindfulness, centering and
healing: crucial elements if we as facilitators want to give of our best in this work and
not burn ourselves out in an arena that is fraught with immense pain, anger and grief.

After Module 1 one person dropped out of the training and one chose to remain on
the training but not to facilitate in workshops. A further two facilitators did not
complete each of the modules due to other work and personal commitments, and will
need to do so before they are fully accredited by Satyana. Two facilitators from
Phaphama were designated as lead facilitators in this work (one male and one
female), and since they had already conducted three workshops on their own (i.e.
without Satyana staff being present), it was agreed that Phaphama could schedule
further workshops as training opportunities before Modules 2 and 3 a few months
later. The other five Phaphama facilitators expressed a willingness to help facilitate
these workshops, so as to practise and refine their facilitation skills.

In 2010, therefore, Phaphama organized the following workshops, which were either
facilitated only by Phaphama staff or with Satyana staff when they were available:


  • Date: 17 – 19 February
  • Target group:Gender-related NGOs
  • Number of participants: 16
  • Facilitation: Phaphama

  • Date: 26 – 28 February
  • Target group: Gender-related NGOs and Phaphama associates
  • Number of participants: 22
  • Facilitation: Phaphama

  • Date: 7 April
  • Target group: University of KwaZulu- Natal 4th-year social work students
  • Number of participants: 86
  • Facilitation: Phaphama and Satyana

  • Date: 23 – 24 October
  • Target group: Phaphama facilitators and associates (including school learners)
  • Number of participants: 30
  • Facilitation: Phaphama

  • Date: 22 – 24 November
  • Target group: Boksburg Prison
  • Number of participants: 32
  • Facilitation: Phaphama and Satyana

As can be seen from the target groups listed above, Phaphama’s strategy was to
identify and reach out to a range of related sectors where this work is most needed
i.e. in:
• Capacitating NGOs that are already involved in addressing gender-based
violence with this new form of gender work that brings men and women
together in a forum for truth-telling and reconciliation

• Broadening the perspectives of social work students so as to make them
better social workers in the field

• Addressing issues of masculinity and gender-based inequality by working
predominantly with men (the prison workshop did, however, also have some
women participants from Phaphama)

• Capacitating our own large base of facilitators and associates with a deeper
understanding of gender-based violence in our country, with the aim either to
strengthen our facilitation skills in the Alternatives to Violence Project, or to
make us more effective peace activists in our homes and communities.

In addition to these workshops, Phaphama also set up and/or supported (either
financially and/or with support facilitation) the following workshops in Cape Town:


  • Date: 3 and 4 March
  • Target group: Taster workshops for religious leaders from the Cape Town Interfaith Initiative and the Western Cape Religious Leaders Forum, and NGOs

  • Date: 12 – 14 March
  • Target group: Community workshop

The administrative load placed on Phaphama to organize these seven workshops
was such that it demanded the help of an administrative assistant. Phaphama,
therefore, contracted the services of an intern, Anna Lerner, who had worked with us
previously. Her task was to network with gender-related NGOs and set up the
workshops in Johannesburg and Cape Town. Anna worked on this for two months
and set up a well-researched database of over 70 NGOs, government institutions
and education institutions working or interested in this field. Anna also managed to
secure the participation of representatives from the Joint Gender Fund (HIVOS) (who
funded this work in 2009) http://www.jointgenderfund.co.za; Potter’s House Women’s
Shelter – a division of the Tshwane Leadership Foundation www.tlf.org.za; the
Ceasefire Campaign, Action www.ceasefire.org.za; Khulumani Support Foundation
www.khulumani.net; the Olive Leaf Foundation www.olf.org.za; The Centre for the
Study of Violence and Reconciliation www.csvr.org.za; Sangonet
www.sangonet.org.za; and social workers from the Department of Correctional
Services.
Participants in Workshop


Some workshop highlights
Without describing each workshop separately (they all essentially followed the same
training structure of building a safe space; sinking into an in-depth exploration of the
experiences and issues; then coming through the pain into an honouring of the
courage to do this work; and a commitment to changed attitudes and behaviour), we
have chosen to comment on the significant highlights of some of the workshops:
either highlights that give us the confidence to implement this work with new target
groups, or highlights that reveal a considerable depth of healing and reconciliation
achieved in the workshop. We would also be happy to comment on the lowlights,
except that there were none for us in this series of workshops. Any negative
participant feedback comments, however, have been included in the relevant section
below.

Two of the workshops were markedly different in structure to the tried and tested
workshop model comprising between 12 and 36 participants, with roughly an equal
balance between men and women, and running over three full days. The University
of KwaZulu-Natal workshop was a one-day workshop comprising 86 students, 7 of
whom were men. Because of this significant imbalance between the genders, as well
as the short duration of the workshop we were particularly concerned that the men
may find it difficult to speak their truth in the presence of so many women. This was
not the case, however, and we were satisfied at the end of the workshop that enough
of a safe space had been created for all to make their voices heard and for authentic,
respectful listening to take place.

Please visit the following YouTube link to hear the students and their lecturer speaking
of their experience of the workshop: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8G-hcWj-Eek. Our other
concern about the adaptability of the workshop exercises to such a large group was unfounded, as the activities worked just as powerfully with the higher numbers of people. Our experience in this
case validated Satyana Institute’s finding that the methodology works well with larger
groups up to a few hundred people.

The other workshop, which followed a different structure, was the one in the all-male
Boksburg prison. Because this work, by its nature, requires the presence of both men
and women, Phaphama brought in seven women from outside the prison and four
female social workers from within the prison, who had not attended this workshop, to
be part of the workshop. In general, the main stories shared by participants were around
experiences of child, women and men abuse, robbery, theft, rape, drug dealing and abuse,
the influence of bad company at a young age, and the loss of loved ones. During an activity
known as the Truth Mandala, a number of very powerful and poignant stories were shared:

a young man shared about the beautiful relationship he had had with a girl who had
really loved him; “And how did I thank her? I gave her HIV!” Another young man
spoke of how he used to beat his girlfriend – on this particular day he beat her from
20h00 till she collapsed at midnight and then she died. Yet another man spoke about
the influence he had been on his cousin who got involved in criminal activities, was
arrested and killed in another prison. He lives with the knowledge that the cousin’s
family blames him and cannot forgive him for this.

For men the main issue underpinning many of their stories was guilt and shame for
the hurt they had caused and how they could now make reparations for what they
had done. Closely related to this shame was the fear of one day being released and
how they would then have to face their families, communities and friends.
The women’s stories carried the underlying emotion of fear: fears for their own
safety, for the safety of their children and of other women. Interestingly, some women
were also seriously concerned about their male children and whether they would succeed in
bringing them up differently in the face of very destructive male
socialization patterns. One woman shared how she had been raped and could not
tell her son who had been conceived through that rape.

As with the earlier workshop in an all-male prison the previous year, we found that
while there are more men than women in these workshops, the presence of at least a
few women who are prepared to speak truthfully to their experiences of being a
woman, impacts very powerfully on the men, many of whom have committed the very
crimes and violations that the women are speaking of. In fact, as is apparent from the
participants evaluations (see below), it is by hearing what women have suffered that
men begin to take responsibility for their actions and, more importantly, change the
way they see themselves in relation to women. Two testimonies of these changes of
heart are given here:

I want to say a thousand apologies for sexually, emotionally, physically
abusing women; from now on I will stand for them.
I was tough in my ways and I want to apologize but I feel it is too little for what
I did.

Having social workers from the correctional facility as part of the workshop worked
both to our disadvantage and to our advantage: for the first day they were unwilling
to fully participate in the workshop, possibly because the level of sharing that was
required of them made them feel too vulnerable in front of the inmates, with whom
they have a professional relationship. On the other hand, however, the social
workers were amazed at how the workshop process, in three days, revealed stories
that they had not heard in all their years of working – on a daily basis – with the
inmates. An example of this was when two inmates shared that they were HIV+ – and
admitted that this was the first time they had disclosed this information. Many
inmates also testified how this workshop was so much more effective than any of the
anger management courses they had attended. So, in a way this work exposed the
inadequacy of the social work interventions in the prison, and it is to the credit of the
social workers that they recommended this work be done for other inmates and for all
the social workers.
It was, however, the NGO workshops that were the most exciting for us as we were
working with people who clearly already had much experience in this field. We were
keen to see how this work would be received by them and it became apparent from
Day 1 of the workshop that having men and women in the same training challenged
perspectives on interventions that address gender-based violence. This was
particularly so for some of the more radical feminists in the group who were used to
dealing with gender issues from a women’s rights-based approach. Therefore we
were very gratified when these activists reported afterward that the workshop was a
breakthrough, and something much needed which they hadn’t experienced before.
“It restored my dignity as a woman,” exclaimed one of the feminist activists. Please
see the YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-s804jretcY for comments on the workshop by some of the participants.3

The workshop with Phaphama facilitators was an intense experience of honesty, love
and healing. Care had to be taken in the first session to build a safe space for
participants as it became clear that the Silent Witnessing exercise was not as
powerful as it could have been: particularly the women had not felt safe enough to
stand honestly for many of the gender injustices that they had suffered in their lives.
This, however, became a constructive learning experience for the whole group when
in the debriefing, one man shared how he had sensed that the women had wanted to
stand for their truth, but had not had the courage to do so. This gave the women the
opportunity to admit this, and explain why this had been the case for them. It was
also a positive learning experience for the men to realize how much courage it takes
for women to be able to speak out (even if not in words) about their pain.
The Truth Mandalas, when women and men were in separate gender groups, gave
each gender the protection to speak with one another as sisters or brothers, and in
this forum the women were very ready to share their stories.


3 Interviewees from left to right are: Simphiwe Shabalala (Khulumani Support Foundation), Collet Ngwane
(CSVR), Grace Makhudu (Tshwane Leadership Foundation), Letty Mayephu (Potter’s House), and Phumlani
Mngomezulu (Olive Leaf Foundation).


Women supporting one another


Participants shared their experiences of rape (including date rape), physical,
emotional and financial abuse, absent fathers, broken families with the concomitant
abuse of children by stepmothers/fathers, families where all the siblings have
different fathers, poverty, using one’s power at work to gain sexual favours, fear of
not being able to keep a family together or play the desired role of a father because
of unemployment, and abduction and prolonged exposure to emotional and physical
violence driven by a revenge motive. Most of the men’s stories were again
characterized by intense feelings of shame and guilt, with one man sharing how he
was living with regret at the suicide of a girlfriend whom he had exposed to alcohol
and drugs at an early age. One young girl said she felt it would be better to kill her
father and spend time in jail than continue having him abuse her and her mother at
home.


A young girl sharing her anger and pain


It may be questionable whether it is helpful to bring people back into their pain, which
they may have found ways of coping with in the past. Many participant comments,
two of which are listed below, speak to this:

Even if I was crying but inside I was happy for having a platform to speak
because it healed me.
We let the pain that we have bottled up for so long out and we feel relieved
and free.

The rituals were a beautiful honouring of one another through song, poetry and
dance, with the men writing the poem that heads this report, for the women. There
was a simplicity about the rituals, which made them immensely moving in their
affirmation of the other gender.


In a ritual to honour the women, men draped the chairs beautifully


Please visit the following YouTube link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r5Szhp_
w_c
for a brief overview of the gender healing and reconciliation work in South
Africa in 2010.

Participant feedback
Below are a summary of comments from participants in all the workshops:
What was your most valuable learning in this workshop? Please be specific, and
explain why.

• Tenderness of love, support and respect.

• I really value the respect and patience that we had as a group of both men
and women. The fact that men felt strong to share their fears and even
shared their fears to us as women. And it is valuable again to see that there
are still good and caring men out there who trust women enough to share
what they have shared with us through the workshop.

• That it enabled me to see the other gender in a very different eye. Powerful
and eye opening.

• Women’s and men’s circles helped me to take out things that I’ve been
keeping to myself and pretending that I can deal with them.

• Having to share about things that I couldn’t talk about. I feel like a new
person. I am leaving bad memories behind and I’m ready to face the world.

• That also men need love and care just like us women and they are also
victims.

• The workshop was good in a sense that it gave each person a space to look
from the self and be able to evaluate from own experiences.

• The workshop was powerful, soul searching and informative. I would suggest
that you invite couples and youth groups.

• I’ve learned that as a man I must break down and cry, and not bottle things up.

• Got to know that men and women are both abused and abusers.

• Spending time with women and getting inside on how they feel about certain
issues that concern both of us.

• Having people who are giving you full attention without judging.

• Men are not all the same.

• My valuable learning this weekend was that you don’t need to be tough to be a
man, but you need to take full responsibility of your acts and be man enough
to accept your wrong.

• It helped me to believe in men again.

• The Silent Witnessing because I realised that the things I go through as a
woman other women go through and also the men go through. I have learnt to
understand the opposite gender.

• My valuable learning was I let go of the anger and refresh.

• I learnt that it’s possible for men to put their ego’s, their pride aside and ask for
forgiveness.

• To explore the inner me more often so I can learn more about the fear, hope,
sorrow and anger within me.

• The openness on both sides (men and women).

• Trust, love, honesty and respect – these are the most things that I loved
because some of them were not familiar to me but I only experience them in
this workshop.

• I enjoyed the fact that I could swallow my pride and talk about the issues
which affect me the most. I also enjoyed the fact that I got an opportunity to
listen to the issues men have.

• Company of people whom you do not know but have shown unreserved
affection.

What did you not enjoy or not find valuable? Please be specific, and explain why.

• I would be lying if I said there is something I did not enjoy.

• I didn’t enjoy the fact that I couldn’t open up because I don’t want to be
judged and I’m afraid of resentment.

• I don’t know because the workshop was well balanced and each aspect of it
contributed to its success in its unique way.

• Time allocation is not very much especially for the separate group discussion.

What feedback would you like to give your facilitators?

• Guyz you rock – I’m looking forward to having the skill you guys
have. You were great every moment of the experience. I believe this
step you’ve taken us through will help change the gender
imbalances in our country and n the world. Thank you very much.

• Thanks a lot for being strong, courage and have patience for
different people coming from different background.

• They were all great and I would love to come back to this kind of
workshop without hesitation.

• The workshop was great, you ran it with passion.

• Nicely facilitated with utmost sensitivity and patience. Get to the
point quicker, especially when everybody has understood what is
asked of them.

• Go on and make us and others to find their inner beings.

A particularly touching verbal comment from one inmate was the following: “For the
first time in years I laughed from my heart, not just lips moving, thank you.”


Workshop follow-up

Participant evaluations are by their nature limited because of their subjectivity: it is
almost natural that participants who have had a profound workshop experience
where they have been opened up in ways which are deeper than usual, and where
they have been listened to without judgement, will comment positively on the
workshop. While this is encouraging for us in that it confirms that the workshop
model is successful, it is not reliable enough to take participants’ evaluations (done
straight after a workshop) as the sole measure of the effectiveness of the work.

We, therefore, decided to conduct a number of focus group sessions a few months
after the workshop to see how participants had sustained or deepened the learnings
they had made in the workshop. Three focus group meetings were held: one at
Phaphama House, one at the school and one in Boksburg prison. Participants in
these sessions had attended the gender reconciliation workshop three to eleven
months prior to the focus group.

We gave serious thought to who should conduct these focus group meetings: at first,
for the sake of objectivity, we thought it would be best to contract the services of an
“outside”, neutral facilitator. On further consideration, however, we decided against
this, thinking that participants would not feel free to share very sensitive stories with a
“stranger” whom they did not know. Finally – and in an effort to not completely
compromise the subjectivity issue – we came to the conclusion that we would ask a
Phaphama person to convene the meetings, who had not herself facilitated the
workshops, but who was also not a total stranger to the participants. In the prison, we
did likewise with one of our male facilitators. We are reasonably satisfied that this
was the best option at the time. In future, we may try a different option.

Please see the focus group questions in Appendix 1 below. In the two-hour focus
group meeting, participants were asked to spend the first thirty minutes (after an
explanation of the procedure and a translation of the questions where necessary)
writing responses to the questions. They were encouraged not to plod through each
question in the order they were given, but only to respond to questions with which
they resonated, and which they found interesting or stimulating. After thirty minutes,
a half hour was given for open discussion, where participants could share with the
group anything that they wished to share from their writing. Then another thirty
minutes was given to continue writing, either to finish off what they had started or to
write down anything new that the discussion had sparked for them. Finally, there was
a little time left for closing comments. Written responses were collected, with
participants asked not to give their names on their sheets of paper. A total of 36
people attended these focus groups.

The exercise proved to be very fruitful for Phaphama in that we were able to make a
much more realistic assessment of the impact of the workshops, as opposed to just
measuring outcomes through workshop evaluations. Furthermore, it seemed as if the
opportunity to reflect (both in writing and verbally) on the workshop from a distance
enabled participants to “bed down” some of the concepts and learnings they had
made. Finally, it was a very valuable opportunity for us to follow up with participants
who had been through considerable pain in the workshop, to see how they were
doing now, and whether they needed any form of more qualified trauma support –
particularly with some of the inmates who were hardcore criminals, and who are
serving life sentences (or multiple life sentences) after the death sentences given
under the Apartheid regime were commuted in 1994. This exercise has convinced us
that we need to do this with all gender reconciliation workshops in future.

In an effort to fully understand the impact of the workshops, we have summarised the
findings of the focus group meetings under different themes. This is obviously an
interpretive exercise and we are open to – indeed, we would welcome – other
interpretations.

There were impressive examples of how this work has helped participants address
gender-based conflicts in their lives.

Being used as a slave at home and not having much time to do my school
work. I told my mother that me and my brother have to be treated equally
cause we are both human. The workshop helped me by teaching me not to
hold on to things, but tell people what is eating me.

Yes, I was able to address the incident positively. The scenario was my friend
wanted to propose [sex] to the other girl and this girl was not interested and
then the guy decided to say negative stuff towards this girl. I tried to stop him –
fortunately I win him.

There was a young man assaulting his big sister because he knew that she
can’t fight for herself because she was afraid and we ended up calling the
police and he was arrested.

I have taught my friends how to respect women.

One day I found my neighbour’s wife sitting outside the door she was beaten
up by her husband. I intervened and spoke to the husband and told him that
this is not the way to solve family problems, he should talk to his wife and he
agreed and they spoke in the house everything was back to normal.

Despite the anecdotal nature of these stories, they are particularly noteworthy as
they indicate the multiplier effect of this work. This effect is, however, far greater than
just about numbers. Ours is a country with the shameful distinction of having one of
the highest rates of gender-based violence in the world: a root cause of our very high
HIV rate.

South Africa is in the midst of one of the fastest growing HIV epidemics in the
world. In the year 2000, an estimated 40% of deaths in adults aged 15-49
were attributable to AIDS, making it the single highest cause of death in South
Africa. In the year 2002, there were more people living with HIV in South
Africa than in any other country in the world. Simultaneously, South Africa has
been the site of growing alarm at the high levels of rape reported from various
sources, and the issues of sexual violence against women.4

In recent years, research is slowly showing us that if we are to address these
epidemics (HIV and sexual violence), we will need to move away from simply
targeting individual risk behavior to changing the notions of masculinity and
maleness.

Rape is an interesting case in point here: in a study conducted by the South African
Medical Research Council, quoted in Time Magazine, more than a quarter of South
African men admitted to having raped.5

The problem of rape in South Africa as Wood and Jewkes (2001) show has to
be understood within the context of the very substantial gender power
inequalities which pervade South African society. Rape is a manifestation of
male dominance over women and as Jewkes et al (2006) claim rape is an
assertion of that position.6


4 Kim J., Martin L., and Denny L., Rape and HIV Post-exposure prophylaxis: addressing the dual epidemics in
South Africa, Reproductive Health Matters 2003:11(22), pg. 101
5 Time Magazine, June 20, 2009.
6 Bhana D., “AIDS is rape!” gender and sexuality in children’s responses to HIV and AIDS, Social Science and
Medicine 2009 (69), pg. 601


Clearly, as long as women are in an unequal power relationship with men, it is not
enough to address the prevalence of rape by making women more aware of risk
factors – or by telling men that “no” means “no”. Instead, it is by getting conscious
men to raise the awareness of other men about the notion of power in relationships,
and to challenge social and cultural norms around this notion (as the above
testimonies indicate), that we will begin to make some inroads into the dual diseases
of gender-based violence and HIV.

Let it also be said that for a man to be able to do this with other men assumes that
there is a growing confidence and resolve within him compelling him to take action
among his brothers: a confidence that can only come from a more positive selfimage.
More importantly, however, it assumes that his inner compass with regard to
gender relationships has reoriented itself.

I used to take women like nothing, but now I think they also have what I have
in life.

I now see myself as a respecting man, a man with care and think about other
people. A man who loves and cares for the opposite gender.

I have stopped lying to people I love and who also love me in return and they
are supportive to me – I have learned to be faithful.

Males sometimes think that they are better than the opposite gender and the
fact is that we all equal human beings.

What I think about women now is that we need to protect them and love them.

I have learnt to honour women.

You cannot say you love your woman knowing very well that you are hurting
her.

Many of the comments above – in particular those that indicate a changed
relationship between men and their intimate partners – are highly significant because
statistics of gender-based violence show that most of the violence that women
experience is at the hands, not of strangers, but of men who are their partners.

Existing data suggests that it is young women who are most commonly
raped…rape perpetrated by a stranger reflects only a small proportion of
women’s experiences of coerced sex. In fact, the most common forms of
sexual coercion are those most vulnerable to under-reporting. These may
occur within marriages, dating relationships, families or where sex is agreed to
after blackmail, threats or other forms of coercion.”7


7 Kim J., Martin L., and Denny L., Rape and HIV Post-exposure prophylaxis: addressing the dual epidemics in
South Africa, Reproductive Health Matters 2003:11(22), pg. 103


Some men may not yet be at the point where they are able to positively influence
other men. This may still require more courage – but at least the first steps towards
this have been made as men become more aware of the gender-based violence in
the world around them.

Men abuse women unnecessary. Men treat women as slaves. Men demand
things from women, if women don’t give them what they want, they violence
against women.

The raping of women in Rwanda and Republic of Congo, and the abuse that
was happening in my own home where my mother was being assaulted by my
father.

Women are kidnapped and turned into sex slaves.

For other men (and women) this awareness has been turned inwards to examine
one’s self-responsibility as a perpetrator of gender-based violence.

I would say that going to these workshops is not an opportunity to get back at
men, this is an opportunity to rectify your wrong doings. I have stopped hurting
other people’s feelings.

It changed my life a lot in a sense that I never respected a woman before; I
always thought that men were always right not knowing that what I was doing
was unacceptable at all. But now I am singing a new tune, what is left is to
reconcile with my victims.

I am glad that I have seen women shedding tears about the way they have
been violated by men because I myself have done a lot of this in the past, and
now I know how much pain it causes them.


The forum in which the men witness the women speaking their truth


While this last comment does not specifically speak of HIV, it is key in the struggle to
end violence against women. Here is a man who, because he has heard women
speak of their pain, “gets it”; i.e. he now understands the impact of his behavior
towards women. Research is showing that this is how we will fight the HIV epidemic.

… about one in seven of new infections in women in Jewkes and colleagues’
study were attributed to either male partner violence or women’s lack of
relational power. In view of the facts that the fastest growing sector of those
infected with HIV across both Asian and African epidemics is women whose
main risk factor is sex with a male partner…..and that expansion of treatment
with antiretroviral drugs cannot keep pace with the ever-increasing number of
people infected, the global HIV community must move to make targeting such
male behaviours a central focus of prevention efforts.8

In terms of the workshop processes, it is amply clear that the feeling of support and
solidarity enabled participants to shed the load they had been carrying for a long time
and move towards self-healing.


8 Comment, Key to prevent HIV in women: reduce gender-based violence, The Lancet, 2010 (Vol. 376), pg. 6


I have sincerely recommended this workshop to my friends because you get to
see that you are not the only one who has problems, and you get to share
your problems with other people.

I have seen that keeping things inside your heart will kill you slowly, but to
recover that you should tell someone in order to heal.

Being open to people you trust. I say this because people from the gender
reconciliation workshop were very kind people, I felt free to tell them my story
and from the pain I had before telling them I was happily free from pain.

Some focus group stories reveal how participants have taken, or would like to take,
skills from the workshop directly into their own lives.

I spend more time with my family, and we speak more openly now than
before. There is more affection now and the way we treat each other is
wonderful.

I’ve stopped treating my girlfriend that I beat her and we have an open and
respectful relationship.

I would like to keep the activity called [Truth] Mandala as a family culture so
that we can often discuss family issues.

Finally, as the name of these workshops indicates, it is crucial that we look at the
level of healing and reconciliation that has taken place – a few months later – between
women and women, between men and men, and between women and men.

[My life] has changed in many ways, like for instance at home I am able to talk
to my grandmother who used to abuse me. Even though she hasn’t stopped
abusing me I respect and love her the way she is.

It has changed my life for the better in my family because there are good
relationships within the family and my father because before we didn’t talk to
each other.

Yes, I had a bad relationship with my dad that let us to not talking to each
other for a period of three to four years. I know that I have done things that I
am not proud of and I have hurt my family a lot for too long, knowing that if I
ask for forgiveness they will forgive me. I went back and did it again which
made my father angry and resented me for it. After some time thinking about
everything that happened, I decided to take a bold step to speak to my father
again and it paid-off because today me and my father are in good speaking
terms and we managed to patch things-up, all thanks to Gender
Reconciliation, this program made me own–up to my own mistakes and take
the initiative and speak to my dad after so long.

I used to hate every man that I see but as a result of this workshop I’m
completely a different person. I saw that not all men are the same, I’ve learned
to respect men.

I have stopped looking at them [men] like dogs. I talk differently about them.


Facilitator growth

After the first T4F Module, facilitators-in-training were asked to complete a selfevaluation
on their personal, professional and spiritual growth in relation to this work.
It was encouraging that all the self-evaluations were in line with the assessments
given by the trainers to each facilitator.

Module 3 was completed in November last year, and as we have not conducted any
further workshops since then, it is too early for us to comment on our growth as
facilitators. Our aim is to have our own focus group meeting after having facilitated a
few workshops (possibly two or three times this year) and reflect on our growth and
our challenges. We look forward to Satyana’s support in this exercise.

It may be helpful, however, to share with you the testimony of one of our young
women facilitators who facilitated in the prison, as it captures at once the beauty and
the difficulty of training in this work:

I loved facilitating this workshop because we were able to reach participants’
hearts and feelings so that they could share personal life stories which were
really touching and overwhelming. The challenge for me was my being
emotional and carrying it along with me which made me a bit drained….but I
am thankful for the opportunity to grow as a facilitator and a woman.

Financial report

Please see the interim financial report for these workshops attached in the separate
document, which accounts for an expenditure of R414,953 out of the total grant
commitment of R666,196 (€70,000). Of this total grant amount, R390,196 (€40,000)
was received on 20 April 2010.

Proposed schedule for 2011

With the remaining funds from Porticus, Phaphama is able to do eight more
workshops this year. We would like to build on the work done in 2010 by focusing on
a number of strategic target groups. One such group is the social workers in Soweto:
we have realized that because of the intensity of the work and the depth of gender based
violence in our communities, it is important to have a pool of professional
social workers at hand who understand the work and who can be available for more
extended trauma counseling when necessary. Police men and women working in
the gender violence and victim support units of the police stations in Soweto will be
invited to this workshop, as well as members of the ANC Youth League.

We also wish, where possible, to conduct gender reconciliation workshops as a
follow-on from our Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) workshops as we firmly
believe that the basic human relationship and conflict resolution training given in AVP
serves as an excellent foundation for the deeper, more challenging gender
reconciliation work. To this end, we will be working with the Damietta Initiative; a
refugee-support initiative in South Africa (in fact, throughout Africa) with whom we
have done AVP for many years.

We will also continue working with our own facilitators and associates, in particular
with our youth division; the HIPP Club. The gender-activist NGO, Potter’s House,
who sent representatives on one of the 2010 workshops, has also requested a
further workshop for their staff.

We would also like to conduct at least one workshop in a school and a prison as
these are our base constituencies which form part of our long-term vision (see below)
for this work.

Finally, as an experiment, we would like to conduct one or two workshops in a rural
community and have targeted Bushbuckridge in Limpopo, as we have a partner
organization there www.afrikaikalafe.co.za that is able to invite local government,
church, educational and community leaders to a workshop.

Below is a schedule of dates and workshops for 2011:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The gender reconciliation initiative in Cape Town now has its own coordinator and
steering committee and is in the process of looking at whether and how they would
like to formalize themselves. Phaphama Initiatives will continue to support the
facilitation in Cape Town when requested to do so and will also call on support
facilitators from Cape Town as funds and people’s availability permits.

Early in 2011 Phaphama also tendered for two gender reconciliation work contracts:

• One was issued by the national Department of Social Development, in which
Phaphama will collaborate with another NGO, Footballers 4 Life, on
implementing a gender advocacy programme for Limpopo, Mpumalanga and
the Eastern Cape

• Another issued by UNIFEM, in which Phaphama will collaborate with a public
relations company, Adlib studio, to run a “Respect is Sexy” campaign for the
University of KwaZulu-Natal.

We await responses on both these tenders.

Phaphama’s long-term vision in doing this work

Phaphama’s long-term vision is to do this work in a confined target group or
geographical area over an extended period of time (at least three years) so that we
can effectively measure the impact of the programme. Ideally, the gender
reconciliation workshops conducted in this target group should follow on the
Alternatives to Violence Project workshops, which means that the most ideal,
effective and responsible form of funding would be that which supports both
interventions. It would make sense to work in the Pimville community in Soweto
where we are based and where we have worked for many years. This way we could
target the four high schools in the area, doing pre- and post-surveys of the levels and
type of gender violence in the schools. We could also do community workshops and
use the local police station and clinic, with whom we already have good
relationships, to provide us with statistics of the number of gender violence cases in
the past few years, measured against the number of new cases opened during each
year of our intervention. Local councillors and political youth structures would also be
invited to participate in the programme, making it a whole-community intervention.

A further whole-community intervention could take place as part of Phaphama’s
Community Work Programme (CWP). Currently Phaphama is an implementing
partner of the Seriti Institute www.seriti.org.za, managing a job creation, community
development programme of 1000 people on a site west of Johannesburg, called
Region C. We believe it would be very effective to conduct AVP and Gender
Reconciliation training in Region C, as the site is already structured into wards
comprising 50 working people; each ward administered by a coordinator. In fact, we
see it as crucial that this kind of human relationship work is brought into the
community to complement the income-generating aspect of CWP: without it the
additional flow of income into the community has the potential to fuel gender-based
violence as men demand what their partners have earned and as the already
unacceptable rate of alcoholism increases.

Another target group that Phaphama sees a possibility of working with is the
community in Elandsdoorn, which is already heavily involved in an integrated
community health and development programme under the leadership of Dr Hugo
Tempelman’s Ndlovu Care Group www.ndlovucaregroup.co.za. This is an interesting
partnership for us (Phaphama already has a relationship with Dr Templeman), as it
would mean working in a defined geographical area where the outreach to an entire
community and the gathering of statistics would be relatively easy. Also, the very
substantial and effective HIV awareness and treatment work already done there
since 1994 would provide invaluable support to this gender reconciliation
programme, and vice versa. While it is highly likely that the community will receive
this work positively because of all the community health interventions already being
conducted there, what has not been addressed is the issue of gender-based violence
and its link to the spread of HIV/AIDS. However, because of the community
structures and development initiatives already in place in Elandsdoorn, it makes it
the ideal target group to assess the efficacy of the programme. If the synergy of
awareness-raising and development initiatives on the one hand; and life skills and
gender healing work on the other proves successful, then there is a compelling
model – perhaps the only model – of holistic community rehabilitation in Africa for
every interested partner and for our government to unequivocally stand behind.

While we seek to further explore these possibilities and make them a reality, there
are some things learnt from last year that we would like to bear in mind this year:

• Residential workshops are very expensive and, while they provide participants
with an immersion opportunity, it is not viable to do them at this stage unless
absolutely necessary

• Phaphama will work on facilitator guidelines for doing this work in prisons,
particularly to protect our women facilitators who may train in all-male prisons

• While the two-day model (as opposed to the more traditional three-day model)
has proved very effective for us thus far, we will remain critical of it until we
are satisfied that the quality of such a workshop is not compromised.

Whatever Phaphama’s long-term plans turn out to be, one thing is certain. We are
committed to continue building and expanding this programme in South Africa and
possibly on the continent of Africa in partnership with and under the guidance of the
Satyana Institute. We are also encouraged by Satyana’s confidence in Phaphama’s
role as an implementing partner in this intervention:

“It has been such a joy and privilege to collaborate with the Phaphama team,
and we are deeply gratified by the encouraging results they are achieving in
their application of the Gender Reconciliation model,” said Cynthia Brix. “Our
training of Phaphama staff in the Gender Reconciliation model was a terrific
experience from start to finish, and it is wonderful to witness the flowering of
gender reconciliation work under Phaphama’s skillful stewardship. We look
forward to continuing our collaboration with Phaphama,”
said William Keepin.


Conclusions

Has the Gender Reconciliation programme lived up to our expectations of it? Much
more than we originally conceived. Initially we thought it was a powerful conflict
resolution tool to heal relationships between men and women. Our first evaluation of
the Gender Reconciliation programme was conducted two years ago. At that time we
concluded as follows:

It is clear from the success of these workshops that there is a great need to
roll-out gender reconciliation work on a much broader scale in South Africa.
Not only does this work have the potential to heal relationships between men
and women; it also has the power to give rise to a new generation of adults
who will be far better equipped to take up the privilege and responsibility of
parenting in a way which honours and nurtures the self-actualisation of the
next generation of children. This combination of healing and reconciliation
. . . is a powerful tool in the fight against HIV/AIDS; in fact, the only tool that
addresses the root causes of HIV/AIDS rather than just the symptoms. 9


9 Report on the Gender Reconciliation Intervention by Satyana Institute, Phaphama Initiatives,
Johannesburg, June, 2009. This report is an assessment by Phaphama Initiatives of Satyana Institute’s
Gender Reconciliation programs in South Africa conducted in February – March, 2009.


Now with considerably more experience in this work, we are slowly beginning to
understand that this programme has the potential, one workshop at a time, to prevent
communities from self-destructing because of gender violence and HIV/AIDS.

To gauge the impact of the Gender Reconciliation programme over time, we
conducted three focus groups between three and eleven months after the
workshops. This provided a realistic means for assessing the lasting effects of the
workshops, and also to determine whether key concepts and learnings were being
applied in practical ways in participants’ lives.

The results were impressive. Even several months after the workshop, participants’
lives were significantly changed:

• Most participants reported healing effects within their families, including greater
trust and improved communication in some of their most challenging relationships.

• Numerous participants reported life-changing impacts, and gave specific examples
of how they are applying new skills from the workshop to move towards self-healing
and to address gender-based conflicts in their lives.

• Several men reported a whole new understanding of women’s pain, and how they
are taking responsibility for curbing their own gender-based violence, and in some
cases that of their male friends.

• Many men reported a positive shift in their attitudes and relationships with their
intimate partners, including new respect for the women and girls in their families and
communities.


A man demonstrating in a role-play


These last two findings are especially encouraging, because statistics show that the
majority of violence against women and girls is perpetrated by male family and
community members, rather than strangers.

We are also learning the pivotal role that a new generation of men will have in this
struggle: men who have the courage to hear women tell their stories first-hand, and
the courage to face their own pain – as we all come to terms with the fact that men
are as much victims as they are perpetrators of this violence. In fact, research shows
that “(i)t is not just women who will benefit if men’s lives are transformed.
Statistically speaking, the majority of victims of men’s violence are other males.

Thousands of men and boys are murdered or assaulted each year, usually by other
men. For example, 76 percent of victims of male homicide (in the U.S.) are other
men, and 24 percent are women.”10

A visiting gender reconciliation facilitator from Kenya expresses this as follows:

When I went to co-facilitate [a gender reconciliation workshop] in a prison in
Johannesburg this November and heard the stories of the men in prison, I
realized the importance of gender reconciliation work. Most of the men spoke
of absentee fathers or mothers and being left with no one to guide them when
they were young. Other men said that there was no mentor in their lives to
show or teach them how to grow as a man. They learnt about their sexuality
from magazines and stories told by fellow young men who had no clue. In
particular, all of the men talked of having no idea about how to relate to
women. I am sure the story of these South African men is the same for many
Kenyan men.

This is where the training comes in. It is CRITICAL that gender reconciliation
workshops are done all over the continent of Africa, because the rupture in the
male species is so deep.

Indeed, research shows the need to transform current notions of masculinity:

..it has been suggested the experience of trauma in childhood reduces men’s
ability to form emotionally intimate relationships with women and as a result
they develop a preference for impersonal sex…which strongly correlate(s) with
increased perpetration of gender-based violence by young men….Our findings
suggest that interventions which seek to explicitly transform ideas of
masculinity that privilege heterosexual success with and control over women
will be more effective than those that address only individual risk behavior…11

Through this work of Gender Reconciliation, we will continue to transform notions of
masculinity – and femininity; perhaps one day to discover that they can be equally
valued and harmoniously interwoven into a renewed social fabric.


10 Jackson Katz, Tough Guise, Media Education Foundation, Northampton, MA, 1999.
11 Dunkle K., Jewkes R., Nduna M., Jama N., Levin J., Sikweyiya Y., Koss M., Transactional sex with casual and
main partners among young South Africa men in the rural Eastern Cape: Prevalence, predictors, and
associations with gender-based violence, Social Science and Medicine 2007 (65), pg. 1235


Healing between men and women


To our knowledge, this form of Gender Reconciliation work is unique in bringing men
face to face with women’s pain and challenges, and vice versa, and then skillfully
moving through and beyond this collective wound to a genuine experience of healing
and reconciliation. Herein lies great promise for the well-being of women and men in
Africa and beyond.

The Phaphama team
6 March 2011



Appendix 1 – Gender Reconciliation Focus Group questions

1. Have you been able to use any of the skills from the workshop in your life? Please tell
us how.

2. In what ways, if any, has your life changed since the gender reconciliation workshop?
Think about your life in your family, in your school or workplace and in your
community.

3. Which of these changes do you think are as a result of the gender reconciliation
workshop? Why do you say this?

4. Are there any things you have stopped doing since the workshop?

5. Has anyone commented on a positive difference they have seen in you since the
workshop?

6. Do you think you are a different man/woman now, as compared to other men/women,
as a result of the workshop? If so, how are you different?

7. Do you find that you now talk differently about the opposite gender? Can you give an
example of this?

8. Do you find that you now think differently about the opposite gender? Can you give
an example of this?

9. When you look in the mirror, can you describe the type of man/woman you see?

10. Have you become more aware of gender-based violence in the world around you? If
so, could you give two of three examples of this?

11. Have you been able to positively address any incident of gender-based violence that
you have seen happening around you? If you have, please could you write down
what happened?

12. Can you write down one example of a gender-based conflict in your life, which you
were able to solve (or are in the process of solving) since the workshop? How did the
workshop help you solve this, if at all?

13. Looking back at your life, would you sincerely recommend this workshop to your
friends? Why? Why not?

14. If someone said to you, “I’ve learnt all I need to know about how to be a man/woman,
and how to treat women/men, from my culture,” what would you say to them?

15. Is there anything that you learnt in the workshop that you would like to keep as part of
your values and lifestyle? What support do you need to do this? From whom do you
need this support?

16. For men only: If men said to you that these workshops are a waste of time, or that
they are meant to just teach you how to be nice to women, what would you say to
them?

17. For women only: If women said to you that these workshops are a great opportunity
to get back at men for all the ways in which women have been wronged, what would
you say to them?

www.phaphama.org info@phaphama.org Tel. +27 (0)11 982 2088
Phaphama House, Ipelegeng Community Centre, Cr Khumalo & Phera Sts, White City, Jabavu, Soweto.
P O Box 342, Pimville, Soweto 1809 South Africa

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