The Institute for Justice and Reconciliation (IJR) through the Gender Justice and Reconciliation (GJR) project has undertaken to reimagine the role of the digital world in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV). The GBV Online Information Centre Project is a website programme that seeks to be an online information resource that engages three thematic points; access to information on legal rights, community engagement and psychosocial support education. Mainly an information repository, it seeks to provide a more integrated information resource required to address issues of GBV in communities, workplaces, families, universities and schools.

The GJR works in various underserved communities such as Calitzdorp, Western Cape with IJR ambassadors that are community leaders. The website programme intends to strengthen the community mobilisation efforts done in communities, particularly on issues of GBV. It seeks to create an information centre where communities would know what to do, how to do it, and who they may contact. In this regard, serve as a necessary community-building tool that provides knowledge resource capacity to build structures (formal or informal) in the fight against GBV.

The following themes will run through the cord of the website, thereby informing the nature of website content:

  • Access to legal rights information- how to navigate through the criminal justice system, key state institutions- their roles and responsibilities, alternative dispute resolution, GBV policies, rights and entitlements under the law.
  • Community engagement- how to build community campaigns, community court support, workshop materials, state actor engagement (local government leadership, South African Police, GBV community forum.
  • Psychosocial support- contact information on local organisations and volunteers providing trauma counselling, how to provide interpersonal care on survivors of GBV.

With the wide possibilities provided by the digital architecture and core realities of the Covid-19 world, the GJR Project seeks to participate in this wave of tech advocacy opportunities. In its longer vision this website programme seeks to draw on a larger development of partnerships and collaborations across the board- with the outlook of creating a dynamic online movement that reverberates all over South Africa and beyond.

The website programme seeks to source content and materials from a wide range of organisations (doing work in GBV) and that of IJR. The Project seeks to equally close other information gaps through new content creation. Partner organisations would be instrumental in the process of new content development. Additionally, the programmes seeks to target local communities (urban, peri-urban and rural), the general online public, community activists and leaders, local community centres and NGOs, policy-makers, churches, schools, colleges and universities, researchers.

What are we really aiming for with this project?

  • Provide access to GBV information that is more comprehensive and accessible
  • Provide a tool for communities to assist in the building of local structures, formal and informal
  • To address knowledge resource gaps that are prevalent in mainstream GBV education and awareness campaigns
  • To dynamize the South African online community with a comprehensive community centred information resource on GBV
  • Strengthen local community strategies in the fight against GBV
  • Build local capacity through the online resource
  • Promote access to information and services in communities

Katlego Sepotokele is Senior Project Leader: Gender Justice and Reconciliation at the IJR