YEP Leadership Team prepares for initial meeting.
LvA is proud to announce the launch of its Youth Empowerment Programme (YEP) which will take place on 19 August 2016. The idea for YEP originated from Zandile (name changed to protect privacy), one of the graduates of LvA’s Sexual Violence Workshop Series. To learn more about the Workshop Series, read our previous report entitled, "Finding a Voice”.
One key component of the workshop series is to empower participants to become agents of change within community. As both sexual violence and intimate partner violence is extremely prevalent and normalized within Diepsloot, the facilitators challenge participants to take a stand not only against violence itself, but against the prevailing harmful norms and attitudes that allow the perpetuation of violence. After completing the workshop series, Zandile, along with other graduates, were eager to continue engaging with other workshop graduates and to share what she had learned with others in her community and approached LvA for support. After several conversations with LvA staff, the YEP started to take shape.
The Program will create a platform for former workshop series’ graduates to be social change agents within their community. It aims to help them further articulate the injustices suffered by women in general and to use what they have learnt in the workshops to educate and raise awareness amongst their own families and throughout the larger Diepsloot community. The group will meet at the LvA Centre bi-weekly and each session will contain some theory presented by LvA staff on foundational topics such as “What is Power?” and “Gender and Power”, as well as topics specifically relevant to participants and their peers such as “Blesser Relationships”. The topic will then be discussed among participants through exercises and open dialogue. LvA has partnered with two students from the Drama Therapy Masters Programme at the University of Witwatersrand who will assist LvA is designing appropriate exercises and facilitating the sessions. Lastly, these sessions will also incorporate the use of a journal, which participants can use to write down their thoughts, feelings and reflections both on topics discussed in group meetings as well as on their own lived experiences. Each session will include a “journal sharing/feedback” component for discussion and debrief.
LvA’s Sexual Violence Workshop Series is aimed not only at providing information on sexual violence in general, but also at facilitating insight into the structural enablers of gender-based violence broadly, and empowering young women to become agents of change. The project proposed by Zandile demonstrates the extent to which this can be achieved.