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Southern Africa - NISAA

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NISAA Institute for Women's Development in Lenasia.

September 23, 2008
One of the Heinrich Böll Foundation’s strategic partners in its "Program for Gender Equality in Southern Africa" (Gender Program for short) is the NISAA Institute for Women’s Development in Lenasia, south of Johannesburg. NISAA (the name "NISAA" comes from an Arabic word meaning "woman") struggles against violence against women in South Africa – a country where, according to estimates, a woman is raped every 23 seconds and every fourth woman is abused in her relationship.

With the support of the Foundation, NISAA runs a shelter for threatened and battered women and children in order to provide them with professional assistance and protection against violent partners. Also, NISAA is currently mobilising the public in Johannesburg and in the surrounding communities of the region of Gauteng on the issue of violence against women through numerous events, advertisements and campaigns. It offers training courses and workshops on various topics for volunteers. These provide alternative conflict resolution strategies and new life perspectives to victims of violence. NISAA also offers counselling for affected women and children in its two "branches" in Soweto and Orange Farm.

In co-operation with the Heinrich Böll Foundation, NISAA has already carried out several campaigns on the problems of rape and abuse of women and children. Slogans to sensitise the public have been posted in busses, taxis and billboards. In its "White Ribbon Campaign," NISAA distributed informational materials along with thousands of white ribbon pins as an international symbol against domestic violence, and has also organised public debates, demonstrations and theatre performances.

The Heinrich Böll Foundation plans to continue its successful co-operation with NISAA, because the prevention of violence against women touches on one of the central issues with regard to the participation of women in public life, thus making a significant contribution to the realisation of gender democracy in the region.