New project in South Africa, thanks to a major EU grant

February 20, 2017


We recently began work on a major new European Union funded project, jointly with our South African Network member, the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme. 

In February, we launched a two year project, funded by the European Union’s Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights for South Africa, which will empower marginalised rural communities in Limpopo Province to know, understand, advocate for, and exercise their sexual and reproductive rights. The project is being delivered in partnership with our Network member, the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP). We are combining our decades of experience improving knowledge on sexual and reproductive health and improved family planning provision, with TVEP’s unparalleled local, and internationally recognised, expertise with vulnerable people, especially victims of gender based violence.

We are working with TVEP staff to integrate family planning actions into TVEP’s existing work, both in communities and schools. Our work will also ensure that the staff of local government departments, such as health, justice, policing and education, are adequately providing the services which the communities are legally entitled to access. To this end, we are recruiting a family planning nurse to provide training and mentoring to clinic staff at the project site’s medical facilities. Through the work at the community level and in medical facilities, communities will be enabled to fully exercise their constitutionally protected sexual, reproductive and gender human rights, including their right to quality, rights-based family planning.

The local need is great. For instance, a 2013 Gender Based Violence Indicator Study revealed that 77% of women in Limpopo had experienced such violence, and only one in 10 women sought medical attention after such abuse. Another study commissioned by the Department of Social Development in 2011 found that 57% of girls interviewed reported that their first sexual encounter had been forced. Most of these children are not well informed of their sexual and reproductive rights and therefore do not know that they are legally entitled to access Post-Exposure Prophylaxis or emergency contraception. Therefore, increasing knowledge of, access to and provision of quality and comprehensive health services, including family planning, is vital to improve women and girls’ health and empowerment.

David Johnson, our Chief Executive, is excited about the project and said, “We estimate that at the very least 12,000 community members will benefit from improved knowledge and services thanks to project actions. This is the perfect example of the impact which can be achieved when members of the Population & Sustainability Network collaborate.”

The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of The Margaret Pyke Trust, with the Population & Sustainability Network and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.