16 Days of Activism Against Gender Based Violence

Empowering women and girls has always been an important part of the work we do at Skateistan. Since day one, Skateistan set the goal to empower girls by providing opportunities through skateboarding. We continue this work by encouraging students and staff in our programs to advocate on behalf of women and girls when they have the chance.

Skateistan Skate Schools participated in the ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ to bring local issues to the forefront of their conversations. Educators at each Skate School determined specific issues around the elimination of violence against women and girls in their communities, and advocacy sessions were held to reflect those issues. 

The ‘16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence’ is an annual international campaign that runs between International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November), and runs until Human Rights Day (10 December). The 16 days are used by organizations around the world to advocate for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls. 

Skateistan in Johannesburg ran important information sessions at the Skate School with local members of the community to create and raise awareness for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls in South Africa. Members of the local police came for a visit alongside the advocacy group People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), a South African NGO that works on projects and research dedicated to violence against women in Africa. 

Students and parents were excited to participate in the discussions between Skateistan staff, members of the police, and POWA at the Skate School. In the session at the Skate School, there were lots of activities to participate in, says Vuyo, Programs Officer in Johannesburg. The police alongside POWA aimed to increase awareness around the different types of abuse, as well as appropriate reporting procedures at the police station.

"They spoke about child-friendly spaces within the police station because most times kids fear being there. Having the spaces allows children to come forward with their case."
Vuyo, PO SA

The group also discussed bullying as a social issue, drug abuse and its possible effects on families and students, and ways to deal with peer pressure. POWA educated folks on the different types of assault that women and girls frequently face in Johannesburg. 

Following the event, students discussed feeling empowered by the knowledge shared in the session. The day acted as a platform for great knowledge-sharing, and students felt confident to describe different types of assault faced by women and girls, and are confident that they understand the reporting procedure should they ever have to visit the police station.

As part of Skateistan’s culture of learning, we promote communication between Skate Schools to ensure knowledge sharing and best practice policies for advocating on behalf of children that we work with. Skateistan Kabul advocated for the elimination of violence against women and girls by hosting a knowledge sharing session at the Skate School, attended by all Skateistan staff members. Staff members shared their personal stories and experiences with gender-based violence in the community.

Staff members in the session discussed the roles of women and bystanders in witnessing gender-based violence, and how to support and stand up for women and girls whom you know are experiencing abuse, such as sexual harassment of women in public in Afghanistan.

“When a woman says that someone touched her and her voice is loud in public, we should stand for her, not blame her that she herself is a bad woman, because of her clothing and appearance.”
Zahra, Programs Officer in Kabul.

Following the session, participants surveyed their feelings on what they learned. 100% of the participants said that after the knowledge sharing session, they felt confident to take action in their personal lives to protect women and girls when they experience or observe abusive behaviour towards them. The Kabul team discussed the need to share this knowledge with Skateistan Youth Leaders and students to ensure awareness and steps to take action in their local community. 

Consider making a donation today so we can continue supporting staff and students in their work to advocate on behalf of women and girls in Afghanistan, Cambodia, and South Africa.