“I learned that we cannot judge victims of domestic violence,” says Vanuza. We empower young women in Angola
Young women living in Bié and Huíla provinces, central Angola, are meeting together to discuss problems like domestic violence, and work towards gender equality. People in Need’s (PIN) gender and civil society programme supports these groups; through the programme they begin to see themselves as the change makers they can be in their communities.
“I hope that women know their rights, how to empower themselves and have a voice,” says Vanuza da Cruz, the 30-year-old president of the Young Women’s Association in Huíla. “The group works to boost self-esteem, respect and dignity of women, and foster their creativity, initiative and entrepreneurship,” adds Delfina da Costa, the 21-year-old president of the Young Women’s Association in Bié. The groups were created in 2017 with PIN’s support.
PIN provides technical and financial support to activities developed by both associations, and organizes trainings through which the young women build their ability to complete projects related to gender in the communities where they live. Actions are part of FOCO project, developed by PIN in Angola in 2013 and funded by the European Union and Czech Development Agency.
Information and awareness raising
“PIN has supported us a lot, mainly in training. After PIN started working with us, many women empowered themselves,” says Arlete Antonio, a member of the Young Women Association in Huíla. “I didn’t know about many subjects, but I took part in activities promoted by PIN, specially training in leadership, gender, violence and the rights of women,” the 25-year-old adds.
The programme provides information about Angolan laws and public policies related to gender issues. PIN and our national partners also created a public campaign to raise awareness of thousands of people in Bié and Huíla about gender issues.
PIN also works to raise awareness about domestic violence and violence against children, strengthening the exchange of experiences between governmental and non-governmental institutions that are part of social protection networks. “I learned that we cannot judge victims of domestic violence, because we tend to judge without knowing the story,” says Vanuza da Cruz after attending a PIN training on gender-based violence.
From support of vulnerable women to strengthening of civil society
The support to the Young Women’s Associations is under FOCO III, the current phase of a five-year project in the gender and civil society sector. Under the first phase, implemented between 2013 and 2015 in Bié, PIN supported the creation of income-generating activities for vulnerable women, in addition to the work promoting prevention of domestic violence.
After the success of that project, PIN expanded the programme Huíla. FOCO II, which began in 2016, focuses on training members of civil society organizations – especially women – so they can represent the needs of their communities in dialog with local authorities.
FOCO III, which will last through 2019, helps women increase their knowledge, reinforce their associativism and participate more in the public sphere. “I hope that women’s lives change, particularly, that domestic violence reduces radically and that many women are empowered and believe they are capable of having a role in society,” says Arlete Antonio.