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By 30 November 2018 | Categories: news

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This month, we have seen some positive and heartening actions to combat domestic violence and abuse against women. First it was the rAInbow solution that was unveiled earlier this month, and this week, Vodacom, through the Vodacom Foundation, hosted the second edition of its Vodacom Walk for Good event, in support of the 16 Days of Activism Campaign.

The walk formed part of Vodacom’s Global Citizen campaign, with the mobile network operator partnering with the Department of Social Development (DSD) to continue the fight against the abuse of women and children in South Africa.

The 3 km walk, which took place at Vodacom’s head office in Midrand, Johannesburg, saw crowds of people come out to raise awareness and assist in curbing the plight of violence against women and children in South Africa. Orlando Pirates, the Vodacom Blue Bulls as well as the Emirates Lions players came out to collectively show their support.

Earlier this year, Vodacom announced that it had partnered with Global Citizen - extending an invitation to its customers to commit towards engaging the social issues that currently affect the continent.

“As a responsible corporate citizen, we believe it is our responsibility to bring about sustainable change. Now more than ever, we need to continue our commitment to connect for good in various areas, including gender empowerment,” commented Takalani Netshitenzhe, chief officer for corporate affairs at Vodacom.

“Gender-based violence is a societal challenge that requires collaboration from all South Africans, and Africans. Whether young or old, men and women, whatever race, rank, age, gender or social class, and more especially in the digital age, gender-based violence knows no borders. This issue continues to be one of the greatest social ills of our time and is starting to reverse the strides made towards the emancipation of humanity from slavery and exploitation,” continued Netshitenzhe.

The company certainly has put its money where its mouth is. Through its partnership with the DSD, Vodacom has invested over R6 million towards the infrastructure set-up and running of the national Gender-based Violence (GBV) Command Centre , which provides support to survivors of abuse. The company asserted that the GBV Command Centre represents the first technology of its kind in terms of social delivery in South Africa, operating a National 24/7 days call centre facility. The facility employs professional Social Workers with some of them responsible for Deaf Community using a sign language.

Vodacom revealed that, to date, the Centre has received more than 300 000 calls and more than 150 000 USSDs and SMS. Unfortunately, the high volume of calls that GBV agents are fielding at the centre paints a bleak picture of a society that doesn’t accord women and young girls respect. On the positive side though, Vodacom noted that each day the GBV centre is making a meaningful impact in society as many victims recognise it as the solution to their problems.

The centre can be reached on 0800 428 428, this is supported by a USSD “Please Call Me” facility *120*7867#.  A Skype line ‘HelpMeGBV’ for member of the Deaf Community.  An SMS based line ‘31531’ for persons with disability. (SMS Help to 31531).  The Centre is able to refer calls directly to SAPS (10111) and field Social Workers who respond to GBV Victims.

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