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JOHANNESBURG - Vodacom, through the Vodacom Foundation, today 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, and saw the mobile network operator partner with the Department of Social Development (DSD) to continue the fight against the abuse of women and children in South Africa.
The Vodacom Walk for Good event is becoming known for its ability to encourage mass mobilisation of communities to promote active participation in the fight to eradicate violence against women and children. The 3km 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. Staying true to its commitment, Vodacom has continually facilitated initiatives that look to eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual exploitation. This aligns with Sustainable Development Goal 5 of the UN SDGs.
Takalani Netshitenzhe, Chief Officer: Corporate Affairs, at Vodacom said: “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. 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.”
Vodacom, through its partnership with the DSD, has invested over R6 million towards the infrastructure set-up and running of the national Gender-based Violence Command Centre, which provides support to survivors of abuse. The GBV Command Centre represents the first technology of its kind in terms of social delivery in South Africa. The Centre operates 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.
To date the Centre has received more than 300 000 calls and more than 150 000 USSDs and SMS. The number 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, we discover each day that 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.