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We are truly grateful to the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) for having the faith to kick-start us with substantial funding. Only in retrospect did we fully appreciate the true value of Danida’s support, as it released us from the burden of fundraising and enabled us to spend the first four years getting our programme firmly established. Many thanks to our funders over the years: ABSA Bank APSO (now Irish Aid) Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Danish International Development Agency (Danida) Department of Public Enterprise Department of Social Development European Union (through the Department of Health) First National Bank First Rand Foundation Foundation for Human Rights Irish Aid National Arts Council National Development Agency National Lotteries Board Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund Open Society Foundation Oxfam Australia Oxfam Novib Population Council Raising Voices Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida) Themba le Sizwe United States Agency for International Development (USAID) A special thank you to all the amazing women and men in the development sector who have been our mentors and freely given of their time and much valued experience. Writing and editing Proofreading Photography Cover photo Design, layout and illustration Additional interviews Additional input and support Additional support Gladys Ryan, Communicating Simply Desiree Collett van Rooyen Cedric Nunn TVEP Dudu Coelho Cedric Nunn Fiona Nicholson and Felicity Groom Lushia Nevhutalu

First published in February 2011 by the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme PO Box 754, Sibasa, Limpopo 0970, South Africa ISBN 978-0-620-49734-3 This book was made possible through the generosity of Sida, the Population Council and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We thank them for their support over the years.


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome Antiretroviral Therapy Antiretroviral Antiretrovirals Department of Health Department of Social Development Human Immunodeficiency Virus Not-for-Profit Organisation National Prosecuting Authority Orphans and Vulnerable Children Post Exposure Prophylaxis Prevention of Mother-to-Child Transmission South African Police Services Sexual and gender-based violence Sexual Offences & Community Affairs Court Thuthuzela Care Centre Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust Vhembe Civil Society Network Victim Empowerment Committee Victim Empowerment Programme A UK-based volunteer organisation

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Selinah’s 16 year-old daughter asi was pregnant from her biological father, Selinah’s husband. (This happened before abortion was legalised). The social worker and magistrate believed that it was a case of incest, which warranted a legal abortion, so she was sent to Gauteng... unaccompanied. Whilst she was away, Selinah withdrew the case (which is illegal and should not have been allowed). When asi returned, she was sent to live with an aunt. When i questioned Selinah, she explained that she could not chase her husband away because her other children would then not respect her. She could not respond when i asked how much they could respect a mother who shares a bed with the man who raped his own daughter. i met with asi’s school teachers, who were kindly offering her alternative accommodation as she did not get on with her aunt. i related to them what Selinah had said, thinking that they would be equally horrified. instead, they explained that they would have done exactly the same had their husbands raped their daughters, because, in Venda, “a woman is nothing without a man”. Julia’s new boyfriend was beating her on a regular basis. i had worked with him before starting the factory, so i asked him to come in to chat with me. he did so, and was clearly of the opinion that as ‘old friends’ i would side with him. he kept saying “wait until i tell you what happened, then you will see that i had to hit her”, and i kept responding that there is neVeR an acceptable reason for violence. eventually he got his way and told me his tale, with great indignation: Julia had come home late from a church meeting (no insinuation of extra-marital affairs), and had not cleaned the house and prepared his meal. it was his RiGhT to beat her. When i discussed this matter with Julia i discovered that, as it is with so many other women in similar situations, there was no economic need for her to stay with him. The conversation went something like this: ‘Do you love him?’ ‘no way!’ ‘Does he bring you money?’ ‘hah! he doesn’t even have a job. he just sits with his friends drinking my money all day.’ ‘Does he help with the housework and children?’ (Disbelieving stare, followed by laughter.) ‘So why do you stay with him?’ (no answer, just a shrug.)
— Stories shared by Fiona Nicholson, TVEP Director

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As in many other cultures, patriarchy is deeply entrenched in Venda and women are generally thought to be unequal to men, especially if they do not have a male partner. Although many gains have been made over the years, and a number of traditional leaders are initiating progressive changes within their constituencies, patriarchy remains an overarching challenge. Also, according to Venda culture, it is considered ill-mannered for anyone – man or woman – to question authority. “Too many women still have self-esteem bred out of them from birth,” says Fiona. “It takes a lot of courage for them to grasp the opportunities now available to them”. The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme (TVEP) came about as a direct response to this challenge: to offer a space for victims of violence – particularly women and girls – to be heard, to be protected, to be supported and to be vindicated. TVEP remains committed to helping women understand and exercise their rights. In 1997, the Thohoyandou Community Policing Forum, together with the South African Police Services (SAPS) set up a Victim Empowerment Committee (VEC) in accordance with the National Crime Prevention Strategy (now the Justice Crime Prevention Strategy) which advocated (and still advocates) a victim-centred, integrated restorative justice approach to crime prevention through partnerships “within and between government and civil society organizations”1. With seed funding from the Department of Health (DoH), SAPS and local business, the first 24/7 One Stop trauma centre was opened at the regional hospital in September 2001, and Break the Silence campaigns were initiated. The committee was registered as the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust in January 2002, with provision for a range of stakeholders to be co-opted as Trustees. This book explores TVEP’s history up to June 2010.

This book is dedicated to all those who have bravely challenged violence in their lives, especially the many women and children who dared to speak out, and those who will find the courage to do so in the future.


Overview of the Victim Empowerment Programme presented by Conny Nxumalo, September 2009.

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Capturing the history of an organisation is an interesting process. Part detective work along with a lot of introspection and interrogation, the journey is not easy. Fortunately, in the case of TVEP, records have been meticulously kept, along with newspaper cuttings and photographs. Given the presence of these artefacts, it seemed sensible to offer the history in the form of a scrapbook. In this way, there is room for all of these pieces of TVEP’s history. The book is divided into five sections.

ONE: In Context
This section provides an overview of the conditions in which TVEP exists, including the geographic landscape and socio-economic conditions.

TWO: TVEP at a Glance
Offering a broad overview of the TVEP Model, this section covers the services TVEP provides and the rationale for them.

THREE: River of Learning
This timeline gives a sense of the history of the organisation and how it grew over time in response to needs identified by the community, sharing their learnings and giving a glimpse into the heart of the organisation.

FOUR: TVEP in the Community
TVEP has become a central and critical organisation in the Thulamela district. Relationships with other organisations and community members have developed and continue to do so. Here we share some of the additional experiences, challenges and successes of TVEP and the role it has played in the community as well as the partnerships it has built.

FIVE: Into the Future
This final section gives insight into TVEP’s hopes and plans for the future. At points in the book you will come across Reflections. These are some of the issues TVEP would like to share; these reflections give further insight into TVEP’s daily context and their relationships with the key role players that have a bearing on their work.

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Joyce Magoro, TVEP

Victim versus Survivor
While the common term for those who have been on the receiving end of violence is ‘survivor’, TVEP uses the term ‘victim’ to refer to people who come to them for help. By the time they have left TVEP the hope is that they are now survivors. However, TVEP commonly refers to them as clients.

TVEP (Programme) versus TVET (Trust)
The organisation is a trust (Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust) but is commonly known as TVEP (Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme). The Trust runs the Programme. Because it is most commonly known as TVEP, we have used this term throughout the book.

Statistics quoted in this book are up to June 2010.

Many people were interviewed in the process of developing this book. With their permission, their contributions have been abridged where necessary.

Thank You
TVEP’s history has been enriched by the very many people who have walked alongside – donors, supporters, sister organisations and the community. We are indebted to them always.

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Thohoyandou is a town in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. It is the former 2 capital of the homeland, Venda. Its name means ‘head of the elephant’ in TshiVenda. Thohoyandou is now the regional capital of Vhembe District. HIV prevalence in Vhembe district is 14.7%, according to HIV and AIDS: Business as Usual, a publication of the South African National HIV and AIDS Council3 (SANAC). Sexual abuse and domestic violence are frequently trivialised, even by the victims. There is a high unemployment rate in the region and many people survive through subsistence farming. TVEP assists over 40 rape and 100 domestic violence survivors every month. In a number of cases, the perpetrator is a minor, but there are no appropriate perpetrator programmes in place. Children as young as six have presented with sexually transmitted infections (STIs) that they have contracted from sex offenders that are as young as nine. There are loopholes in the current welfare system and many children ‘slip through the net’, remaining in or returning to abusive environments. Although access to social grants has improved, it is still extremely poor, and misuse is common.






south africa

V h e m b e
Ha-Makhuvha Sibasa Khubvi

Punda Maria






L i m p o p o
Polokwane Tzaneen Mokopane Phalaborwa



Thabazimbi Modimolle Bela-Bela



2 Additional information taken from TVEP five year Strategic Plan, March 2007 – February 2012

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Antiretroviral therapy (ART) has been accessible through the Department of Health (DoH) Wellness Centres since October 2004, but uptake is slow and adherence is poor, particularly amongst children. Social workers are under-resourced and available only during office hours. As a result, the victims’ circumstances may sometimes not be adequately investigated, family members may not be sufficiently counselled, and attempts to integrate services available to people living with HIV may be ineffective. People who deliver services encounter many challenges in providing these services, including the distances they need to travel, the difficult terrain, and the difficulty of finding their clients in rural areas with no street names or numbers.

Outside the Thohoyandou Magistrate Court

Street vendors in Thohoyandou

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Youth at a shopping mall in Thohoyandou

Vhembe countryside

A road in rural Vhembe

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In 1997, the Thohoyandou Community Policing Forum, together with the South African Police Services (SAPS), initiated a Victim Empowerment Committee (VEC) in accordance with the National Crime Prevention Strategy. With seed funding from the Department of Health (DoH), the SAPS and local business, TVEP’s first 24/7 One Stop trauma centre was opened at the regional hospital, Tshilidzini, in September 2001, to provide support to victims of sexual assault and family violence. However, recognizing that to respond to these situations without addressing the causes would not be sustainable, TVEP initiated Break the Silence campaigns simultaneously, to mobilize communities to prevent and report violence.

To generate an attitude of zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and aiDS stigmatisation in the Thulamela Municipality of limpopo Province, South africa.

Primary Objectives

f To create a supportive environment for victims of sexual assault, domestic violence
and child abuse, and people impacted by hiV and aiDS;

f To inform, educate and capacitate the community about their rights and
responsibilities pertaining to TVeP’s four thematic areas;

f To capacitate and rehabilitate victims of sexual assault, domestic violence,

child abuse, and hiV and aiDS with emphasis on stigma mitigation, treatment compliance and positive living;

f To ensure that justice is served by holding government departments accountable
to the Bill of Rights and to their respective departmental delivery mandates.

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The Model

Two 24/7 Trauma Centres

Community Mobilisation

Two 24/7 Short-term Shelters

Zero Tolerance Village Alliance

M&E Admin, Finance & HR RASP

Access to Justice

15 Community Help Desks

TVEP Outreach

HIV Services

Young Perpetrator Programme

TVEP’s Four Thematic Areas

f Sexual assault f Domestic violence f Child abuse f hiV and aiDS
TVEP’s Sectors
TVeP’s interventions are through three sectors:

f Prevention, empowerment and Support Services (PeSS); f Trauma Support and access to Justice (TS and atJ); and f Research, advocacy and Special Projects (RaSP).
a fourth sector, Core Services, is responsible for finances, administration, human resources and monitoring and evaluation (M&e).
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With its emphasis on prevention, this sector’s mandate is to reduce the incidence and mitigate the impact of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), child abuse, and HIV and AIDS in communities by informing them of their rights and responsibilities, how to access and exercise those rights, and what steps to take if they are violated. It does this through four clusters: Help Desks, the Zero Tolerance Village Alliance, Community Mobilization and HIV Services.

Help Desks
In order to extend TVEP’s reach into the most remote areas of Thulamela, TVEP runs 14 help desks at rural clinics, while one is located at TVEP offices in Sibasa. Holistically trained Help Desk Advisors (HDAs) provide the communities they serve with advice and guidance on their rights and responsibilities relating to TVEP’s four thematic areas. In particular, this cluster facilitates access to, and appropriate use of, social grants; monitors the status of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC); and proactively encourages prevention of mother to child transmission (PMTCT) and the use of female condoms. Advisors are capacitated to hold other service providers accountable; identify and refer victims of sexual, domestic and child violence; and conduct community dialogues and workshops on TVEP’s four thematic areas, as well as surveys on behalf of TVEP’s research partners.
(Photo: TVEP)

Zero Tolerance Village Alliance (ZTVA)
As TVEP’s model for positive behavioural change, this cluster aims to create empowered and safe villages within which women and children, in particular, have the confidence and feel secure enough to act appropriately against any infringements of their rights and promptly access the services available to them.

almost invariably, when a woman is asked why she tolerates abuse, her response indicates a feeling of isolation; that she is alone with her problem, she doesn’t believe others will support her; she is shy/embarrassed/ashamed or scared of what the neighbours/family will say. The rationale, therefore, is that if everyone in the village has been empowered, through a community owned process, and if this culminates in male community leaders taking a public oath not to tolerate any form of violence against women or children, then victims will be more likely to disclose, and take action.4

Taken from a TVEP application for funding to the Population Council

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The ZTVA is a comprehensive intervention that strives to impact every aspect of village life in a sustainable manner. High-crime villages are invited to become members of the Alliance, for which they must meet certain criteria, starting with assuming ownership of the project itself. A Stakeholder Committee consisting of community leaders is established, and community activists are trained to conduct dialogues on TVEP’s thematic areas and encourage accountability. TVEP’s technical assistants (TAs) guide the process and ensure that all community structures are aligned to their specific mandates, for example: police stations must comply with victim empowerment policy and clinics must be offering voluntary counselling and testing (VCT). Once the criteria have been met, the village is awarded ZTVA status and men are invited to take a public pledge of zero tolerance against SGBV, child abuse and HIV-based stigma.

We train groups of people _ grannies, youth, men _ to train and support others. We work in pairs and cover the four TVEP thematic areas. Our work empowers people and helps them change their behaviour. Personally, I was afraid to be tested, but since I joined TVEP I wanted to be a symbol for others; I started to understand the importance of testing and knowing my status; so I went to be tested and am leading by example, because you cannot say to people, ‘go and get tested’ when you don’t know your own status. I would love to see more influential people involved in our work.
— Sarina Mudzwari, Technical Assistant with the ZTVA

Community Mobilization
This cluster came out of the Break the Silence Campaign of TVEP’s earlier years and is responsible for all prevention and empowerment activities that take place outside of the villages targeted for the ZTVA. This takes the form of edutainment (dramas depicting TVEP’s core themes); radio phone-in shows (community and national); participation in national campaigns such as Women’s Day events; responding to specific calls for assistance; and providing logistical support to the Vhembe Civil Society Network.

HIV Services
Initially this cluster focused on training government health professionals and TVEP staff, but its focus is now on adherence (particularly in children), prevention and mitigating stigma. They are responsible for all matters related to HIV, such as spreading positive messages; promoting understanding of and access to the government PMTCT programme, and access to and sustained use of female condoms; ensuring appropriate HIV and AIDS content of TVEP campaigns; monitoring and facilitating the wellbeing of orphans and vulnerable children; and encouraging an attitude of zero tolerance towards HIV related stigma. Of particular note are the ground-breaking children’s workshops initiated in partnership with the Vhutshilo Mountain School, a school that specialises in the care and support of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC). At these workshops, aimed at reducing defaulting on medication, and reducing stigma, children are taught from as young as five years to accept and understand their status, and to take responsibility for adhering to ART and living positively. Staff from a local Wellness Centre

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volunteered their assistance, and the trial has resulted in a noticeably healthy, confident and well-adjusted group of children. These children spontaneously formed their own support group and are now presenting plays on ART access and adherence that they have written themselves. The methodology has worked so well it is being rolled out in other areas.

Within this sector there are two clusters: Trauma Support and Access to Justice.

Trauma Support
The Trauma Support Cluster runs four projects – the two trauma centres (one situated in a regional hospital and one in a district hospital) and the two accompanying safe house facilities, which provide violated women and their children with safe accommodation for up to two weeks whilst they are being relocated. TVEP’s two trauma centres ensure that victims of violence reporting in the Thohoyandou Policing District have 24/7/365 (24 hours, all week, every day of the year) access to the support and justice they need and to which they are entitled. These centres provide a Tshilidzini Hospital Trauma Centre wide range of integrated services to victims of sexual assault, child abuse and domestic violence, and strive to hold government role players accountable to their departmental mandates, adding value where necessary.

The work of the trauma centres

— Albert Mahada, Trauma Centre Administrator

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TVEP provides a holistic range of services for victims who report to their trauma centres, and ensure that these centres are always equipped with rape collection kits, care packages* and comfort toys (usually teddy bears). The first step for VAs is to inform the doctor on call, and to debrief the client (i.e. victim) and contain her or his trauma. The VA then provides pre-test counselling, and a nurse draws blood for HIV testing. Whilst waiting for the results, which are returned within a maximum of two hours, the doctor conducts the medical examination and collects forensic evidence. When the test results are back, the VA does the post-test counselling and if the tests are negative, and the rape occurred within 72 hours, the client is given a full course of PEP. After the examination, a statement is given to the police (still at the trauma centre) and finally the client is offered a hot bath and given a care package. All clients are welcome to stay overnight, or for up to two weeks if it is not safe for them to return home. They also have free access to TVEP’s Trauma Counsellor (TC).
*A care package consists of soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, body cream, a “Rape Survivor’s Handbook”, and panties, if the client’s are taken for forensic evidence. TVEP also provides a comfort toy5 , a month’s supply of a nutritional food supplement for those on PEP, and transport subsidies for indigent clients to enable them to return for counselling or re-testing.

TVEP’s VAs are trained in trauma containment, pre- and post-test counselling, basic forensic evidence collection (specifically rape kits), victim empowerment and paralegal support relevant to sexual assault, domestic violence and child abuse. They coordinate the services of role players, collect client data and maintain accurate records, and when necessary, refer clients for professional counselling, either from TVEP’s own TC or from state social workers or psychologists. The VAs also conduct home visits to assess victims’ home circumstances and encourage those on PEP to adhere to their treatment.

TVEP’s PEP adherence rate for the first 6 months of 2010 has averaged 87%. They attribute this to their buddy system of individual support.

We support clients from their arrival at the trauma centre. We record all cases in a profile record book so that we can keep track of the different incidents reported. The police have a rape kit which is used to collect evidence, and once the victim’s statement has been taken and she has been properly and safely examined, we give her a care pack and clean clothes so she can bath and change. The (volunteer) general assistants support us and play an invaluable role, taking the blood sample to the lab, preparing food, keeping the centre clean and recording information in the event book. If it is a rape case, we visit our client on the third day after she reported, to encourage her to keep taking PEP, and assess her home circumstances.
— Tshililo Josephine Hadzhi, Victim Advocate

A soft toy to “cuddle” whilst relating their ordeal – this is believed to enhance recovery

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Safe Houses
TVEP offers safe but temporary accommodation within their trauma centres for victims of domestic violence who need shelter while social workers try to relocate them. Women and their children can stay a maximum of 14 days.

Access to Justice
Once clients have left the trauma centres, the VA reports to Access to Justice, the cluster responsible for monitoring cases through the criminal justice system. This cluster aims to hold government departments accountable to their delivery mandates, ensuring that survivors of sexual assault, domestic violence, HIV and AIDS, and child abuse have sustained access to holistic, efficient and integrated services, with TVEP providing oversight and adding value where necessary.

Our work is about monitoring cases to ensure they move smoothly through the system, and to take issue if there are indications of corruption or malpractice. We also have to bridge the gap in information so that people can access and exercise their rights. One of our major challenges is to reduce the number of withdrawals by victims; and to do this, we need to reduce the turnaround time for a case (the length of time it takes between a case being reported and a conviction or decision being reached) because it is common for victims to become disillusioned and withdraw cases if they don’t see results. This is why we have a “buddy system” where the VA walks with the client throughout the process. We also have case monitors and court chaperones, and a witness room for minors based at the SOCA court to provide support. One challenge that is beyond our control is a shortage of personpower and resources in the Tshilidzi Masikhwa (right) and TVEP supporters in Thohoyandou system. There are so many cases on the roll and many are acquitted because the prosecutor has too many cases to deal with while the lawyer has only that one. So the balance is not even. Also, the shortage of forensic laboratories is a huge problem, as it causes very long delays so, often, the prosecutor will decide to proceed without the forensic evidence.
— Tshilidzi ‘Bear’ Masikhwa, Manager: Access to Justice

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I like the fact that work at community level allows for greater 'real' interaction with implementing agencies and service delivery bodies. This provides valuable opportunities to link 'grass roots' issues with 'grass top' issues at national policy level, as well as to enhance community based advocacy interventions. The potential to assess the impact of programmatic work is also enhanced considerably. Capacity challenges have a negative impact at all levels of the organization. This is hugely frustrating as we have both the history and the potential to become a more influential and effective role player in the Sector. TVEP's weekly, national and community-based radio programming has proven effective when dealing with "taboo" topics such as termination of pregnancy and homosexuality. The following is an excerpt from an email sent by a young man to TVEP shortly after TVEP facilitated a radio discussion on homosexuality: "... I am 20 years old guy, from the village, ... I'd like to thank you for the outstanding job that you are doing. I listen to almost all your talk shows that you have in Phalaphala fm. You helped me as well. I am homosexual. I've been in the closet ever since I was born. But since I listened to that show on Phalaphala fm you had with fellow homosexuals, my life has changed. I'm so delighted to say 'I AM NOW OUT OF THE CLOSET'. I told my parents about my sexuality and to my shock my parents accepted it. Thank you once again, I give you thumbs up!"
— Tian Johnson, Sector Manager: Research, Advocacy and Special Projects (RASP) Recognising the role of sound research-based advocacy interventions, this sector serves several roles:

This cluster assesses past, current and upcoming research and ensures that these data are constantly fed into TVEP’s programmes. This ensures that interventions are relevant. In addition, the cluster attracts and facilitates income- and knowledgegenerating partnerships with research institutions.

This cluster operates at both local and national levels and integrates the programme’s advocacy work.

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Special Projects
This cluster ensures that new interventions are relevant to TVEP’s work; have potential to be resourced; and are seamlessly integrated and, once set up, handed over to relevant operations sectors within TVEP.

Young Perpetrator Programme (YPP)
To address the high rate of juvenile perpetrators, and at the request of the Department of Social Development (DoSD), in 2004/5 TVEP developed and piloted a rehabilitation programme for young perpetrators of sexual offences. While the pilot was successful, the project had to be suspended due to lack of sustainable resources.

Roughly ten percent of reported rape cases involve juvenile perpetrators, some as young as nine.

The Core Services Sector comprises three clusters: Finance, Human Resources and Administration, and Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E). TVEP holds financial accountability to be of primary importance and these clusters ensure that tight financial controls, efficient administrative procedures and comprehensive human resource policies are entrenched throughout the organisation.

The Finance Cluster makes sure TVEP complies with its financial and procurement policies and procedures.

Our biggest challenge is always funding because we need a large Audited by budget to run our projects. ShortPriceWaterhouseCoopers term funding contracts deny our since it began, TVEP has staff and volunteers job security and never had a qualified audit the standard benefits they would find report. elsewhere, such as pensions, medical aid and 13th cheques. This results in a high staff turnover, as they leave us for more secure environments; and this is understandable. This means we have to recruit and train new people all the time, which has a negative impact on our resources as well as our service delivery.
— Emmanuel Radali (Manu), Financial Manager

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Human Resources and Administration
This cluster is responsible for efficient service delivery; day-to-day administration; and securing the institutional memory of the organization. This includes maintaining and ensuring that the internal office network, ‘Shangri-la’, is properly used.

My work includes welcoming visitors, taking calls, making calls for staff, preparing the petty cash journal, making sure the resource library is maintained, and buying refreshments for the office. Sometimes a client may come to reception very angry and it is my job to calm them down and call the right person to help them. For exa mple, a wife may come to the office and be helped; and when her husband hears about this he may want to fight with us. Our policy of breaking the silence is educating communities and empowering people about their rights; and now they know what to do when they experience abuse.
— Lucy Mabuda, Receptionist, Administration Cluster

Before people didn't know about abuse and that it is wrong. Let's take, for instance, economic abuse. Many think this is just the way it should be. Most guys work in Gauteng and just buy a little and don't leave money at home. Our campaigns have helped people see they have rights.
— Tshikudu Nedombeloni, IT and Assets Officer

Monitoring and Evaluation (M&E)
Over the years, TVEP has realized the importance of M&E and this cluster has expanded accordingly. Baseline and endline surveys are routinely conducted to assess the efficacy and effectiveness of interventions. An electronic (ACCESS) database is maintained, which records information such as relevant details about clients reporting to trauma centres, the progress and outcome of criminal cases, numbers of people reached through clusters, and campaign and workshop statistics. The recent purchase of the SPSS programme is expected to considerably enhance the cluster’s ability to produce reports. With the assistance of CIDA, results-based management was introduced in 2009, and is being integrated throughout the organisation. TVEP has entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Institute of Security Studies (ISS) whereby the institute will mine and clean TVEP’s historical data with the intention of including it in a ‘crime hub’ that the ISS is establishing. The institute’s analysis of the data will help to ensure that future interventions and lobbying are evidence-led. Because all victims reporting rape in the Thohoyandou Policing District have to pass through one of TVEP’s trauma centres, a wide range of data are collected on each incident. This gives TVEP a strategic advantage, as its staff can credibly challenge, if necessary, the rape statistics presented by the police.

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TVEP’s role occasionally places it in a position of conflict with government service providers. Because TVEP is seen as a watchdog and because the staff try to hold service providers accountable to their mandates, relationships with government have been tenuous and have taken a long time to build.

We were at a victim empowerment meeting and someone asked a police representative to say how bad rape is in our district. he claimed that 18 cases had been reported in the previous month. On returning to the office, we checked our statistics: we had recorded 34 cases of rape in that same period, and had all the SaPS case numbers to prove it! it took 3 years, but eventually they admitted that our figures were correct.
One of the biggest challenges is when cases are not opened and TVEP therefore knows nothing at all about them.

Some years ago, an anti-rape strategy was introduced by SaPS, and police officers were put under pressure to reduce rape statistics themselves. in the short term, this is impossible. unfortunately, to comply with the instructions, many chose to artificially reduce the statistics by refusing to open cases. TVeP has evidence of this happening at four stations in the municipality.
TVEP subsequently started a rape forum where they could sit with all civil servants with whom they needed to interact (police, doctors and prosecutors) to raise this kind of problem. Although the forum had the full support of SAPS at provincial level, representatives from the district and DoSD refused to attend, and it was therefore disbanded after only three meetings. … but it is sorely needed …

a five-year-old was taken to the clinic. The clinic nurse who examined the child was married to a policeman. She found scarring and fresh wounds on the child’s genitals, and telephoned her husband who told her to send the child immediately to the station, which she did. When the child reached the station, two female officers examined her genitals themselves and decided she hadn’t been raped. They sent her home with instructions to the granny that she should practice better hygiene. They recorded what they had done in the Occurrence Book6, clearly indicating that their actions were condoned. When the nurse’s husband found out what had happened, he asked the prosecutor to intervene. This officer was subsequently disciplined and sent to work in a remote outpost, far from his family. On TVeP’s insistence, an internal investigation was conducted by SaPS and a recommendation made that four officers from the station should face a disciplinary hearing. however, they delayed the process for so long that eventually the case was dismissed.
Another challenge is the misconception, even within the National Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP), that victims must be empowered and counselled when they report their crimes. TVEP has learnt that this is neither possible nor appropriate if the crime is recent, and the victim is still traumatised; people in trauma are not psychologically able to absorb and process information, and make decisions. Generally, they need to

6 All police stations are required to maintain an Occurrence Book, in which they record all incidents, whether or not a case was opened.

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have that trauma contained, whilst someone else takes charge and ensures that correct procedures are followed. Empowerment and counselling comes later, when they are better able to process information. In the meantime, they need the support of someone who will ensure that they access all the services available to them. Some government VEP role players hold the view that once their front-line staff members have been trained, they will always deliver services as they should, despite the absence of civilian oversight. Thus they see no reason for volunteers based at police stations to be trained in victim advocacy. Instead, such volunteers are trained only to provide lay counselling to victims, and tend to ignore malpractices they may witness as they have no impartial person to whom they can report. They have not been fully trained on the Victim’s Charter, so many do not even know to which rights the victim is entitled. This is frustrating, because if the VEP was implemented as intended, and if it was relocated under an oversight body, instead of an implementing department (the Department of Social Development), there is no doubt that South Africa would be leading the world in Victim Services. Fortunately, there are many more ‘good cops’ than ‘bad cops’, but they often have to work with insufficient resources and back-up support.

We have limited resources in the police; and TVEP assists in this regard. They are like an eye opener because they also help by saying 'watch this' or ‘check that’. I am happy about that. All the many years I did not have an assistant, so TVEP helped me a lot. For example when someone was the victim of sexual assault they would compile a report and send it to me. This is very useful. I can write a big book about their assistance. Even now, if I don't see them for a few days I wonder what has happened.
— Superintendent Hobyane, SAPS So relationships with SAPS, while strong and amicable, are complex and have a major bearing on the work of TVEP.

in any large organisation, there will always be a few ‘bad apples’ – we have even had our share in TVeP! But when malpractice is reported, there is a strong tendency for the police to close ranks and protect their colleague – the ‘blue wall’, i think they call it, all over the world. This is sad, as it leads the community to not trust any of them, to paint them all with the same brush. and in the end, no police force can address crime without the support of the community. it is a cycle that can only be broken if SaPS takes strong action against those who discredit them, instead of ‘killing the messengers’.
— Fiona Nicholson
For years we have been lobbying SAPS to use their Dog Unit for rape investigations. Almost all rapists in our district escape on foot, so the dogs could track them easily. We as TVEP could teach communities in our campaigns that they must not disturb the scene of the crime before the dogs have been there. South African police dog training is about the best in the world, so for certain they would help catch perpetrators, especially those who are not recognised by the victim.

— Tshilidzi Masikhwa

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1997 The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Committee (VEC) is set up by the Community Policing Forum (CPF) and the South African Police Service (SAPS). January 2002 A general committee of all stakeholders is formed. 2001 A project coordinator is appointed.

January 2002 The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust is established and formally registered as a not-for-profit organization.

March 2002 Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) provides TVEP with an administrator to assist with establishing the organisation, and to transfer skills.

2004 The Young Perpetrator Programme (YPP), for sex offenders under the age of 18, is developed and piloted with the assistance and guidance of Childline and the Teddy Bear Clinic.

2003/2004 TVEP sources funds to assist three victim empowerment committees – in Vuwani, Waterval and Malamulele.

2004 The second 24/7 trauma centre is opened at Donald Fraser Hospital. 2004 Six clinic help desks are established and advisors are trained to run them.

2003 Cluster The Emotional Support is established and a professional nurse is appointed, along with two fieldworkers

2005 Zero Tolerance Village Alliance (ZTVA) – TVEP’s strategy for encouraging positive changes in behaviour – is started in eight communities. 2008 TVEP’s Tshilidzini trauma centre becomes a Thuthuzela Care Centre.

2005 TVEP Drama Initiative is started.

2008 TVEP attends the XVII AIDS Conference in Mexico.

2009 An historic march results in traditional leaders signing a pledge to fight gender-based violence.

2010 The Vhembe Civil Society Network is formed.

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2001 A volunteer coordinator is appointed and twenty volunteer peer group educators are selected to implement education programmes in communities. September 2001 The first 24/7 one-stop trauma centre is opened. 2002 Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Court (SOCA) opens in Sibasa.

2002 TVEP secures a house in Sibasa for their central offices. 2002 TVEP secures money for workshops, ‘Break the Silence’ campaigns and case monitoring.

2002 Danida approves TVEP’s 3-year Business Plan for direct core funding.

2003 SOCA Court in Sibasa claims an unusually high conviction rate of over 60%.

October 2002 Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is made available to all rape survivors presenting at TVEP trauma centres within 72 hours of the assault and who meet the clinical requirements.

2005 No Excuse for Abuse

2006 More help desks are added.

2005 Historic Women’s Day march involving 498 people – mirroring rape victims reported to TVEP over the past year.

2006 Oxfam Novib takes over as TVEP’s Oxfam partner and agrees to fund TVEP through to February 2011.

2007 The main trauma centre at Tshilidzini receives a facelift.

2006 TVEP is nominated for the Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Award.

2006 In collaboration with Vhutshilo Mountain School, TVEP starts the first ART workshops for children.

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The Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Committee (VEC) is set up, locally championed by SaPS inspector netshithuni and Community Policing Forum (CPF) chair, Joe Tshikovhi, and initiated by the CPF and the SaPS in line with the provisions of the national Crime Prevention Strategy*. Fiona nicholson is elected to represent the business community.
Over the course of the first few meetings, the committee discussed key community needs such as a rape crisis centre, a shelter for abused women and children, and ‘break the silence’ campaigns. The group agreed that their role should be:

*The National Crime Prevention Strategy (NCPS)7
The initiative to develop a national Crime Prevention Strategy began in early February 1995 as a response to President Mandela’s address at opening of Parliament, which raised concerns about crime. among the issues receiving special attention were gender violence and crimes against children. Specialised police units were established to investigate crimes against women and children and to set up victim aid centres at which interdisciplinary services were to be offered to victims of these crimes.

• •

to set up an ongoing victim empowerment project centre;

• •

to educate and sensitize the general public about their rights and the facilities available to them;

to offer support services to victims of sexual assault and domestic violence; and

to empower potential victims with the knowledge and life-skills to defend themselves.

Victim Empowerment was one of the pillars of the crime prevention strategy, and the idea was to bring together all stakeholders as victim empowerment was an issue that cut across departments.

On the 1st November 2000, the doors of TVEP were officially opened from the small room in Thohoyandou Police station. TVEP took baby steps to grow for a little while until we received major funding. Within two years the organisation grew from a one-man show to a staff of eight people and many volunteers who were willing to offer their services to the community. Advocacy has been a strong point for the organisation and TVEP has grown from strength to strength, from raising our voice in the local newspaper, the Mirror, to making ourselves heard through the Mail & Guardian and Sunday Times.
— Hangwi Manavhela (first Project Coordinator of TVEP)


Adapted from an article by J, Rauch,

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A volunteer coordinator is appointed and twenty volunteer peer group educators are selected to implement education programmes in communities.
Their work, at the time, involved running Break the Silence campaigns in communities, educating people about their rights. The volunteers were drawn from the communities they were tasked to educate. Headed by the campaigns manager, the aim of the Break the Silence campaign was to empower communities with information on their rights related to child abuse, rape, domestic violence, maintenance and protection orders. To make sure all areas were covered systematically, TVEP divided Thulamela into ten blocks, each one covered by a volunteer advocacy officer (AO). The AO identified community liaison officers (CLOs) and worked with them to initially draw up a target list of schools, crèches, societies, farms, churches and other bodies in their area. The CLOs received training about issues of domestic violence and sexual assault, and were then sent out with the support of their AO to campaign at each of the identified target villages. Once their area had been covered, the AO moved on to four new communities and repeated the process. The CLOs remained as contact points in their communities, acting as agents of TVEP and providing information to victims of sexual and physical abuse within their communities when and where the need arose.

The first 24/7 one-stop trauma centre is opened.
In partnership with SAPS and the Department of Health (DoH), TVEP opened its first 24/7 one-stop trauma centre at Tshilidzini Hospital in September 2001. The doors have never closed since then.

A project coordinator is appointed.
Hangwi Manavhela, the first project coordinator was appointed.

A general committee of all stakeholders is formed.
In 2001, the Danish International Development Agency (Danida) had offered to fund TVEP directly, with the proviso that the organisation registered as a trust. Subsequently the VEC resolved that they should break away from the SAPS and register as a not-for-profit trust. The committee convened a public meeting at a local hotel, inviting all stakeholders and the auditing firm PriceWaterhouseCoopers to explain what the formation of a trust would mean.

TVET is finally set up.
In January 2002, the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust was established and formally registered as a not-for-profit organisation. Trustees were elected at the meeting and Fiona Nicholson was one of them. Subsequently the board asked her to run the organisation. She accepted on condition that she immediately be allocated someone to work with whom she could capacitate to take over from her as part of a succession plan. The mission and objectives were subsequently developed, and although the trust deed allows TVEP to operate throughout the Vhembe Municipal District, the board decided to initially restrict services to Thulamela, one of the four municipalities in Vhembe.

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An administrator joins. VSO, a uK-based volunteer organisation, provides TVeP with a volunteer to assist with establishing the organisation, and to transfer skills.
This very competent former School Administrator, Felicity Groom, enabled the programme director to focus on developing the programme instead of being bogged down with administrative concerns. She subsequently became a staunch ally of TVEP, visiting every year and helping where needed.

I arrived in Venda in March 2002 as a VSO volunteer towards the end of my professional working life. I was given leave of absence from my position as an administrator in a UK secondary school and was very grateful for this chance to give something back after a long working life. Although I had spent a holiday in Zimbabwe I did not really know what to expect when I left UK for South Africa, despite extensive briefing notes and training. I was totally captivated by the scenery that greeted me in Venda. Not the more familiar dusty African scrub, but mountains, lakes and lots of greenery. My first days were a round of meeting people and trying to get my tongue round TshiVenda names (and failing much of the time). TVEP was located in a small ‘borrowed’ office in the government buildings in Thohoyandou and space was at a premium even for the small number of staff at the time. In May 2002 we moved to our present offices in the small town of Sibasa. The money from Danida came through around then so we set about furnishing the new premises. We had only two paid employees at the time so our biggest task was to recruit a further seven members of staff. VSO’s mission is to share skills with colleagues in developing countries. I helped with the administration and finances until a financial officer was appointed in 2004. I extended my original tour of two years by nine months and left in December 2004. In 2005 Fiona asked me to re-volunteer. She wanted someone to mentor and assist other smaller organisations in Venda and thought that I would be the best person to do that because of my previous experience in Venda. I returned to South Africa again in December 2005 and stayed another two years. From small beginnings, you can see how TVEP has grown. The vision and inspiration came from Fiona Nicholson. She and her colleagues should be very proud of what they have achieved in such a short time and I am delighted to have been a part of it. It was hard work but it was an exhilarating time and I thoroughly enjoyed it! There is a large part of my heart still at TVEP and my ex-colleagues always greet me so warmly. I feel honoured and privileged to have been able to finish my working life in such a rewarding way.
— Felicity Groom (Floss), Volunteer Administrator at TVEP’s beginnings

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Danida approves TVEP’s 3-year Business Plan for direct core funding.
While this directive complicated the dynamics between TVEP and the NPA (which had anticipated the funds for its Thuthuzela Care Centres (TCCs)*) for some years, it enabled TVEP to focus entirely on developing and establishing projects without having to worry about raising funds, for a period of nearly four years.

* Thuthuzela Care Centres are one-stop facilities introduced as part of South africa’s anti-rape strategy, aiming to reduce secondary trauma for the victim, improve conviction rates and reduce the cycle time for finalising cases. They are led by the SOCa unit in partnership with various donors and nGOs, TVeP being their (unfunded) partner in Thulamela.

Sexual Offences and Community Affairs Court (SOCA)8 opens in Sibasa.
Government established the SOCA Unit in October 1999 in order to: “reduce victimisation of women and children by enhancing capacity to prosecute sexual offences and domestic violence cases; reduce secondary victimisation of complainants and raise public awareness of the scourge of sexual offences and domestic violence; and ensure proper management of young offenders.” When first launched, these courts attended to cases of sexual assault and domestic violence only, with specialised officers to direct investigations so that there would be a better chance of securing convictions. Subsequently this was changed, and the SOCA courts now deal with all kinds of cases.

This has had an extremely negative impact on case flow. activists are lobbying to have them return to the original mandate of sexual offences and domestic violence cases only.
— Fiona Nicholson

I started working with TVEP in 2001/2, just after it was established. I was part of the group of the first board of between 16 and 20 members. I met Fiona at a meeting of the newly formed organization and she asked me to assist. At first I felt anxious about joining because I feared a conflict of interest. But then I realized Average number of I’m also an activist in the community. I Domestic Violence cases find that domestic violence and maintenance per month: 100 issues are intertwined; the issues have a bearing on each other and there is always a link between the two.

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One thing that stands out for me is an extraordinary Woman’s Day event, which made a huge impact on many people, including me. For every victim of rape there was a person in the rally wearing a red T-shirt emblazoned ‘No Excuse for Abuse’. Physically seeing this sea of red symbolizing the extent of the scourge was very powerful indeed. I would like to see this organisation grow from strength to strength. There was a time when we wanted to widen our radius. But we are able to assist all who come to our offices. TVEP is about equipping people with skills in problem solving. My approach is not to put people in prison unnecessarily and I believe my role is to improve and empower society as much as I can.
— Maleema Mapula Lebese, Magistrate, Thohoyandou

TVEP secures a house in the grounds of the old South african embassy in Sibasa for their central offices. TVEP secures money for workshops, Break the Silence campaigns and case monitoring.
The first employed staff members were recruited to run workshops and campaigns, and monitor cases reported at trauma centres. After years of conducting empowerment campaigns in the communities within which it works, TVEP came to realise that simply informing people of their constitutional rights would not bring about the changes needed; they need to accept ownership of and responsibility for those rights and to feel secure enough to exercise them. TVEP’s focus now lies in enabling and encouraging people to exercise their rights pertaining to gender and childbased violence, and HIV and AIDS, through appropriate channels and according to appropriate, sustainable methods. Case Monitoring At the time, this programme was headed by a senior case manager and a volunteer case monitors. A case monitor was allocated to each case of at the centres, with the intention of ensuring that all cases move as efficiently as possible through the criminal justice system, and that rights are not further violated. number of rape opened swiftly and the victim’s

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In October 2002, Post Exposure Prophylaxis (PEP) is made available to all rape survivors presenting at TVeP trauma centres within 72 hours of the assault and who meet the clinical requirements (i.e. not already hiV+).
Said to be the first in South Africa to achieve this through government resources, this came about almost entirely due to the courage and determination of Dr Ndwamato, the hospital superintendent at the time, who quietly ensured that PEP was made available – despite the fact that colleagues at other hospitals had been dismissed for doing the same.

Average number of rape cases per month is 45; nearly 60% of these are children

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SOCA Court in Sibasa claims an unusually high conviction rate of over 60%.
Prosecutors and magistrates suggested that this was largely attributable to TVEP’s monitoring of sexual assault cases. The magistrate requested that TVEP expand their services to other districts served by the court, but TVEP had to decline due to limited resources.

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TVEP is an NGO and a watchdog for the public and offers independent monitoring and support services, particularly on sex offence matters. They have stations in courts, which fall under our jurisdiction. When victims are taken to hospital TVEP is there to avoid secondary victimization and provide a free and enabling environment for the victims. They monitor cases until finalisation, including visits. TVEP also intervenes when clients are not comfortable and allow victims to communicate their fears, creating a situation of trust. If the prosecutor is not aware of certain information, they are on hand to collect and supply it. In cases where a family member is the perpetrator the family might try to do away with the case and TVEP may intervene to see justice done. Several victimizations can take place, especially with children. Someone is always here from TVEP to make sure that the child victims are taken care of. They have toys, food and refreshments on hand and a tired child can rest. Also there are many women who are victims. TVEP also requests the contents of dockets and some staff have a knowledge of the law and are capable of monitoring. There are certain situations we are unable to crack, such as behaviours or habits Esau Ngwana (top); and Judy Marindili, TVEP Court in victims; and that’s where they are Chaperone, in the Child Witness Support room able to assess victims, obtaining certain legal information to help us finalize cases. They understand victims who would close up and present information in a certain way. TVEP cares for the kids while I’m busy, and when I call the victim they are really prepared to talk to me and are more receptive to the court process. TVEP monitors even the health of the child and we are able to postpone when necessary. TVEP are a support service, but problems arrive when they intervene with legal issues and the implications of those interventions lie with us. The victims could give them one version and us another. We might think there’s no case and for them there is one; and we clash over interpretation.
— Interview with Esau Ngwana, Advocate, Sexual Offences Court, Thohoyandou

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The Emotional Support Cluster is established and a professional nurse – to offer support to people living with hiV and aiDS – is appointed, along with two fieldworkers to help her monitor survivors taking aRT.
Now called HIV Services, and falling under the Prevention, Empowerment and Support Services (PESS) sector, this cluster was started to ensure that all HIV-related activities, in all TVEP clusters (for example PEP at the trauma centres, and the HIV component of workshops), were coordinated and of the highest standard possible. The team now consists of a project manager and five volunteer fieldworkers, of which three are based at government Wellness Centres. They monitor ART adherence, with particular emphasis on children, and conduct home visits to provide encouragement and support to people living with HIV and AIDS, and their caregivers.

TVEP sources funds to assist three victim empowerment committees, based in outlying areas.
Since it began, TVEP has resisted expanding its geographical reach and the range of its services, preferring to capacitate and partner other CBOs and thus spread the workload. TVEP raised seed funding for the first three CBO partners – Vuwani, Waterval and Malamulele – VE Committees from outlying areas, who were members of Themba le Sizwe, a VEP grant-maker and network. The funds covered basic office furniture and equipment, a salary for a manager and stipends for three volunteers for a period of one year. TVEP further helped to build capacity around finances and administration.

in retrospect, it was premature of us to do this; we did not have enough capacity ourselves, and we had not foreseen the extent of the lack of capacity in them, and it led to a lot of resentment, misunderstanding and frustration.
— TVEP TVEP later raised funds for two other CBOs: Thohoyandou Maintenance Forum and Thanduluso Counselling Organisation. The same challenges were experienced, and subsequently this outreach project was suspended, to be revived years later, employing a different strategy.

A new programme, the Young Perpetrator Programme (YPP), for sex offenders under the age of 18, is developed and piloted with the assistance and guidance of Childline and the Teddy Bear Clinic.
This was in response to a request from the DoSD, in accordance with a national government strategy to ensure that a diversion and/or rehabilitation programme exists in each district.

The second 24/7 trauma centre is opened at Donald Fraser Hospital in February 2004.
Forming the backbone of TVEP’s work, both trauma centres provide invaluable services to the communities around them. Their strategic location ensures that all cases opened in the Thohoyandou Policing District have to come through them. As at June 2010 the trauma centres had assisted 4 394 victims of sexual assault (4 021 female and 373 male) and 7 450 victims of domestic violence (1 143 male and 6 307 female). On duty at each centre at all times are a VA and a volunteer. All survivors of rape and domestic violence reporting in the Thohoyandou Policing District are brought to one of these centres, where they are provided with practical and psychosocial support. With support from the VA, clients can make a statement to the police (if

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they wish), receive counselling and practical advice, and be medically examined at any time of the day or night. As the first person to whom the survivor discloses, the VA remains that survivor’s ‘buddy’ for the duration of the investigation and trial. This is to avoid secondary traumatisation, and TVEP has found it reduces the number of cases withdrawn through frustration with the ‘system’. By conducting followup home visits to each client on the third day after disclosing, the VA encourages the completion of PEP, if it has been prescribed. Dr Ndwamato, who was instrumental in getting PEP to be provided to rape survivors, speaks about the difference the trauma centres have made.

TVEP has developed a Rape Survivors’ Manual which outlines victims’ rights and the processes they can expect, as well as explaining the medications, and providing contact details of their victim advocate and counsellor.

Six clinic help desks are established and advisors are trained to run them.
Based at rural clinics, the help desks now provide communities with advice and guidance on their rights and responsibilities relating to TVEP’s four thematic areas.

My job is to assist the community in the issues of domestic violence, HIV, sexual assault and documentation. Victims of rape don’t have to join a queue at the clinic but can go straight to the police or nurses or me. When we receive them we attend to them immediately and take them to the nearest TVEP trauma centre.
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Before, people didn’t know where to get help. I heard about TVEP on radio Phalaphala. My initial training was two weeks as understudy at another help desk, and then ongoing training from TVEP workshops. The main problems I deal with are domestic violence and others relating to social security where I refer to the South African Social Security Agency (SASSA) and Home Affairs. I have a good relationship with my social workers, and the police and nurses refer to me as well.
— Christine Ratshirumvi, Help Desk Advisor The help desk advisors have a good understanding of the socio-economic issues affecting their community, and are knowledgeable about the national social grant scheme. They have built strong relationships with their community and their local stakeholders. All the advisors have been capacitated on all of TVEP’s core themes, as well as ART adherence, basic lay counselling, and sessions on and by the different government departments they may have to deal with. Training is ongoing and is included in the monthly meeting when the advisors come to the central office for their stipends and report-back meetings.

Zero Tolerance Village Alliance (ZTVA) – TVEP’s strategy for encouraging positive changes in behaviour – is started in eight communities.
For the first four years of operations, TVEP’s empowerment focus lay in ensuring that the target community was informed of its rights pertaining to TVEP’s four thematic areas. TVEP subsequently realized that although people knew their rights, this did not necessarily translate into them exercising those rights. They then held community dialogues to better understand this reluctance to act, and this led to the formation of the ZTVA. In essence, the theory is that if an entire village has been empowered on TVEP’s four thematic areas, and has taken a public pledge not to condone acts of violence or HIV-based stigma, then vulnerable members of that community will feel secure enough to stand up for their rights and report acts of violence. When TVEP started this project, it was over-ambitious and tried to pilot it in eight villages, selected for the high number of assault cases reported in the preceding years. Subsequently the pilot has been downsized to a more manageable two villages.

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Returning home after a community training workshop on “Women’s Rights and Female Condoms”, in Tshiombo

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Another important learning has been that, for the project to succeed, communities would have to take full ownership of the process, and not just ‘buy in’ to it. This has led to a very different way of working, which includes:

• •

the broader community confirming its interest first, instead of just the traditional, civic and church leaders;

The Small Enterprise Foundation (SEF) is partnering TVEP in one of the pilot villages, offering its microfinance scheme to women who meet its criteria.

• •

community members nominating representatives to a stakeholder forum (SF) which is accountable to the people of the village. The SF is required to be proactive in all ZTVA activities, which they must facilitate, approve and monitor. The SF takes overall responsibility for ensuring it meets the criteria for ZTVA membership within the designated time, and appoints its own agent in the form of a community liaison officer to work closely with the TVEP Team;

participatory dialogues, instead of workshops, through which participants contribute their ideas and suggestions; and

partnerships with other NGOs and CBOs where necessary and possible.

The relationship between the village and TVEP is one of the best. Since the inception of programmes there has been a dramatic drop in women and child abuse. This room we’re sitting in was fundraised for by TVEP and is built in collaboration with the community. A women’s football club was started by TVEP. The clinic help desk is functioning so that’s proof that the programme is working. TVEP officials come to monitor the help desk to ensure its smooth running. I, as a chief, respect the kind of relationship and intervention, taking into account all the people who conduct it are not from the village and have nothing to gain and are doing it for our sake. The really interesting thing is the breaking of silence, which is rare and is an act of empowerment. I had never heard of TVEP or the work they do. TVEP people came to our village and went around and then also came to me. I called a community meeting and along with the villagers, we accepted their services. As a chief you need to be wise and engage in activities that will benefit the community and allow such organizations to operate.
— Chief Mathoho Tshiombo

TVEP Drama Initiative is started.
Edudrama has been part of TVEP’s programme for some years now. TVEP identifies local groups, gets them to develop suitable plays, then commissions them to present those plays where necessary. This is seen as an income-generation project as well, to keep youth off the streets. The groups develop scripts on TVEP thematic areas with TVEP facilitating training.

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An historic Women’s Day march
The march involved 498 people who exactly mirrored – in number, gender and age – every rape victim who had reported to TVEP since the previous Women’s Day. This march ended at the Indoor Sports Stadium where a range of events such as dramas, debates and quizzes took place, all promoting an end to the abuse of women and children.

The impact was phenomenal – even some hardened journalists were seen to wipe away a tear, as all these people, with red headbands and t-shirts, entered the hall with their heads bowed, singing a funeral dirge, whilst other women shouted the question “look at these gogos9 and children… did TheY ask to be raped??” TVeP received 90 seconds of broadcasting on all three SaBC channels during the main news. The following year, we were asked by the municipality not to hold an event on Women’s Day, as it detracted from theirs…!

Images of the Women’s Day march and events (photos: TVEP)

No Excuse for Abuse
TVEP received a grant to develop school material tackling its four thematic areas. Four schools participated in the pilot programme, with support and advice from the Department of Education (DoE). Resources Aimed at the Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect (RAPCAN), a Cape Townbased NGO, was commissioned to write two workbooks, for intermediate and senior learners. One thousand copies of each were printed, and tested in the four schools. The Life Orientation educators were taught how to use the books.


Grandmothers, or elderly women (from the Zulu ugogo)

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More help desks are added.
The work of the help desks has expanded to include social marketing of government’s PMTCT programme and the use of female condoms, and conducting community workshops and dialogues.

We now have 15 help desks: one at our office and the others at rural clinics. We help empower on four issues: rape, child abuse, domestic violence and HIV. We also give advice on issues such as access to grants, identity documents, marriage and death certificates, and related matters. In most communities where we have programmes, we find that people can talk now because our helpdesk advisors do workshops too. They speak now; whereas in the past they didn’t.
— Fulufhelo Siboiboi, Help Desk Supervisor

Oxfam Novib takes over as TVEP’s Oxfam partner and agrees to fund TVEP through to February 2011, focusing on a rights-based approach for women and girls, and increased accessibility and uptake of female condoms.
Novib and TVEP agreed on a comprehensive needs-based organisational development process. Given the rapid growth and many changes in TVEP, this process aimed to assist the organization to analyze its dynamics and culture, and develop a roadmap for further development. This process proved to be useful, and served to build a team spirit by ensuring all staff members were involved, irrespective of their position in the organisation.

In collaboration with Vhutshilo Mountain School, TVEP starts the first ART workshops for children.
South Africa’s youngest peer educator, an HIV-positive orphan fostered by the principal of the school, was the catalyst for these workshops. Having overcome numerous HIV-related secondary infections as well as TB, this much loved, healthy and happy child has now been on ART for seven years (since she was four). The ease with which she accepted her status and managed her own medication so impressed doctors that they recruited her help in convincing other children to do the same. So began the workshops.

TVEP is nominated for the Conrad N Hilton Humanitarian Award.
Nominated by the South African office of USAID, this gesture was a significant acknowledgement of TVEP’s work in the community.

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The main trauma centre at Tshilidzini receives a facelift.
Since the renovations, TVEP has been able to offer safe but temporary accommodation at both trauma centres. Up to 20 victims of domestic violence who need shelter while social workers attempt to relocate them can stay in one of these safe houses, with their children, for up to two weeks*.

*Note: This is not nearly long enough to effectively address the needs of the victims, and there is a desperate need for a fullyfledged long term Shelter in the district.

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TVEP’s Tshilidzini trauma centre becomes a Thuthuzela Care Centre.
(See the full story on page 44).

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TVEP attends the XVII AIDS Conference in Mexico.
TVEP’s interest in the conference was spurred by the organisations interest in, and concern about, female condoms being made more accessible to women.

An historic march.
A march organised by TVEP and Sonke Gender Justice results in traditional leaders signing a pledge to fight gender based violence.

The Vhembe Civil Society Network is formed.
The result of a TVEP initiative, this Network provides a platform for the sharing of resources and experiences among CSOs in the district.


In August 2008, TVEP’s Tshilidzini trauma centre became a Thuthuzela Care Centre (TCC) in partnership with the SOCA unit of the NPA. As a government project, TCC staff members are available during work hours only, as the model requires that hospital staff take over the coordination and delivery of services after hours, weekends and public holidays. These are traditionally the busiest times for reporting gender violence and the times when under-resourced hospitals themselves run on skeleton staff. In 2009, only 24% of all rape victims reported during office hours, when NPA staff members were on hand to assist them; the remaining 76% reported after hours and so were assisted exclusively by TVEP staff. Domestic violence victims are currently excluded from the Thuthuzela model, and so are totally reliant on TVEP for help.

Percentage of rape victims who reported during the day, week days: 26 % Percentage of rape victims who reported during Public holidays, weekends and after hours (of week days): 74 %

TVEP continues to support and partner the TCC, hoping that the principle of “prosecution-guided investigations”* will be applied effectively and thus reduce turn-around time and increase conviction rates in cases of sexual assault.
* A SOCA appointed prosecutor guides the investigation from the beginning.

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My story started this way. I was a woman married to a soldier man and we had four children. It started when my husband refused to maintain his children because he was having lots of affairs. That forced me to work for people; washing clothes to have money to buy food for my children, whilst he was still working as a soldier. People like those who knew me, like a teacher, encouraged me to go back to school and complete my grade 12, which I did. One day when I came back from school I found my first-born daughter, who was 12 at the time, raped by my brother-in-law who was 21 at the time. We were living in a remote place in the bush. At that time my husband was no longer staying with us. One day soon after, he came back and said he’d heard of the rape, and asked for the documents pertaining to the rape to take to his mother to resolve the issue. The following day he returned without them, saying if I loved him I couldn’t take his brother to jail. Then he said he wouldn’t be around any longer because he felt his daughter was tricking him and she was causing trouble. One day I came home from a piece job10 to find my daughter crying. Her father had been there and raped her as well, to prove as he said, that she had indeed been raped before by his brother. He disappeared then returned a few days later with a girlfriend at midnight holding a soldier’s bag and demanding I leave the house. When he was out for a while I opened his bag and found a gun and ammunition, which I took to the military base close by. A few days later he returned with a panga11 and threatened to kill me, striking me and choking me. I managed to flee to the police. The children remained in the house. I returned with the police and found my baby – who was one-year, five months – on the floor with a broken arm. Another was also injured. My first-born had marks on her neck. He had tried to chop them. He beat a neighbour who came to assist when she heard the screaming. The police took us all to hospital where we were taken to trauma. There I met Fiona, who took all the information. I felt I wasn’t getting enough protection from the police who had put aside all the cases I’d opened and left me in a vulnerable position. My family said it was better I went back to the family home until the problem could be solved. My daughter complained that she needed to join me but I couldn’t take her at the time. Her father attempted to rape her again and we reported to the social worker but got no satisfaction. He warned me that my daughter was going to make her own grave; that she would die. The next day,
10 11

Once off, short term work A machete

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I was collected by a group of women and taken home, where I arrived to find my daughter dead. She was kneeling with a cord around her neck and had been hanged on a very weak bush, which really could never have supported her body. I confronted my husband who arrived later hand in hand with his mother and claiming jealous boyfriends had hanged her. So TVEP got involved. I asked the police to provide me with shelter. Fiona and TVEP pursued the matter. The chief then gave me this broken house but soon afterwards some people showed up and said the house was theirs and that I needed to pay them rent. TVEP helped me with food parcels and gave me a cleaning job at their offices. When they realized I had grade 12, they organized me an even better job. I told the chief that I now had work and was able to buy a plot, which I did, and have now built a house, which is nearly complete. Without TVEP I was just like a drunken lady going up and down but now I am a person and I have a home. I now act as a survivor on radio and TV because my life is not scattered and my children can grow up knowing what happened. I hope to be a good example to other women.
— Suzan Nyadzani, Manini

I approached TVEP because of the violence at home. I was sick of it. After all the efforts that were done to try to resolve the problem, my husband kicked me out of my house. TVEP volunteers started to build this house. For me this house is like a dream come true. I’d given up hope of ever having a place of my own. My brother, who was sheltering me, has now kicked me out because I’m a sick person who relies on medication and has to eat when taking it. I’m now living with a friend and feel I could move in right now though still so much needs to be done to make the house habitable, but I need some peace and quiet. My disability grant has been suspended and I need piece jobs to survive. I’m still involved with TVEP and they assist me with grant issues as well as invite me to participate in awareness campaigns like 16 Days of Activism, and I speak on their behalf.
— Frida Netshitanini, Ha-Makhuvha Frida has subsequently moved into her house, which was built on the initiative of TVEP volunteers, who dug the ground and raised money for the building themselves.

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TVEP is my umbrella, because wherever I go, whatever I do, and whichever way I look, it is because of TVEP, especially to accept people living with HIV.

Suzan Ravuka Fieldworker

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For many years TVEP has worked together with other civil society organisations (CSOs) in the Vhembe district, partnering where possible to deliver services, and assisting those who need support. On 13 November 2009, under the banner of Building Bridges, TVEP gathered approximately 25 civil society organisations in the district to propose a civil society network. The idea behind the network is to confront challenges and provide a platform for sharing resources and experiences. At the subsequent meeting, in March 2010, it was agreed that the Vhembe Civil Society Network should be formed. A steering committee was elected with a mandate to facilitate solidarity and capacity building of members, and to collectively hold government accountable.

A first for Vhembe
On 21st May 2010, fourteen CBOs (including TVEP) stood in solidarity to present a memorandum, below, to the MEC for Health and Social Development at a summit held in the district.

They organised the entire thing, i kept in the background – there was an amazing spirit of unity that i have craved for years!
— Fiona Nicholson

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TVEP partners with Sonke Gender Justice on the One Man Can Campaign
TVEP partnered with Sonke Gender Justice to organise a march on 6 December 2009 that started at the Thohoyandou shopping complex and ended at the University of Venda stadium. Around 600 men participated. The march was led by religious and traditional leaders. The purpose was to encourage men to take a stand against genderbased violence, child abuse and HIV-based stigma. The New Start testing agency was on hand to provide voluntary counselling and testing services. Traditional leaders signed a pledge to fight gender-based violence – the same pledge used in the ZTVA.

In honour of TVEP’s work, local reggae artist, Colbert Mukwevho recorded the TVEP Song, of which he sold over 40 000 copies direct to the public! In 2003, when TVEP hosted a song competition adjudicated by Yvonne Chaka Chaka and Colbert, Fiona jokingly asked Colbert when he would write a song for TVEP.

about a year later, he wandered in with a CD that blew my brain! Subsequently we burned copies for distribution, and it is still played over Phalaphala fm. Our partnership with Phalaphala was started as a result of this song – they interviewed us and Colbert, and were so impressed with what we were doing, they invited us to have our own weekly show.

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TVEP has established a good working relationship with a number of radio stations. At Phalaphala fm, TVEP has one slot per week and at Univen and Molatjie, both of which are community stations, it has another two slots. These cover a range of issues, including human rights, family, youth and children’s issues, and gender-based violence.

On some issues like HIV, families are opening up (because culturally we tend to hide these things) but people have started to open up on air. Tuesday is TVEP slot night and we create topics from what comes up on the roadshow. We are also closely linked and working together. These programmes and the work of TVEP have made a very big difference in the lives of our listeners. The radio shows have no doubt popularized TVEP and our partnership has opened pathways to the community.
— Interview with Philip Ramawa, Phalaphala fm Radio, Programme Producer and Supervisor of Sub-station

In line with its commitment to long term and sustainable provision of “holistic, co-ordinated and high quality services to the victims of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and the HIV pandemic”, TVEP is involved in a range of advocacy initiatives. Cutting across all of them is accountability monitoring – ensuring that communities learn to hold government accountable to their respective departmental mandates.

South africa has one of the most progressive constitutions in the world, and has developed commendable policies to entrench and uphold the rights of women and children. as we all know, the challenge lies in ensuring that these policies are implemented, especially in patriarchal societies such as Thulamela, where women in particular are discouraged from ever challenging authority. under such circumstances, one cannot expect service delivery to be of an acceptable standard, as transgressors are rarely held to account by either their superiors, or the communities they serve.
— Fiona Nicholson

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Access to female condoms
TVEP is leading the battle for universal access to female condoms, starting with convening the female condom dialogues in October 2008. TVEP participated in the Mexico AIDS conference, specifically to learn more about, and lobby for, Universal Access, and are currently funded to conduct an audit into the procurement, marketing and distribution of female condoms.

Participation in the National Working Group on Sexual Offences
Together with many of its peers, TVEP was active in the drive to amend the Sexual Offences Bill as part of the working group established for that purpose. Subsequent to the promulgation of the bill, the working group adjusted its mandate and is now focused on ensuring its effective implementation.

Involvement with SANAC
TVEP sits on the Women’s Sector as well as the Law and Human Rights Sector of the South African National AIDS Council (SANAC). TVEP is actively lobbying, through SANAC, for a reversal of the current policy to suspend social grants for people living with HIV when their CD4 count has risen to an acceptable level. Because of this policy some people deliberately stop taking ARVs so that they become sick again, and thus go back on the grant scheme. Eventually the drugs no longer work, and they develop full-blown AIDS.

Presentation to the Parliamentary Committee on the Domestic Violence Act (DVA)
One of TVEP’s ongoing concerns is around the Victim Empowerment Programme (VEP) launched by the government in 1998. TVEP has strong reservations about the current placement of the programme under the Department of Social Development (DoSD) instead of an oversight body, and made a submission in this regard to the Portfolio Committee and Select Committee on Women, Youth, Children and People with Disabilities. Their main concern lies in the assumption that government agencies involved with sexual assault and domestic violence will always do what they are required to, irrespective of the absence of oversight or accountability monitoring. Under the present structure, VEP volunteers are trained only in lay counselling, and are not expected to intervene if, for example, a stakeholder (such as the police) mistreats or denies a victim her or his rights. Specifically, TVEP raised concerns about the role of civil society in holding government accountable; the need for a policy framework to support the DVA; the

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inefficacy of the current structure of the VEP; the lack of effective monitoring; and the need for volunteers to be trained in advocacy to ensure that victims can access their rights, no matter how traumatised or disempowered they may be.

UNISA Centre for Applied Psychology (UCAP)
The University of South Africa (UNISA) Centre for Applied Psychology plans to document the TVEP model so that it can be included in a Victim Empowerment text book the centre is compiling. TVEP hopes this will encourage and facilitate the roll-out of its model in other districts, so people can learn from its mistakes and achievements.

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TVEP has grown organically since its beginnings as the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Committee in 1997, constantly responding to needs identified in the communities it serves. Beginning with one 24/7/365 trauma centre and Break the Silence campaigns, TVEP now runs nine projects which, combined, offer a comprehensive range of prevention, empowerment and support services to the people of Thulamela. Its focus has shifted from support and empowerment of rape and domestic violence victims to a broader, more holistic model of integrated services, incorporating aspects of the HIV pandemic not targeted by other CBOs in the District. Many lessons have been learned along the way. From Spray and Pray to Workshops and Dialogues

We made a lot of mistakes and learned a lot of lessons in those early days. We learned, for example, that campaigning achieves little… we call it “the spray and pray technique”, that is: spray the crowd with information, and pray that at least some of it sticks! now we prefer to conduct small workshops and dialogues… the latter, especially, with older people who are encouraged to raise their concerns and suggestions and discuss the challenges they face. That is far more effective. We also knew nothing about baseline studies, so for the first few years were unable to measure our successes or failures.

Community training workshop on ‘Women’s Rights and Female Condoms’, Covenant Church, Tshiombo

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The Development of the ZTVA is a useful example to illustrate this growth.

When we started the ZTVa we made the mistake of trying to pilot it in eight villages. although a lot of people benefited from the workshops conducted, we were never able to bring any of the villages to the point at which they had met all the criteria, and so could take the pledge and be awarded ZTVa status. We reviewed the project in 2009, and realised that we would have to start afresh, targeting only two villages at a time.
The current HIV Services Cluster also illustrates the growth of the organisation. Originally Positive Support Services, this cluster focussed on training TVEP staff and government officials around ARVs. This was in response to discovering an eightyear old child with full-blown AIDS who had not been referred to the ARV programme because, in the words of the clinic nurse, “ARVs are only for adults”. A subsequent survey revealed that, a year after the roll-out of ARVs in the district, not a single nurse at the clinics where TVEP had based their help desks had received any training at all on ARVs. Once this had been addressed, TVEP changed focus to adherence (particularly in children), prevention and stigma mitigation. TVEP prides itself on being responsive and willing to learn.

We had a visit some years ago from a person working for the Greater nelspruit Rape intervention Programme (GRiP). after spending some time at our trauma centres he asked if i realized that we were re-traumatising our victims. i was completely taken aback but interested to hear what he had to say. he pointed out that the victim, having been raped, goes to the trauma centre and relates her/his ordeal to a TVeP Va (then called survivor support officer). The victim is then visited at home by a TVeP case monitor – a total stranger! Then, when the case appears in court, the victim has to interact with yet another person – the TVeP court chaperone. So while we were doing our best and believing we were providing sensitive services to our clients, in fact, we may have been traumatising them further. We were very grateful for this advice, and changed our strategy immediately. now the way we work is that the person to whom a victim first discloses at a TVeP trauma centre is a holistically-trained victim advocate (always a woman) who remains as the victim’s ‘buddy’ for as long as her support is needed. This strategy has resulted in us witnessing the highest PeP compliance rate in South africa. These drugs help protect the victim against contracting hiV from her rapists, so compliance is extremely important.
The organisation’s willingness to learn from others in the sector has been its strength and will continue to guide its development into the future.

Since joining TVEP in 2007, I have learned what it means to be empowered, and the need to “Break the Silence” on abuse. I have gained both knowledge and self-confidence, and although I work in the office I am still able to encourage people to act against all forms of abuse, and also to get tested for HIV and disclose their status. I believe most people are dying from stigma and denial, not from HIV. TVEP rocks! Lushia Maraganedzha, Administrator, TVEP

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Over the years, TVEP has worked diligently and purposefully towards offering a sustainable, practical model of prevention, empowerment and support services for the community of Thulamela. Through an organic and measured growth, the organisation finds itself with a model that is coherent, comprehensive and holistic. But the challenges are ever present and TVEP must continue to influence its environment to create the best conditions for its work and the community.

A key element of TVEP’s sustainability plan is to upscale its lobby for government to accept accountability – and therefore fund – the provision of essential services by the non-profit sector on a programmatic, contractual basis. The government of South Africa has a constitutional obligation to either deliver such services itself, or to fund those that do. TVEP believes that if partnerships with civil society were strengthened so that resources could be shared, and each could be held accountable to the other, more could be achieved.

A survey conducted in 200712 suggested that, in South Africa, more people are employed by the non-profit sector than by the national government, and more even than the mining industry. The fact that many NGOs are also providing skills training lends further economic motivation for government to partner and fund the NPO sector. TVEP’s slogan for the lobby is: “The sustainable funding of the non-profit sector in South Africa is no longer a social necessity – it is an economic imperative.”

Given the high levels of poverty and unemployment in the district, TVEP cannot charge clients for services. However, the organisation is exploring other means of income generation and cross-subsidisation

Research partnerships
Over the past nine years TVEP has generated, and continues to generate, a wealth of useful data relevant to the sector. TVEP is strategically well-placed to facilitate sector-related research through its help desks, trauma centres, fieldworkers and court monitors. This provides an opportunity to develop long-term research partnerships with credible institutions that are prepared to pay for the collection and use of data. Their analysis of the data would further ensure the relevance and efficacy of TVEP’S interventions.


Swilling, M. & Russell, B. (2002) The size and scope of the non-profit sector in South Africa. Durban: Centre for Civil Society, University of Natal.

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Implementation partnerships
Over the years, TVEP simply because there individually empower and the organisation has developed a number of projects in response to client needs, were no other agencies to do so. Initially, TVEP tried to other CBOs to provide services, but this strategy has changed, now works through the Vhembe Civil Society Network.

TVEP is also targeting best practice NGOs in other parts of the country to create viable and appropriate partnerships for delivering services.

TVEP has always been aware of the fact that successful implementation of its interventions should and must result in the organisation downsizing as the need for services diminishes. To this end, TVEP plans to change emphasis from delivering support services, to monitoring services delivered by state agencies to ensure they comply with government policy. TVEP aims to ensure that government policy translates into implementation at district level, enabling TVEP to start downsizing by 2015. To achieve this, the community of Thulamela has to learn to speak out and hold those in authority accountable to their respective delivery mandates.

Training Division
TVEP is one of very few NGOs in South Africa to have been accredited by the South African Health and Welfare SETA13 to provide training in both the fields of victim empowerment and ancillary health services. TVEP envisages establishing a businessorientated training division which will serve to cross-subsidise operational costs.


Sector Education & Training Authority

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When the Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Trust was founded in 2002, we knew we had set ourselves an enormous challenge, as our district was regarded as a ‘hotbed’ of rape, domestic violence and femicide. Our mission, ‘To generate an attitude of zero tolerance towards all forms of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse and AIDS stigmatisation in the Thulamela Municipality of Limpopo Province, South Africa’, is a worthy one. We have become a high profile NGO in the Vhembe District and we are held in high regard by many government departments, funders and other NGOs/CBOs. Our expertise and data is often sought by other agencies researching these issues in rural areas. We wouldn’t be where we are without our supporters – the police, doctors, nurses, social workers, prosecutors, magistrates, educators, pastors, civic members, traditional leaders and healers who so often go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure the wellbeing of vulnerable members of our community. We salute you! We know we cannot do this work without you. The trustees of TVEP continue to offer their expertise and insight to ensure the continued development of the organisation. They give of themselves tirelessly and without hesitation. Thank you, colleagues. Thanks are not enough, however, for the people at TVEP. This team of special individuals commits themselves daily to the vision of TVEP. Led by our programme director, Fiona Nicholson, they work, despite the many difficulties and challenges, to make their vision a reality. I am extremely proud to be associated with them. May God bless you all!
— Johannes Tshikovhi, Chairperson of the Board TVEP’s work is as significant now as it was when it began in 1997. While communities are taking more responsibility for their issues and rights, they need support, information and encouragement. TVEP’s role as watchdog is equally important. Keeping government accountable is a key role of civil society and TVEP has done this despite the complications and challenges it has encountered. TVEP remains committed to the following:

• • • • • •

Women realising their full potential in Thulamela The full implementation of all government policies related to TVEP’s core themes Zero tolerance for all forms of abuse Acceptance of HIV as a manageable disease Mutually beneficial and respectful partnerships with government Fully-funded essential (welfare-based) services

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• • • • • •

Informed communities exercising their rights Revival of the spirit of ubuntu14 Traditional leaders working to align cultural practices to the South African Bill of Rights Batho pele15 principles entrenched throughout government departments An acceptance that with rights come responsibilities A “culture of entitlement” replaced with a “culture of personal accountability”

The community was not aware of their rights, especially women and children, and where to go when being abused. TVEP helped a lot by empowering the community. It was the first organisation in Limpopo around Thulamela Municipality. As a chief I am very honoured to see what TVEP has done to my community; women and children now understand and know their rights because they know that … Nwana a sa lili u fela ngozwini ! (a child who doesn’t cry dies on her mother’s back).
— Chief Sumbana, Deputy Chair of TVEP

An African philosophy of the spirit of people helping and supporting each other Batho Pele means “People first”; the batho pele campaign is a government initiative to build good customer services
14 15

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(Photo: TVEP)

Thohoyandou Victim Empowerment Programme PO Box 754, Sibasa Limpopo 0970 South Africa info@

The cover photograph shows children protest march in which 498 marchers and age, a person who had reported leading up to Women’s

participating in a mirrored, by gender raped in the year Day.

The background fabric is salampore, a thread-dyed woven material derived originally from mattress “ticking” and used for traditional VhaVenda attire.

By C Mann, May 2009

I heard you craved a woman, kicked in her township door, whole bunch of guys, feverish eyes, that woman on the floor. The neighbours heard her crying and shut their ears in fright. Don’t witnesses get stuck with knives when gang-law rules the night? I heard a docket vanished, a cop friend killed the case, and when you pass her on the street you laugh right in her face. Shame on you, Shame on you, Shame, shame, shame, shame, Shame … me on you. Why don’t you stop your lying, why don’t you get real strong, why don’t you face the facts and say, “Woman, we did you wrong.” I blame you on apartheid, on post-apartheid too, I blame you on the fathers who turned their backs on you. I blame you on the schools, the drugs and poverty, but right and wrong is here and now not chained in history. Shame on you, Shame on you, Shame, shame, shame, shame, Shame … me on you. Well don’t you know a woman is made like you and me? She’s also got a heart that yearns for love and dignity. Hey no one thinks you’re cool when you start getting rough, Hey can’t you hear the devil say, “Enough, boys, enough!” I don’t care where you’re hiding, I’ll sing you back in view, so those who love this land can say, Shame, shame on you.

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