Australian Minister for International Development and the Pacific, Senator the Hon Concetta Fierravanti-Wells, presented an AUD500,000 (ZAR5 million) grant to Sonke Gender Justice (Sonke) in Johannesburg to extend Sonke’s existing work on community interventions aimed at preventing gender-based violence in South Africa and Tanzania.

Sonke’s proposal was one of 15 from around the world that received a grant under the Australian Government’s Gender Equality Fund in the 2016 funding round.

Minister Fierravanti-Wells presented the grant to Sonke on Monday 30 January during her first official visit to South Africa, where she also had the opportunity to meet two Australian Volunteers for International Development currently on expert placements at Sonke.

“The Australian Government places a high priority on achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment in both our domestic and foreign policy.  Gender equality is also one of the core pillars for Australia’s campaign for the Human Rights Council 2018-2020 term. I am therefore delighted to present this grant to Sonke to extend its work aimed at changing gender norms and preventing violence against women and girls” said Minister Fierravanti-Wells.

Australian funding will enable Sonke to extend its existing work on gender-focused community interventions in South Africa and will fund the introduction of Sonke’s work in Tanzania through local MenEngage Africa partner organisations.

The Gender Equality Fund grant builds on existing support provided to Sonke through the Australian Volunteers for International Development program in which skilled Australian professionals have been placed at Sonke in short and long-term placements.