The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-based Violence is an annual international campaign that begins on November 25, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and goes until December 10, Human Rights Day. This campaign started in 1991 to call out and speak up on gender-based violence, and to renew our commitment to ending violence against women, girls, and 2SLGBTQI+ individuals.

The International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women was designated in 1999 by the United Nations General Assembly. Human Rights Day honours the date the United Nations General Assembly’s adopted and proclaimed the Universal Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1948.

In Mozambique, gender-based violence is the focus of a government-sponsored campaign addressing the problem. Addressing gender-based violence is also part of our project’s activities. In discussions with the community-based health committees where our project works, we engage local leaders, both women and men, in bringing the problem to the fore and finding ways to deal with it. Mozambique’s recent law prohibiting it has provided a vehicle for education and prevention.

Story-based teaching tool

We developed a story-based teaching tool to initiate discussions, based on interviews with rural women in our partner communities. In our work, we are learning that although gender-based violence is frequent and too often accepted, there are indications that attitudes and behaviours are changing.

During this year’s 16 Days of Activism, the project will also be hosting district-level round-table discussions on safe abortion access. The events will incorporate discussion about Mozambique’s against gender-based violence and will involve community leaders alongside representatives from the health, education and justice sectors. Together, we hope to galvanize the response against gender-based violence in all its forms.