Masimanyane has 14 offices in the Eastern Cape, with our largest footprint in Buffalo City, where we have 10 service offices.
We have a dedicated presence in the region's two biggest magistrate’s courts, as well as in four police stations and a clinic.
We offer services at two Buffalo City Thuthuzela Centres, located at Cecilia Makiwane Hospital and Grey Hospital in King William's Town. Further afield, we also provide services at Thuthuzela Centres in Butterworth, Libode and Mthatha.
Masimanyane also has a dedicated office in King William's Town that focuses on HIV/AIDS counselling, testing and community education services. We recently established a shelter for women in distress.
Masimanyane, in light of the organisation’s vision and mission, defines its overall aims and objectives as:
To decrease crimes committed against women and girl children..
To provide appropriate and effective services to survivors of violence against women, as well as support services to women and girls affected by HIV and AIDS.
To increase levels of knowledge and understanding of the dynamics of violence against women, the gendered aspects of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, women and girls’ sexual and reproductive health and women’s human rights.
To advance women’s rights and gender quality in society.
Masimanyane's Justice Advocacy Programme works to ensure that community concerns and challenges are appropriately and effectively addressed through relevant laws and policies.
Research, documentation and advocacy are key components of this programme, along with leadership development and training for effective community engagement with policy makers.
One of the recent projects in which Masimanyane engaged was a review of the proposed legislation on gender equality.
We conducted research with women’s groups throughout the country to document what they thought the Bill should address, and held a national conference to develop an alternative Gender Equality Bill.
We have utilised international instruments and mechanisms such as the CEDAW Shadow reporting process and the Optional Protocol to CEDAW in which we called for an inquiry into the high levels of domestic violence in South Africa.
In the past we used the Universal Periodic Reporting System to raise concerns about the trafficking of young women and to address specific sexual and reproductive health and rights concerns.
MASIMANYANE WOMEN'S RIGHTS INTERATIONAL's work is located within the human rights framework and is aligned with the three principles of the convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women which are substantive equality, non-discrimination and state accountability.
We work in both urban and rural areas with a stronger focus on the most marginalised communities. Masimanyane’s strongest asset is its vast rural network and its strong footprint in Buffalo City Metro and the Eastern Cape province.
More than 135,000 women and girls who have survived rape, domestic violence and other forms of sexual assault have benefitted from the social support services provided by Masimanyane’s Women's Rights International. In addition, our community-based programmes reach more than 50 000 people each year, half of whom are children and youth.
Masimanyane hosted the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women during a country visit in December 2015. Her office requested Masimanyane to facilitate her visit and to identify civil society organisations for her to meet and interview. The visit was of huge strategic significance and Masimanyane successfully organised the visit and hosted her at two events.
Masimanyane developed a Human Rights Charter for HIV Positive Women. This charter was developed over the period of two years in which extensive research was done with women living with HIV across the country. Their experiences of discrimination were documented. The women then worked with us to develop a charter that informs government and all other sectors of society on ways in which they can end discrimination against women and girls.
In August 2015 Masimanyane established an International Network to End Violence against Women and Girls (INEVAWG). The network has partners from 5 continents who elected Masimanyane to head the network.
PIONEERS: The initiators of the International Network to End Violence against Women and Girls.
Masimanyane was admitted by the High Court of South Africa (Western Cape Division) as amici curiae In a case of a forced child marriage. This was a precedent setting case because it was the first in which a man for convicted for the abduction, trafficking, rape and forced marriage of a young girl citing customary law as a right.
In 2012, Masimanyane undertook a significant project when it applied the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the elimination of all forms of discrimination against women by asking the CEDAW committee to conduct an inquiry into the high levels of violence against women in South Africa. This Inquiry request, submitted in October 2012, will hold the state accountable for reducing levels of violence against women and girls and securing the SRHR of those whose health is adversely affected by domestic violence.
Masimanyane’s work was recognised by the national Minister of Justice when we were appointed to form part of the team who developed the current Domestic Violence Act (1998). Our knowledge of the CEDAW convention informed the development of the DV Act and we included Article 1 of the convention in the preamble. We developed expertise on the act and its application and continue to share this learning with local communities.
Masimanyane developed the first Shadow report presented to the United Nations in 1998. It was a thematic report that focussed on violence against women and girls in the country and its intersectional with all aspects of women’s lives making it the first even thematic shadow report. We submitted a subsequent shadow report to the CEDAW committee in 2010.
Masimanyane in association with Norwegian Church Aid has conducted training to strengthen the women’s networks in the Middle East on working with UN Security Council Resolution 1325. We contributed towards the establishment of 7 counselling centres.
We conducted a study into the impact of the CEDAW convention on women at the grassroots for the Parliamentary committee on the Improvement in the Quality of Life and Status of women in 2000.
We contributed to a review by the same committee into the impact of HIV/AIDS on women for the same parliamentarian committee.
Early in its existence, Masimanyane conducted an exploratory study into the experiences of women in the criminal justice system which led to the establishment of a temporary sexual offences court that addressed a 5 year backlog of rape cases. Once it had reduced the backlog the court was disbanded and cases are now heard in the court itself.
At a provincial level we have assisted the government to develop an Anti-Rape strategy which is being used by all arms of the criminal justice system.
Masimanyane was part of the disaster management development process and we worked to ensure a gender perspective into the development plan.
Masimanyane currently has a member on the BCMM youth council who is contributing to the development of a youth strategy.
Masimanyane has most recently work on the issue of child forced marriages in the Eastern Cape. In 2014/2015, Masimanyane partnered the Commission of the Promotion, and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL) in conducting research into this harmful cultural practise. The investigation has informed a white paper on Ukuthwala and will be reviewed in the drafting of legislation by the South African Law Commission.