HACT has recently launched a new girls’ empowerment and self defence programme which is proven to reduce rape by up to 50%. Known as “IMpower” the intensive training programme designed by No Means No Worldwide, teaches girls and young women aged 10-20 years, how to identify risk, say “no” effectively, and if that doesn’t work, how to use physical self-defence to escape danger.
Facilitated by HACT’s team of qualified trainers, the 6-session programme has already been completed by over 500 young girls and women with a further 100 new participants set to start this week. HACT’s CEO, Candace Davidson says the response to the programme has been incredibly positive with many more young girls keen to take part in the coming months as word of the programme spreads, “with the extremely high rates of sexual assault and violence against women and children currently taking place across the country, a tragic situation which has been exacerbated by COVID-19, this proactive intervention is essential for our local communities where issues of gender-based violence are rife. With its focus on empowering and uplifting those most vulnerable, HACT is very proud to be spearheading timely and much needed initiatives such as this. ”
HACT is currently one of only a few organisations in South Africa who have facilitators trained and certified to deliver this highly effective programme which is being introduced in selected districts across the country. This initiative is also designed to help boys and young men understand that all forms of violence, including rape and sexual harassment are not acceptable, as well as practical strategies for how to recognize when girls or women are in trouble and how to intervene safely. To protect against COVID-19 spread, HACT has adopted a risk adjusted strategy to include symptom screening, PPE, strict physical distancing, sanitisation and cleaning of shared surfaces as well as delegated safety officers at all training sessions.