This year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign in South Africa will be taking a new approach which will see the government participating in a series of dialogues with community members.

The 16 Days campaign will be launched on Nov 25 under the theme, “Count Me In: Together Moving a Non-Violent South Africa Forward”, to encourage South Africans to act for a safer society for women and children, says Minister of Women, Susan Shabangu.

The government will convene national dialogues in all district municipalities to bring the scourge of violence against women and children to the fore to provide an opportunity for communities to share personal stories and find collective solutions to end the violence and abuse.

Briefing the media here Tuesday on this year’s 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign, Shabangu said the dialogues would not only engage women, but also with men’s organizations.

“Sessions will be held separately with women and men to allow them to participate more freely. They will then be brought together because we think it’s important to bring the men because there’s violence because of them .. but mainly it is about how we deal with that and how do we change the mind-set,” she added.

The dialogues will also include public education to help raise awareness. Furthermore, they will help the government assess the responsiveness of the criminal justice system.

Shabangu also said it was important that the 16 Days campaign was not viewed as a stand-alone event. “It is another leg of the #356DaysCampaign and #CountMeIn, which aims to mobilise members of society, especially men, to join hands with government against child and women abuse. The voices of men are crucial in the fight against violence and abuse.”

The 16 Days of Activism and national dialogues will be launched at Lebowakgomo in Limpopo Province.