Sonke’s vision is a world in which men, women and children can enjoy equitable, healthy and happy relationships that contribute to the development of just and democratic societies.
Sonke Gender Justice works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence, and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS.
Founded in 2006, the Sonke Gender Justice is a South African-based NGO that works across Africa to strengthen government, civil society and citizen capacity to support men and boys in taking action to promote gender equality, prevent domestic and sexual violence, and reduce the spread and impact of HIV and AIDS. Sonke has an expanding presence on the African continent and a growing international profile, through its involvement with the United Nations and a range of other international networks and affiliates.
Sonke recognises that effecting sustained change to gender roles and relations requires addressing the forces that shape individual attitudes and community norms and practices – traditions and cultures, government policies, laws and institutions, civil society organisations, the media and the family – as well as underlying economic, political and social pressures.
Effective responses to gender-based violence and HIV and AIDS require organisations to develop multifaceted strategies and build relationships with both traditional and non-traditional partners. Thus Sonke works closely with a range of organisations and individuals including women’s rights organisations, social movements, trade unions, government departments, sports associations, faith-based organisations, media organisations, university research units and human rights advocates. In addition, Sonke is committed to ensuring that programmes are informed by the perspectives and priorities of those working to advance the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transsexual and intersexual communities, people living with HIV and AIDS, and refugees and migrants. Women, sexual minorities, young people, refugees, migrants and other relevant stakeholders are represented in Sonke’s governance structures.
Sonke recognises the importance of engaged and empowered citizen activism that can both support and hold government accountable. Sonke currently co-chairs the MenEngage Alliance, and embraces the principles of the Alliance to guide the positive involvement of men in gender equality work.
Spectrum of Change
Sonke utilises the ‘spectrum of change’ model, drawing on a broad range of social change strategies that include:
- Partnering with government to promote policy development and effective implementation
- Advocacy, activism and community mobilisation
- Networking and coalition work nationally and internationally
- Capacity building and training with partner organisations
- Innovative communication strategies for social change
- Community education
- Individual skills building
- Research and monitoring and evaluation.
Sonke believes that our work with men and boys must:
- Promote the rights of women and girls and link with efforts to empower them
- Enhance the lives of boys and men and help them to see the benefits of transforming gender norms
- Include and respond to diversities among men – such as sexual, ethnic and class differences – and address inter alia, the specific needs of male prisoners and migrants and men (and women) affected by conflict
- Show the effects of gender norms and inequalities on men and women
- Explore ways to transform gender relations by engaging both women and men
- Address structural and social determinants of gender inequality, first and foremost income inequality and the unequal division of labour.