Bushbuckridge: A new OMC project and study

For the next three years, Dumisani Rebombo, Sonke’s One Man Can National Manager, will run a new One Man Can (OMC) project in Bushbuckridge, Limpopo. Bushbuckridge Local Municipality (LM), in the central lowveld, plays host to Wits Rural Facility (WRF), not far from the Kruger National Park.

The WRF performs a wide range of community service activities, including training, legal support, lobbying for better infrastructure, and organisation. Its service, research and teaching activities are aimed at improving the lives of people in the Bushbuckridge area and including issues relevant to the lives of rural people on research and teaching agendas in South Africa. This makes Bushbuckridge LM an ideal community to work with, as there are facilities and a basic structure from which to operate. The project is currently in its initial phase, and is set to expand in the near future.

three-year trial and control groups

The community comprises 25 villages, and OMC activities will be implemented in only 11 of them. This is in order to provide empirical evidence of OMC’s effect on behaviour change and its impact within communities by comparing statistics between the trial and control groups. The 25 villages will be monitored for incidences of gender-based violence including rape, HIV prevalence, health-seeking behaviours including self-reported habits of condom use, and more. After three years these data will be compiled to assess the tangible effects of the OMC campaign.

The goals of the project are to equip and motivate community members both to prevent HIV, gender inequality and gender-based violence, and to intervene when they identify violence in their communities. Because the specific needs and social structures of each community differ from place to place, mobilisers and Community Action Teams undergo training and education in navigating these structures to most effectively and sensitively implement the campaign in their areas. Ongoing training provides CAT members with a wide range of relevant skills and knowledge, including reporting, networking, health education, refugee and migrants’ rights and advocacy on local platforms.

continuous training and support

The mobilisers, who hold greater responsibility managing the teams, participate in extensive training that focuses on leadership skills. Components of the training motivate mobilisers to cultivate greater personal insight and improve their public speaking and workshop facilitation skills. Towards the beginning of their involvement with the campaign, mobilisers shadow workers at Sonke and other partner organizations to learn about and develop skills in the variety of processes involved in running and coordinating a project within an organisation. They also receive intensive ongoing training through supervision, Train the Trainer programme, refresher courses and capacity building modules.

thanks Dumi!

We thank Dumi for coordinating this project and we expect exciting research and results to emerge from this new undertaking.  Watch this space!