Once again, Sonke Gender Justice men and women in communities across Network has enjoyed an exciting and busy year – a year of learning and growth.Within the region, the vital importance of Sonke’s work is underscored by the persistently alarming rates of HIV infection as well as pervasive violence fuelled by gender inequalities and poverty. While the past 15 years have seen considerable progress in many areas, we have more recently begun to see some of those hard-earned gains eroded and rolled back. Our moment in time is all-too-often characterised by misogyny, homophobia and xenophobia; these negatively affect the lives of all members of society, but women and children in particular. Faced with such challenges, decision-makers and policy-makers often seem to grasp at quick fixes and hope for magic bullets.
Many organisations that have invested heavily in the very important and often time-consuming work of challenging culture – and through that gender inequality and injustice – often struggle to secure the sustainable support they need to continue those efforts. Sonke is fortunate to have gained the confidence of a wide range of donors that have supported and partnered with us in helping communities strengthen citizen involvement, foster
a culture of human rights, and achieve greater gender equality and social justice.
Our growth over the past year suggests that Sonke’s vision resonates with donors, the media, government, other non-governmental organisations and with ￼￼￼South Africa and the region. In order to ensure our vision remains as vibrant and relevant as possible, we are undertaking a strategic planning process, starting early in 2009, that will allow the organisation to maximise its impact in South Africa and beyond.
Sonke’s remarkable achievements to date would not have been possible without the commendable efforts of the co-directors and a committed and visionary leadership team whose energy, passion and skills continue to grow and to strengthen both Sonke and the communities we endeavour to serve.
Finally, I wish to acknowledge the collective leadership of our Board, who through their energy, inspiration, dedication and good humour have consistently ensured that governance issues of the organisation are prioritised.
Chairperson, Sonke Gender Justice Network