Taverns are important social centers in townships, and it seems they can play a big role in encouraging good behaviour and keeping community values in place for people in the area. A project launched and supported by Mzansi’s liquor industry has made a contribution towards raising community awareness of gender-based violence (GBV).
Patrons who took part in a series of Tavern Dialogues on gender-based violence show an increased awareness of the issue, and a willingness to do something about it, according to an assessment report conducted by the NGO Mzansi Act Now.
The report assessed the responses of participants before and after the sessions and showed a shift in attitudes.
The Tavern Dialogues were held under the banner of the National Liquor Traders in 100 taverns in GBV hotspots in Gauteng, North West and KwaZulu-Natal over the past year, supported by Distell and with Mzansi Act Now facilitating. Tavern Dialogues were also held in the Western Cape, but these did not form part of the report.
A total of 1 881 people took part in the sessions in seven key townships over a five-month period.
Before the sessions, just 30% of participants said they could see the importance of eradicating GBV, only 10% said they knew of someone who had been a victim of abuse, and only 10% said they would report cases of GBV in their area.
But once they had taken part in the dialogues they showed greater awareness. During the events patrons were taken through an educational process and awareness training on GBV, including an assessment of their knowledge, behaviour and attitude towards GBV, .
After the sessions, 100% of respondents agreed it was important to eradicate GBV, 80% said they were aware of someone who had suffered abuse and 100% said they would report cases of abuse in future.
Tavern dialogues drive change
Convenor of the National Liquor Traders, Lucky Ntimane, said taverns were important social hubs in townships and had a leading role to play in influencing positive behaviour and upholding community values.
“Our taverns need to be safe spaces for positive social interaction, which is why, along with these Tavern Dialogues, we also have a responsible trader programme, to ensure outlets promote a culture of responsible drinking.
“Through these Tavern Dialogues, we are able to reach men and encourage them to lead in changing the behaviour of those who abuse women and children. The Tavern Dialogues are held in areas with the highest incidence of GBV as reported by the Minister of Police in the crime statistics,” Ntimane said.
Distell Southern Africa MD Wim Buhrmann said the company was committed to promoting a culture of responsible alcohol use and working for a better South Africa.
“We will continue to partner with government and industry to be a catalyst for positive behavioural change that makes a lasting difference. The Tavern Dialogues are just one example of how we can do this successfully.”
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