A local South African charity Rock Girl is one of just 20 organisations from around the world to receive a With and For Girls Award this year.
As part of the award package, Rock Girl will receive US$15,000 of flexible funding and capacity building support.
The With and For Girls Awards is a global initiative to identify and support strong local organisations working with and for girls.
The charity – based in Cape Town, South Africa – is recognised for its work to create safe spaces for girls in South Africa and provide them with the skills and tools needed to break free from a life of violence.
In the gang-rideen township of Manenberg, Cape Town, children witness the horrors of violence and daylight shooting on a daily basis. Chances are high that, by the time they are teenages, they will have joined a gang or been a victim of gang violence.
In addition to the dangers such violence poses to children in general, South Africa has one of the highest rates of rape and sexual violence on the continent, putting girls at higher risk.
Rock Girl’s first project was the design of a “safe bench”, placed in a school as a violence-free spot where the girls could gather safely. This inspired the Safe Spaces campaign, which created real and symbolic art spaces in some of the most dangerous places in Cape Town and Johannesburg in a bid to raise awareness about violence.
In 2015, Rock Girl on the Road began taking high school girls on road trips across South Africa where they are trained as reporters and photographers. The aim is to create a new generation of women journalists, advocates, and adventurers who are equipped with the skills and knowledge to speak out about the injustices they face.
Girls discover their country, share their stories, and advocate for solutions to the common challenges they face. Their experiences are documented on social media channels and blogs as well as in print and digital publications.
Girls are at the heart of the decision-making process at Rock Girl, with the Rock Girl Charter guiding all the organisation’s activities and reviewed yearly. Rock Girl has reached 10,000 people since it was set up in 2011.
Muna Wehbe, CEO of Stars Foundation –
“These 20 outstanding organisations demonstrate the power of grassroots movements and girl leadership to effect change, both in communities and in the world at large. The Collective is proud to be supporting the With and For Girls Award winners with flexible funding, which is still a rare asset for most grassroots organisations. We want to encourage more funders to trust and invest in girls to address the challenges that they face in their everyday lives. By doing so they are changing the future for the millions of girls worldwide who face discrimination simply for identifying as a girl.”