Churches’ Provincial Advocacy Office
Right from the establishment of the KZNCC, we were aware that one of its most important roles would be to help the Church engage with public policy from a faith perspective. A consensus developed that a specialised programme would be the best way to achieve this, so the Churches’ Provincial Advocacy Office (CPAO) was established in 2003. This provides a platform for constructive and critical engagement with Kwazulu-Natal’s provincial legislature and government. It ensures that a Christian influence is brought to bear on the provincial legislature and that social services are effectively delivered, especially to the poor and marginalised.
- Clearly articulating the KZNCC position on current issues and events;
- Engaging with provincial government on key aspects of policy, especially as these affect the poor;
- Facilitating church submissions to policy makers so as to influence policy formulation and implementation;
- Training and supporting member churches and organisations in lobbying and advocacy related to key aspects of delivery;
- Developing the CPAO’s research capacity, and using research undertaken by others;
- Supporting the advocacy and lobbying components of all KZNCC programmes;
- Initialising and supporting community advocacy campaigns
The KZNCAN, which was jointly initiated by church leaders and the KZNCC in 2004, encourages churches and Christian organisations to respond effectively to the HIV and AIDS pandemic. It networks and partners with interfaith organisations and civil society. Its most significant projects are “Men and Gender”, the Male Caregivers’ Programme, and “Sisters of Faith in Action and Advocacy” (SOFIA).
Men and Gender aims to transform men and institutions in the context of HIV and AIDS and poverty. It mobilises and supports men in church leadership positions to influence their peers to change their attitudes and behaviour, in the struggle against HIV and AIDS. The Male Caregivers’ Programme challenges men to become caregivers for people affected by or infected by HIV and AIDS. SOFIA organises women to reflect on and advocate for gender justice and development.
Emphases of KZNCAN:
- Promoting cooperation, resource-sharing and innovation among churches and ecumenical structures working on HIV and AIDS;
- Facilitating liaison between churches, NGOs and government;
- Equipping churches with skills to initiate HIV and AIDS programmes and/or to integrate these into their overall work;
- Devising prevention campaigns and strategies, also for TB and Sexually Transmitted Infections;
- On the basis or research, designing appropriate interventions to support child-headed households;
- Mentoring church-based organisations catering for orphans and vulnerable children;
- Continuing to develop and promote a theology of a caring community;
Emphases of Men and Gender:
- Encouraging and training men to give practical care and psychosocial support;
- Collaborating with health institutions in giving such care;
- Discussing with men how they are socialised into particular forms of masculinity;
- Lobbying government and other institutions about issues affecting this Programme;
- Extending the Programme to additional areas of the Province;
- Supporting Men’s Forums to increase the impact of the Programme;
- Developing materials on gender justice suited to the KZN context.
Emphases of SOFIA:
- Mobilising women throughout discussions about how male children are socialised into a particular kind of masculinity;
- Together with tertiary institutions and seminaries, compiling and analysing stories about how women are impeded from effectively contributing to development and leadership in society;
- Creating spaces for dialogue, networking and partnerships;
- Running workshops and theological reflections on the experiences of women as presented in the scriptures of various faith groups.
Whenever possible and appropriate, the KZNCC encourages participants in SOFIA and Men and Gender to discuss issues of mutual concern.
KZN Land Issues Programme
The KZNCC Assembly of 2007 mandated the organisation to play a more proactive role in attending to land issues in the province. Baseline research in both white and black communities revealed a willingness to meet and find solutions together. KZNCC is now assisting the land stakeholders to find solutions through promoting dialogue among them. The starting point was an understanding that conflicts about land will always be complex and may be resolved with an active and equal participation of those directly involved at local level including church leaders.
- Promoting healing and reconciliation through processes like “Healing of Memories”, “Alternatives to Violence” (AVP), “Non-violent Communication”, and “Managing Diversity”;
- Facilitating constructive dialogue between farmers and farm dwellers;
- Offering capacity-building training for partners and stakeholders in communication, conflict resolution, lobbying and advocacy skills;
- Hosting an annual provincial summit for stakeholders to share experiences, seek common ground and explore opportunities for collaboration;
- Focusing on women living in rural communities and on farms who are affected by land issues;
- Responding to human rights abuses which are raised by any group;
- Publicising inspiring success stories;
- Wherever possible, working closely with other organisations involved in land issues.