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Under the leadership of the Provincial Population Unit, the KZN Department of Social Development held the first multi-stakeholder engagement on 5-6 April 2022 in Okhamlamba. This workshop brought together various stakeholders (civil society, traditional leadership, NGOs, LGBTI Community, Youth-Led Organisations, UN (UNFPA & UNICEF), Business Sector, provincial and local government to draft a comprehensive Multi-Sectoral strategy to address Gender-based Violence (GBV), improve access to SRH information, SRH services, economic empowerment and broader sustainable development agenda for the Okhahlamba District.

The workshop was chaired by Dr Nolwazi Dlamini, the Joint Programme (JP) District Coordination Meeting Chair in Uthukela.  Ms Siziwe Jongizulu, UNFPA M&E Analyst for the Canadian Funded Joint Programme set the scene by providing an update on the status of the implementation of the Joint Programme in Uthukela District. This was followed by a presentation by Dr Sunette Piennaar on the Integrated dashboard on SGBV, SRH, HIV/AIDS for adolescents and young women, emphasizing the need to identify relevant and measurable indicators for monitoring progress.

The workshop provided a safe space for open engagement with all stakeholders. The collaborative mood and reflective atmosphere at the Alpine Heath Conference Centre can be compared to the majestic mountains that graciously surround the venue. All participants' enthusiasm and excellent engagement led to the development of a draft comprehensive, an evidence-based multi-sectoral strategy that outlined four main outcome areas and a draft theory of change on Adolescents, Girls and Women, Men and Boys, Families, and Economic Empowerment. This bold step by the Okhahlamba district signifies commitment, accountability, and a sharp focus on measurable results for the empowerment of adolescent girls, young women, and the community at large.

Chief Hlongwane, the traditional leader in the area, reaffirmed his commitment to working with the stakeholders to make Okhahlamba a GBV free zone with rights to access to all services, particularly SRH HIV GBV. The stakeholders applauded this commitment and pledged their support in ensuring the finalisation and operationalisation of the Multisectoral Strategy.