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South Africa, like the rest of the world, has been severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. As part of its Covid-19 response, UNFPA donated Personal Protective Equipment/ Clothing (PPE/PPC) to the Eastern Cape Department of Social Development. The MEC for Social Development Siphokazi Mani-Lusithi invited UNFPA, as a strategic partner, to be part of the EXCO outreach from 1 -4 September 2020 in Alfred Nzo district, which is one of UNFPA’s priority districts. The outreach would also serve as a handover of the Personal Protective Equipment and Clothing (PPE/ PPC)- consisting of soap, masks, aprons, hand sanitizers to the rural community centres and projects that focus on Victim Empowerment.

The centres and projects visited mainly focused on issues of Victim Empowerment with specific reference to marginalized and vulnerable communities. The four (4) centres visited were: Mzamba Victim Support Centre & Sinezinto Multipurpose Centre in Mbizana, and Thusanang White Door Centre of Hope & Mejametalana Bakery and Confectionary in Matatiele. UNFPA’s “Leave no-one behind” principle was put to action as these community based projects are in the deep rural areas where access to basic services still remains a challenge. Of utmost importance is the involvement of young men in the fight against GBV in communities as well as a multidisciplinary approach wherein the community leaders, i.e. Institutions of Traditional Leadership and Ward Councilors’ are supportive of the initiatives. The mandate of the projects visited was directly aligned to the mandate of the UNFPA as well as the priorities of the recently approved UNFPA 5th Country program.