SWAGAA- Swaziland Action Group Against Abuse is a non-governmental organization which has been working tirelessly for over 20 years to eradicate Gender-Based Violence (GBV) and Human Trafficking in Swaziland.
SWAGAA has adopted an integrated approach to prevent and respond to GBV in Swaziland through the following thematic areas: Prevention, Care and Support and Access to Justice.
A Swaziland free of Gender-Based Violence where human rights are respected and all live in peace and harmony.
Engage local communities in fighting against Gender-Based Violence through Prevention, Care & Support and Access to Justice.
Seek local government’s subvention for GBV survivors’ services.
- Integrity and Honesty
- Innovation and Excellence
- Client Orientation
- Respect for all Human Rights and Gender Equality
- Participation and Inclusiveness
SWAGAA’s Thematic Areas:
1.1 The Girls Empowerment Program
The prevalence of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) cases in Swaziland especially on girls is drastically high consequently being used as a tool of humiliation and subjugation hence the introduction of the Girls Empowerment Club Program (GECP) which is one of two of SWAGAA’s currently available prevention programs.
Introduced in 2008, the SWAGAA Girls Empowerment Club Program was adopted from The Girl Child Network (GCN) concept In Zimbabwe.
As a pilot project for Swaziland, the Girls Empowerment Club Program started with 6 schools between the years; 2008 & 2009 including both primary and secondary schools and to this day, the Girls Empowerment Club Program boasts an array of 2040 empowered and knowledgeable girl members!
Club Program Goals:
- Increased awareness about what abuse is, how to report it and how to prevent it.
- Increased knowledge and understanding about human trafficking, drug use & abuse, safe-sex practices and HIV/AIDS awareness.
- Improved self-esteem and public speaking confidence.
- Improved academic performances and lower drop-out rates.
- Community involvement in nurturing the girl-child.
- Offer a sense of friendship and unity within each club.
- Enlightened dreams of potential career opportunities amongst the Swazi girl-child.
1.2. The Women In Network (W.I.N) Project
Women in Swaziland still continue to face unequal social, economic, legal, political and cultural treatment. Some laws still treat women as minors and second class citizens, despite the 2005 Constitution's Bill of Rights declaring that women should be free from any form of discrimination or abuse.
SWAGAA and COSPE continues to work together in strengthening the existing women’s coalitions through meetings, dialogues, trainings, and through co-planning and co-evaluation activities thus building the women’s capacities and confidence necessary for higher level of socio – economic and political participation.
To this effect, the SWAGAA W.I.N Project, supported by the European Union through COSPE seeks to support civil society in consolidating democratic practices and promote the respect of all Human Rights.Pioneered in the previous year (2015) for a one-year period, the project also seeks to further reinforce effective mechanisms for the promotion of women rights, participation and representation of women from rural areas in the national decision-making process.
2. Care and Support:
SWAGAA offers comprehensive psychosocial counselling services to survivors of abuse and their families. As part of the counselling program emergency rescue, services to survivors of abuse are provided through professionally trained case managers.
In instances of difficult or complicated cases that are hostile, SWAGAA through the assistance of the civil society provides assistance by removing the client from the dangerous and negative atmosphere and placing them in a safer environment. In addition to this, a process of referring clients to other service providers including the Police, Health Facilities, Safe Havens/halfway houses and Legal Assistance is facilitated.
There is currently a high incidence of child sexual abuse in Swaziland; however the availability of specialist to provide appropriate care and management of child survivors is very limited. SWAGAA has managed to establish a child counselling unit with one (1) child counsellor; however, there is a great need for extensive capacity building and strengthening of this service to ensure the adoption of specialized skills and techniques for management of child sexual abuse cases.
SWAGAA’s counselling Sites in Swaziland:
Manzini Main Office
opposite Council of Churches: Monday to Friday -8:00am – 16:30pm
Mbabane Government Hospital (OPD): Monday to Friday - 9:00am – 15:00pm
Hlathikulu Government Hospital: Tuesdays - 9:00am – 3:00pm
Simunye – Social Welfare Office: Tuesday and Thursday - 8:30am – 16:00pm
3. Access to Justice
The Legal Unit
Improving the lives and experiences of survivors of abuse in the criminal justice process is a continuing priority for all stakeholders in the fight against GBV. Survivors have unique experiences of victimization, their gender, their relationship with the perpetrators and their communities together with their own personal characteristics.
It is therefore through this unit that SWAGAA seeks to provide legal assistance to survivors of Gender-Based Violence in order to access legal recourse when required. This program has extensive collaboration with various key stakeholders including the Police, Law Society, the office of the Director of Public Prosecution (DPP), Magistrates, etc to support clients in accessing justice.
The Court Watch Program (CWP)
The alarming rate of attrition in cases of GBV in Swaziland swiftly motivated the establishment of the Court Watch Program in 2010 supported by UNFPA, Crossroads International and SWAGAA. The 2007 UNICEF report on child abuse provided an insight into the gravity of the levels of GBV in Swaziland showing that 1 in 3 females under the age of 18 had been sexually abused and 1 in 4 had experienced physical violence in their childhood.
The CWP focused on collecting qualitative and quantitative data within court proceedings to monitor the effectiveness of trials of cases relating to GBV within the local judicial system. Monitoring tools were developed and tested on five cases (adapted from Canada and WILDDAF, Ghana’s programs). Moreover, monitoring guidelines were developed for SWAGAA employees to use.
Throughout this process, a court watcher sat in the respective courts documenting their observations and further conducted interviews with key role players in the systems who were engaged in discussions on their thoughts about the issues that may affect the ability for survivors to gain access to justice.
The conclusion of this Court Watch Program evidently proved
that despite the collective application of existing domestic legislations, the
Roman Dutch Common Law principles, Constitutional provisions and precedents and
principles from academic scholars in trials of sexual offensive cases, there is
still the need for more stringent protection to ensure all survivors of abuse
(children, women and men) are provided with effective legal protection against
sexual offences and GBV. This protection however, can only be enforced through
the enactment of more progressive legislations such as the Sexual Offences
& Domestic Violence Bill (SODVB) to complement and support the existing
As the lead organization in framing the national agenda on
GBV, SWAGAA partners with multi-sectoral stakeholders to provide technical
expertise on best practice in GBV prevention and response. Examples of
collaborative action include: The Gender Consortium and other NGOs, the
Children’s Consortium, the National Multi-sectoral Task Force on violence,
Human Rights and Governance Consortium, HIV/AIDS Consortium, Sexual
Reproductive Health & Rights (SRHR) Consortium, Adolescents SRH technical
working group among others.
Physical Address: EFR Lot 126, Esser Street, Manzini, Swaziland
Mailing address: P.O. BOX 560, Matsapha, Swaziland
Telephone: (268) 2505-2899 and (268) 2505-7514
Fax: (268) 2505-8643
Together, the battle against all forms of violence will be won.
of Peace and Harmony