The National Movement of Rural Women (NMRW) joins members of the South African press and public in celebrating Women’s Day on the 09 August 2023.
The NMRW is a social movement that advocates for constitutional concerns of rural women and communities and procures funds for existing community projects to sustain livelihoods.
The NMRW commemorates Women’s Day 2023 by reflecting and placing emphasis on the efforts of rural women to attain socio-economic freedom, in line with the national government’s Women’s Day theme Accelerating socio-economic opportunities for women’s empowerment, which resonates with the NMRW’s daily mission to improve the quality of lives for constituents.
Accordingly, the NMRW’s Project Support department identifies, capacitates and procures funds for self-started, women-run, rural community projects to turn into mature, income generating enterprises. These projects span various sectors including poultry, gardening, confectionary and brickmaking. This was established with an understanding that constituents cannot be politicised while continuing to be economically marginalised.
Through NMRW’s Social Justice department, the movement educates constituents by hosting workshops informing communities on legislation that is imperative to their lives. These include the Land Expropriation Bill, Witchcraft Suppression Act of 1953, Electoral Amendment Bill B1-2022, Climate Change and Child Maintenance Act. These workshops provide a platform for dialogue and gathering community perspectives that may be taken into consideration during policy deliberations. The NMRW’s department of Social Justice is committed to promoting fairness, inclusivity, and equal access to benefit all members of society.
The NMRW is a non-profit, grassroots organisation founded in April 1990 by a network of 16 women’s ground across the then Transvaal region of South Africa. Before 1990, the network of women had been engaging through the Transvaal Action Committee (TRAC) which was formed in 1986. The NMRW has regional offices in four provinces, namely KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and the North West.
Tasked with the purpose of giving rural women in South Africa a voice, the organisation focuses on project support and social justice. Under their project support work, the NMRW supports projects financially and through capacity building by providing incubation and training workshops equipping the women with the skills such as: financial management, project and business management, tender processes, identifying and appraising businesses, and health and welfare.
The supported projects create employment for rural women and strengthen networks among NMRW members. The projects are wholly owned by community members and assist with improving food security and eradicating rural poverty. Programmes range from agriculture – rear broilers, layers, livestock and gardens – to sewing, beadwork, brick-making, pottery and crafts.
While the project support endeavours of the NMRW ensure that the members in the constituencies where the organisation work are able to earn an income and provide for their families, it is up to the social justice arm to champion and advocate for the rights of rural women; educate them on their rights, laws and policies; and expose rural people to the effects of climate change and covid with a view to ensure understanding of what is happening in the country and dedicate efforts to mitigate against some of these hazards.
Currently, the NMRW’s social justice works on the following topics: Family (Maintenance, and Marriage), Governance (Traditional Leadership and others), Public Security (Climate Change), and Land.
Information is collected from the communities in which the NMRW operates in through the use of pamphlets, workshops and facilitated information sessions. Equipped with consolidated information on rural women’s concerns, needs and experiences, the NMRW forms a vital resource base for law and policy development.
Research gathered is used to make submissions to Parliament and the National Council of Provinces’ reports and bills through forums seeking to regulate and legislate on the above-mentioned areas of interest. Through their social justice work, the NMRW ensures that rural women gain access to constitutionally-entrenched socio-economic and cultural rights by making gender equality and women’s empowerment central to their development efforts.