Famsa doing its part against GBV

Famsa conducting its Count-to-Ten programme at Grassland Primary School.

The Bloemfontein branch of Families South Africa (Famsa) has been running a programme on gender-based violence (GBV) called Count-To-Ten at different schools in the Bloemfontein community.

The Count-To-Ten programme is a primary prevention approach, drawing on cognitive behavioural strategies and promoting self-regulation techniques to create a world without violence for all. “It was a campaign that we initiated in 2017, but due to the response of the community it eventually became a programme which we’ve developed over the past four years,” said Ingrid Bell, director of Famsa Bloemfontein.

According to the 2017/18 Famsa annual report, Count-To-Ten originates from the words of a prisoner serving 27 years for killing his wife. When asked what advice he would give to prevent violent outbursts, he said, “Count to ten. Stop and think before you act.” He elaborated that he was a violent man, but if he had only stopped and thought it over, his life might have been different and his wife still alive.

Currently the non-profit organisation (NPO) runs the programme at various schools in Bloemspruit as well as at Atang Primary school, which also functions as a satellite office because it caters to the community as well.

According to Nombulelo Nokoane, a social worker at Famsa, should the NPO receive enough funding, they will certainly expand the programme to other schools. “That is actually the dream to have CountTo-Ten running not only at schools, but in corporate business areas as well,” she said.

The programme focuses on the following core elements:

  • Call to action – create a world without violence;
  • Significance of lifeline – stopping violence is a matter of life and death;
  • Target – the campaign has four colours signifying women, men, children and families;
  • Desired impact – raise awareness that violence is a choice and there are other options than reacting with violence. This encourages people to stop and think before they do something in anger and may regret later;
  • Scale-up strategies – coalitions to replicate the campaign in cooperation with Famsa affiliates by expanding the campaign into programmes to address limiting social norms, values and violence intervention.

“The Count-To-Ten GBV programme is more than just a school outreach. It also focuses on dialogues with men, women empowerment as well as training and skills development,” Bell concluded.

To get involved or volunteer at Famsa, you can contact them at 051 5252 395, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FamsaBfn, visit their website at www.famsa.org.za or send them an email to info@famsabfn.co.za.

Justine Fortuin