Diakonia Council of Churches

Contact Type Organisation Nickname DCofC
For Front-page usage CiviCRM ID10730
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Main Phone
031 310 3500
Main Fax
031 310 3502
Main Address
Diakonia Centre
20 Diakonia Avenue
Durban, NL 4001
South Africa
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English (United States)
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Organisation Type
A transformed society actively working for social justice.
In partnership with our member churches and organisations, we are inspired by our Christian faith to play a transformative role enabling people to take responsibility for their lives and to promote prophetic action on social justice issues.
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Economic Justice, Environment, Human Rights, Welfare and Social Development
Head Office Province
Provinces Served
KwaZulu Natal
Diakonia Council of Churches’ integrated approach enables benificiaries to become active citizens that have been empowered to overcome despair and apathy, better equiped to deal with challenges that have the potential to hinder their development. Basically, benificiaries are enabled to take controll of their own destiny. Through intensive and systematic interventions, our comprehensive programmes also assists benificiaries with poverty alleviation, issues of gender and abuse, sustainable use of the environment and relieving hunger by teaching people how to grow their own food. Dealing with stress and trauma, promoting and accompanying beneficiaries with healing and reconcilliation, advice and education regarding HIV and AIDS related issues, low financial acumen, youth without direction in life, issues with local government and service delivery, as well as the moral degredation of society. The impact that our work will have in the upcoming year is summarised below under the different aspects of our work. i) ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE PROGRAMME The Environmental Justice Programme is aimed at promoting sustainable environment use, striving for food security, challenging approaches which may upset the ecological balance, and protecting the integrity of all creation. Beneficiaries are also taught about permaculture gardens and shown how to grow their own food. Environmental justice course - The objective of the course is for communities to actively promote and implement sustainable environmental practices. Course participants are exposed to concepts such as climate change, biodiversity, food security, Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) and permaculture. They are also taken on exposure tours to experience first-hand how communities living in surrounding areas are affected by the pollution from big industries. ii) ECONOMIC JUSTICE PROGRAMME The programme aims at building the capacity to understand and claim socio-economic rights for the poor, promoting economic literacy, and access to services, as well as raising awareness of global and macroeconomic links to our economy. Economic Justice Course - The annual economic justice course serve as a basis for promoting economic literacy. The course covers areas such as globalisation, economic systems and economic alternatives. Training of facilitators - The training enables economic justice course beneficiaries to organise and facilitate community-based economic literacy workshops in their communities. iii) SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAMME The overall objective of this programme is to empower communities to be actively involved in fostering peace, healing and reconciliation, increasing participation in democratic governance, as well as enabling social transformation by empowering disadvantaged communities to take charge of their lives. The programme is divided into the following aspects: Self Help Groups, Empowering for healing and transformation and Democracy and governance. A. SELF HELP GROUPS (SHGs) In more ways than one, empowerment aptly describes what Diakonia is all about – helping people to help themselves. The reasoning is that the struggle of the poor will only succeed if the poor themselves play the leading role. It would be counter-productive to provide help without the involvement of the people for whom this help is meant. The participation of the recipients of the service is essential. SHGs strengthen the poor communities and help them to regain self-respect and a place in society. Individuals in poor communities are mobilised to form groups where they are taught life and income generating skills so that they embark on projects which can guarantee them a humane life. In the groups they are empowered financially, socially and politically. The groups are involved in different income-generating activities such as bead-making, thatching, building houses and vegetable gardening. Benefits of the groups are not just financial. Members often find spiritual and emotional support in the groups. “At the end of the day, you can always come to the SHG to get help with your problems”, stated one woman at an evaluation. Once a number of SHGs are strong, they form a Cluster Level Association (CLA). This is an organisation that takes up community issues on behalf of the SHGs. When there are enough functioning CLAs, they form a federation. B. EMPOWERING FOR HEALING AND TRANSFORMATION The depth of pain, damage and hurt in our country, let alone our municipality, is very acute. The high levels of domestic violence, poverty, child abuse, HIV and AIDS, as well as the effects of the historic political violence, have left many people in KwaZulu-Natal with limited capacity and strength to engage meaningfully with their lives. The portfolio has two aspects: The stress and trauma healing courses offered by the DCof C are an effective tool for transforming people’s lives. ▪ Level 1 of the two-level training course enables participants to learn about healing through their own experiences of stress and trauma. ▪ Level 2 prepares them to move on with their lives better equipped to manage their own stress. In addition, participants are motivated to provide a service to their own communities, as well as establish support groups if appropriate. Reconciliation: This encourages communities to prioritise reconciliation issues on their agenda and create spaces for people to talk about diversity issues C. DEMOCRACY AND GOVERNANCE DCofC has a prophetic duty. That means, testifying against injustice and oppression, and being an advocate of human rights, compassion and justice in society. The democracy and governance aspect of our work enables communities to understand their rights as citizens in a democracy as well as how the system of local government works. The purpose is to ensure that beneficiaires engage and lobby public officials and decision makers, to implement policies and programmes that uplift their lives. This includes holding the officiala accountable. Activities carried out under this portfolio include: the formation of advocacy groups, capacity building e.g. on conflict transformation, deepening democracy, voter education, election monitoring and observation. i) HIV and AIDS The crucial issue of HIV and AIDS touches every sphere of life within our communities. All programmes therefore include relevant aspects of this in their work. Diakonia’s approach has been both awareness-raising and preventive, as well as empowering communities to be channels of hope in response to HIV and AIDS. Since 2004 DCofC has, under the international theme for World AIDS Day, prepared a resource book to help local communities and groups to mark World AIDS Day, on 1 December every year. ii) Crime As the effects of ongoing and escalating crime and violence are felt within our communities, we remain constantly aware of opportunties to address the hurt as well as the root causes of this social malady. iii) Advocacy Advocacy is an important aspect of the work and is a vital component to each of the programmes. iv) Gender The gender justice aspect of our work seeks to work for a world where injustice is a thing of the past. It is estimated that In South Africa, a woman is raped every 15 seconds. DCofC run at least two gender workshops a year, that link issues of gender and gender violence with HIV and AIDS. 16 DAYS OF ACTIVISM AGAINST GENDER-BASED VIOLENCE The campaign against violence on women is held every year from 25 November to 10 December, to highlight and protest against the high levels of abuse of women in our society. THURSDAYS IN BLACK CAMPAIGN The Thursdays in Black Campaign has its roots in groups such as Mothers of the Disappeared in Argentina, Black Sash in South Africa and the Women in Black movements in Bosnia and Israel. Thursdays in Black, as a human rights campaign, was started by the World Council of Churches during the 1980's as a peaceful protest against rape and violence - the by-products of war and conflict. The campaign focuses on ways that individuals can challenge attitudes that cause rape and violence. This campaign, which was launched in South Africa by Dcof Cduring the 16 Days of Activism Campaign at the end of 2008, is an ongoing drive to raise awareness and encourage people to work towards a world without rape and violence against women and children. Communities are encouraged to join hands with people around the world by wearing black on Thursdays, to indicate that their protest against the scourge of rape and violence in our communities. It is also an expression of the desire for a community where all can walk safely without fear of being beaten up, verbally abused, raped, or being discriminated against due to one’s gender or sexual orientation. Essentially, wearing black on Thursdays highlights the unacceptably high levels of abuse against women in our society. Both women and men, have committed themselves to wearing black on Thursdays. This is an outward sign of mourning and of standing in solidarity with women who have died at the hands of their partners and signifies a desire to make a difference in our world. Therefore the campaign is an effective tool which ensures ongoing focus on this scourge. i) YOUTH With the increasing levels of poverty, young people in South Africa are increasingly being drawn into the world of drugs, crime and prostitution. Yet, the youth are the future of our country. It is imperative that we address the needs of the youth and educate them so that they become responsible citizens. Dcof C provides platform for the youth to meet and share their challenges. Workshops are also conducted where they learn about their rights, HIV and AIDS, life and income-generating skills. In June 2011, the Diakonia Youth Forum was officially launched. The Forum brings youth from the communities and organisations together, to actively participate in social justice issues.
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