STAND UP TO STIGMA

The apparent need to strengthen behavioural change communication in reducing stigma and discrimination towards key and vulnerable populations.

Stigma and discrimination are unfortunately of the learned behaviours rooted in perceptions and actions of our communities. Due to diversity, our communities developed a set of norms and values that are either based on culture and religion practised for many decades and with customs and rituals relevant and important to this day. These norms for many years made it normal to discriminate against persons who could not conform to the societal acceptable norms. Stigma and discrimination were highly encouraged and viewed as part of strengthening societal acceptable norms. Diversity was shunned, and generations learnt to stigmatise and discriminate because their actions were justified by societal norms.

Some of the gross human rights violations endured in our communities are because of actions informed by the stigma and discrimination caused by societal beliefs and norms.

To reduce stigma and discrimination in our communities we need to use an evidence-based communication model that is aimed at changing behaviour. The human rights violation documentation process is very helpful in building the evidence needed to develop this much-needed communication model that should be used to educate about human rights; respect and inclusion of key and vulnerable populations and changing human rights-violating behaviours.

Due to the advancement of mass communication platforms, which includes traditional media, social media, and digital communication channels, a behavioural change communication strategy developed must resonate with an array of audiences reached by all these channels of mass communication.

Human rights educational content needs to be easily available in all media and communication platforms, similarly to other behavioural change communication like dieting and physical activity. Up until we have this strategy that is well-coordinated between state organs and civil society, with strong stigma and discrimination reduction call to action message, easily available in all languages for consumption the impact of interventions to reduce human rights-violating behaviours will prove to be limited and not far-reaching.

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Blog by Mongameli “Mongi” Masabalala

For more information and interviews, contact:

Refiloe Menoe – Media & Communications Coordinator – CCF

refiloe@showmeyournumber.org.za

078 400 3182

ABOUT COMMUNITY CONSTITUENCY FRONT (CCF)

The Community Constituency Covid-19 Front was established in March 2020 as a formal advisory body to facilitate the participation of civil society sectors and networks, including those represented in the national response and implementations of Community-Based Measures in response to the novel Coronavirus (Covid-19). The Community Constituency Covid-19 Front promotes an inclusive, competent and responsive civil society that effectively serves the needs of communities by linking and diversifying civil society actors, expanding the sector’s response and ensuring better coordination, thus improving operations, and enhancing connections between civil society organisations with government, business labour, their stakeholders and beneficiaries. The Covid-19 Front aims to provide a hub of information and contacts for distribution and engagement through our members across the country.