On Thursday 31 May PULSE was invited to take part in a wellness workshop where the focuses were sexual harassment and child protection. In addition to the PULSE team, all the staff from head office and the Project Officers (POs), Social Officers (SOs) and Band Coordinators (BCs) in all the Field Bands in Gauteng, Free State and Mpumalanga attended the workshop.
Leon Roets, Project Manager of Tirisano Collaborative and Community Engagement Projects from College of Human Sciences was the lead facilitator of the sexual harassment workshop. He made the workshop very interesting, and made everyone take part in a conversation instead of just standing in front talking. The participants were divided into three groups and the groups got different topics to briefly research, discuss and then perform for the remaining groups. One group had to find out about the different forms of sexual harassment. Another group had to make a suggestion on a code of conduct in the Field Band Foundation (FBF), e.g. who reports to whom in the different levels in the organisation if they encounter sexual harassment in their work environment. The last group had to come up with suggestions on how they could use a field band to address sexual harassment and increase the focus and knowledge about this topic in the communities. This resulted in a lot of good and interesting answers and suggestions followed by good discussion around the topics.
Most people are very aware of this topic, but a reminder is always good. What is actually sexual harassment and harassment in general, and where does the line go? The South African Labour guide has a definition of sexual harassment: “(1) Sexual harassment is unwanted conduct of a sexual nature. The unwanted nature of sexual harassment distinguishes it from behaviour that is welcome and mutual. (2) Sexual attention becomes sexual harassment if: (a) The behaviour is persisted in, although a single incident of harassment can constitute sexual harassment; and/or (b) The recipient has made it clear that the behaviour is considered offensive; and/or(c) The perpetrator should have known that the behaviour is regarded as unacceptable.” (https://www.labourguide.co.za/general/600-code-of-good-practice-on-sexual-harassment113)
Sexual harassment has been a big focus all over the world the last year, as it should be, especially after the “me too” campaign. It is nice to see that FBF as well as several other workplaces around the world is taking this issue seriously and focusing more on it.
The last part of the workshop, Wanda Oliver talked about Child Protection, and what you as an adult member of this society have to do by law, if you encounter a child that you suspect is neglected or abused. This is an important thing to address in FBF since the majority of the employees are working directly with children every week.
Written by. Hanna Bakke Negård
Pictures by: Nicky du Plessis and the PULSE team