Description: In the Vhembe area of Limpopo Province, the police in partnership with the Zion Christian Church (Z.C.C.) commenced an anti-rape educational programme in 2004. With the co-operation of 50 leaders of the Z.C.C., some 5700 people in 8 churches have addressed about the rape crisis and rape prevention methods. The Church provided venues and catering plus, most importantly, moral "clout" in the area.
The project is run out of the police offices at Vhembe, under the enthusiastic control of Captain T. W. Mutepe, with the blessing of the Area Commissioner and the Provincial Commissioner. 12,000 pamphlets of Safety Hints Against Rape, have been distributed in the area. T-shirts, rulers, and other mementos bearing anti-rape and family abuse messages have helped swell public consciousness as to the problem.
The Police have now met with other Church leaders in the area, such as the Apostolic, the I.C.P. and the Pentecostal Churches; they are buying into the project. The project targets no only rape, but also, child abuse, domestic violence, the dangers of drug and alcohol abuse. There is a positive aspect in their propaganda, which is moral regeneration, and the restoration of strong family values. Finances are minimal, as venues and food have been provided by the Churches and handouts and pamphlets provided by the Provincial Health authorities. The extraordinary success of the project is that the rape rate (against nationwide trends) has declined by 4% (09/06/05)
Innovation: The idea of utilizing influential Church leaders and their facilities to spread an organized anti-rape and violence message on an unprecedented scale is impressive.
Effectiveness: The figure of 4% decline in rape says it all.
Poverty Impact: The project is aimed at addressing the inner person, hence the benefits are not tangible, but it is envisaged that over time, behaviour patterns will change that will positively affect the lives of impoverished people.
Sustainability: Most costs are taken up by the Churches, who have an on-going commitment to making the project succeed. The police and the provincial authorities are equally committed to making a success of the venture. To date this outreach has cost the police organizers only R15, 000. Their assessment of the lifespan of the project is "continuous".