Cummins AME raises awareness about gender-based violence during 16 Days of Activism campaign

In recognition of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (GBV) from 25 November to 10 December, each of the country entities of Cummins Africa Middle East (AME) is hosting site-led GBV webinars to engage external community partners or SMEs on this crucial topic. “This will allow us to reach deeper into the workforce across our region and spread the message to more employees,” comments Lamona Rajah, Diversity and Inclusion Leader, Cummins AME.

After the steep rise in global incidents of GBV in 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdowns in many countries, Cummins AME focused primarily on maintaining regular engagement  with its female employees to ensure they were coping. In 2021, the focus shifted to what it termed Courageous Conversations about GBV, engaging both male and female employees about the topic.

This was accomplished via a regionwide webinar on GBV with expert panellists from external NGOs such as Lawyers Against Abuse from South Africa, the Women’s Safehouse Initiative from Nigeria and FIDA from Uganda. Each speaker demystified GBV, educated viewers about its various forms and the resources available to victims or family and friends of victims, while also addressing assistance for perpetrators.

“We learned through our initial GBV webinar in 2021 that the resources and laws around the topic differ from country to country. Therefore, we want site-led initiatives where our employees obtain relevant information to deal with GBV either as victims or observers who want to do something to help,” says Lamona.

The aim is to engage in regular conversations about the topic to destigmatise and demystify GBV. “The more we can shift the mindset that it is taboo and should be hidden, not spoken about or help not sought due to cultural reasons, the more impactful our work,” says Lamona.

Assisting people to identify what constitutes GBV and how to address it will mobilise more people to action and spur them to challenge the status quo across societies when it comes to GBV. Cummins AME also has an Employee Assistance Provider (EAP) to offer help to deal with the impact of GBV.

Cummins’ core values of diversity, equity and inclusion shines the spotlight on instances of inequities and injustices against different demographic groups. The company has taken a bold stance against inequities facing girls and women around the world via its Cummins Powers Women programme.

The programme affords Cummins the opportunity to improve the lives of girls and women in the communities in which it operates, and effect change through tangible efforts. “We want to be a positive force, not just within our company, but in the world. That starts by being courageous enough to highlight the issues nobody wants to talk about and creating a more just, equitable and inclusive world for all,” says Lamona.

Lamona’s message for the 16 Days of Activism against GBV in 2022 is that “the most significant shift we can make as a society is when we see something, to say something.” For example, the government has urged citizens to report instances of abuse they may hear of or observe, even if not in their immediate families. “More can be done to socialise the specific steps, contact details and process,” highlights Lamona.

“Very often, when observers who want to prevent a tragedy from happening call the authorities, they may not get a response or assistance. Sadly, many women die every day in our country and across the world. There is a prevailing disposition that ‘It is not your business’ and ‘Do not interfere in family matters’ which have made people turn a blind eye. Society can be a powerful source of change around GBV and it starts with individual accountability,” concludes Lamona.

For more information about the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence, visit:

https://www.unwomen.org/en/what-we-do/ending-violence-against-women/take-action/16-days-of-activism.