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Addressing gender-based violence in Southern African mining communities

Reos Partners
August, 2023

Discover how Reos Partners supported Anglo American Platinum to develop a robust, systemic approach to addressing gender-based violence across 11 operational sites in Southern Africa. 


Addressing gender-based violence (GBV) is a strategic and legal imperative for Anglo American Platinum (Anglo Plats) but more broadly, GBV as a ‘problem’ is not linear and technical – it is multidimensional, social and complex.

Reos Partners has experience with tackling GBV at systemic levels and an understanding of addressing GBV in the mining sector. In the last two years, we have worked extensively across wider Anglo American business units on GBV initiatives to strengthen the businesses’ GBV prevention and response work both internally and within mining communities. Our specific work with Anglo Plats spanned 6 months in 2022 and worked across the organisation’s 11 operational sites.

The challenge

Historically, GBV in the mining sector is endemic and normalised. In 2022, the leadership of Anglo Plats developed a Stand against GBV:

“We are unconditional in creating a respectful, inclusive and safe working environment to ensure that no colleague will be violated or harassed under our watch” 

The Stand and associated Living with Dignity Hub was announced at a global leadership conference in 2022. To implement this intention, the organisation realised that they first needed to understand why current efforts were not sufficiently effective and where there were obstacles to change. Based on this sensing phase, they hoped to create a more effective strategy to address GBV. 

Our approach

The following principles guided our approach:

Integrated: Shaping and influencing existing programs to link and enable Anglo’s desired culture through its work, aligning with strategy rather than creating new initiatives;

Leader-led: Owned and enabled by each member of Anglo and supported and role-modelled by leaders rather than managed by a separate team; 

Living: Co-created and continuously updated as needed to help Anglo Plats thrive through change, adopting real-time insights and updates in building its path forward.

The objectives for the 6-month process were the following: 

  • Understand how GBV was showing up on site and people’s lived experiences.
  • Understand the effectiveness of previous GBV campaigns and constraints that limit what can be achieved.
  • Identify potential entry points for prevention and response interventions to shift the culture around GBV.
  • Build a sense of agency for site-level champions to make a meaningful contribution to the culture shift of addressing GBV.

Anglo Plats aimed to address the systemic root causes of GBV as part of its internal culture change processes. Key to this approach was to set up different levels of integrated “governance structures” involved in response and prevention at different sites. At the operational level, site-level governance structures were established made up of individuals, across functions and the community, regarded as well placed to be “GBV champions”:

  • With an interest and passion for working on GBV
  • Well respected as a changemaker
  • Able to commit time and represent diversity of perspectives.

Reos designed and facilitated two-day workshops across all of the operational sites of Anglo Plats and multiple engagements aimed to build the capacity of these individuals to lead on GBV:

  1. To have difficult conversations
  2. Champion GBV interventions
  3. Convene events in the workplace and community
  4. Act as a sounding board and advisor for site-level leadership
  5. Foster a wider sense of community in delivering on GBV efforts


Inception – June 2022

The project kicked off at the Senior Leadership Team Summit, with a GBV lead team and Advisory Panel from Anglo Plats that presented the GBV stand. At the event, there was a GBV “spotlight” which focused on creating a “leader-led” approach to addressing GBV. 

Current-state analysis – August - September 2022

Reos conducted sensing work that encourages deep listening, understanding the systems, processes and current behaviours, initially through new governance structures: Operational Reference Groups (RG) were set up and onboarded. 

Capacity building – September - October 2022

Reos conducted 2-day site visits across 10 operations to begin site-level sensing, listening and capacity-development work with Reference Groups. On-site interviews with RGs including training on how to have conversations about GBV. 

Synthesis and communications – October - November 2022

The sensing work from operational site visits was distilled into key themes from sites as well as proposed interventions and recommendations for ongoing work. Site-level communications materials were also developed with their communication teams.

Recommendations – November 2022

Reos developed a proposed 3-year roadmap with recommendations for addressing GBV, a synthesis report and sensing findings. Anglo Platinum launched their GBV organisation initiative called Lighting the Way


A significant outcome of this work has been to activate the organisation’s awareness of how GBV presents itself at Anglo Plats, and ways in which it can be addressed – through building awareness and communicating across the organisation, to integrate efforts through governance structures – inside and outside the gate, across operations and functions, working on both prevention and response strategies.

Reos presented a roadmap of 6 areas of intervention over the next 3 years, which the organisation has taken forward.

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