The Zonta International convention in Orlando USA in 2014 celebrated the work and commitment of 1200 clubs world-wide. At this convention the Zonta Club of the Adelaide Hills’ Expect Respect project was awarded 6th place for an outstanding service project to improve women’s lives.
The Zonta Expect Respect Project is a Primary Prevention strategy that takes the issue of family violence to a community level. It benefits women and their children in the community by providing a forum to challenge the historically-entrenched beliefs and behaviours that create power imbalances that can lead to violence against women.
The project was run as a pilot in 2012, modelled on a similar project conceived by the Zonta Club of Beaudesert in Old, and has been expanded in subsequent years with great success. The project has received an award at the 2014 Zonta International Conference for Outstanding Service, a Zonta District 23 Service and Advocacy Award in 2017, and the S.A. Premier’s Community Service Award in 2014 and 2017.
The Zonta Club of Adelaide Hills’ project is targeted at children in years 4 and 5 at Mount Barker Primary School and Mount Barker South Primary School and is incorporated into the school health curriculum. The children are introduced to the issue of respectful relationships and the rights of the child during a workshop run by Mount Barker Police and a Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service Counsellor. The workshops encourage respect for all, introduce the concept of gender equality, cultural diversity, and challenge stereotypical gendered roles. Posters are produced by the children reflecting the learning and these are used to produce a calendar for distribution in the community.
The community focus of the project ensures maximum visibility with a two week display of the children’s artwork in the Council Public Library, with Zonta information featuring prominently.
Young adults from local secondary schools receive education to highlight the issue of domestic violence and both groups of school children take part in a public event in Mount Barker on White Ribbon Day to demonstrate their commitment to cultural change in attitudes and to receive recognition by the community for their work and for their interest in their civic responsibility.