Alumnus spearheads campaign to end domestic violence against women

Assistant Brand Manager at Unilever, Ms Genevieve Fynn

Tea has always been a facilitator of conversations; even difficult ones about such topics as domestic violence. Which is why it made sense for a brand such as Joko Tea to take up such an important cause.

UKZN alumnus Ms Genevieve Fynn, Senior Assistant Brand Manager for Joko Tea at Unilever South Africa, spearheaded a campaign – #EndDomesticSilence – aimed at challenging domestic violence against women in South Africa and supporting those who have been affected.

‘My passion involves helping people. My most recent work with Unilever and Joko Tea has seen me create and lead this important but daunting initiative,’ she said.

Fynn, who graduated with a Bachelor of Commerce Honours in Marketing and Management in 2014, said the theory learned during her studies at UKZN provided her with the foundation she needed for effective practice in the business world.

The #EndDomesticSilence initiative is an attempt to help women survivors of domestic violence to be heard and to obtain the help they need. Forged in partnership with People Opposing Women Abuse (POWA), it was launched in September 2019.

The campaign is designed to spread awareness of the damage caused by staying silent in the face of domestically violent relationships. It also provides support, information and access to safe spaces, in order to help victims of violence end their silence.

Fynn and her passionate project team worked tirelessly for 18 months prior to the campaign launch to ensure its success and that it could reach survivors of domestic violence at scale.

The iconic red Joko packaging has been changed to include a powerful purple #EndDomesticSilence message containing essential information for women who want to talk about their abuse. The initiative is also supported by a full 360 degree marketing campaign that includes a dedicated domestic violence resource hub (www.joko.co.za).

Since the launch of the campaign, Joko has helped to increase the number of women assisted by POWA by 31% and has also helped to raise over R4 million for POWA through donations. ‘Seeing both my own and Joko’s purpose come to life has been among some of my proudest moments,’ said Fynn.

‘The initiative has given me the utmost joy and fulfilment as it has allowed me to be a catalyst for change at such scale for an issue that is so rife and alarming in our country,’ she added.

In what is believed to be a first in South Africa, Fynn has also succeeded in introducing a 10-day domestic violence leave allowance at Unilever SA. The new policy, dubbed ‘haven leave’, is part of the company’s response to widespread violence against women in South Africa. Staff at the company now qualify for up to 10 days’ leave per year to deal specifically with the consequences of domestic violence.
‘The latest wave of outrage on the issue of gender-based violence validated our actions and encouraged us to add the much-needed new leave policy for our own staff,’ said Fynn.

To young women feeling like their dream is unattainable, Fynn said, ‘If you want to make a difference, start somewhere! Too often we think that our influence won’t make a difference, but many efforts, big or small, can often make a big impact. Also, make sure you love what you do and fight for what you believe in. I can almost guarantee that your passion will shine through and that is what will set you apart.’

Written By

Lungile Ngubelanga

Lungile Ngubelanga

Lungile Ngubelanga is a Journalist and Assistant Public Relations Officer at UKZN’s College of Law and Management Studies, former Publications Officer and Assistant Project Coordinator at the Centre for Creative Arts. She graduated in 2015 from UKZN with a Bachelor’s Degree in Media and Cultural Studies.

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