Summit 2018: South East District Council

Date: July 10, 2018
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Ramotswa is a village in South-East District of Botswana, southwest of the capital of Gaborone. The population was 27,760 in 2011 census It is the tribal capital of the BaLete, an ethnic majority springing from the Nguni tribe. Ramotswa’s main industry is a wheat flourmill. The village also manufactures metal products. Kgosi Mosadi Seboko of Ramotswa is the first woman to serve as a paramount chief in Botswana. Seboko took on her role as a village leader and representative to the House of Chiefs after her brother Kgosi Seboko II died in 2000. Her presence in the house of chiefs was hailed as a victory for women’s rights in southern Africa. Tlokweng is a village located directly adjacent to the capital of Botswana, Gaborone, in the South-East District. It can be considered part of the conurbation of Gaborone. Tlokweng stands on the other side of the river, and is on the road to the border with South Africa, the border post being just 15 km to the east. The population was 35,982 at the 2011 census. It is now part of Gaborone agglomeration. These villages are what make the south East District. It is currently situated in Ramotswa.

The council has no gender policy but has a gender action plan in place that is known by council staff and supported by the council chairperson. The council’s gender champion is Mr Noge and the gender focal person is Ms Galaletsang Tlalanyane. The council has a gender action plan in place as a guiding policy and a gender committee to execute the gender agenda. Council reports hold sex disaggregated data and the council incorporates gender issues in its mandate.

The council has 8 female councillors amongst 17 male councillors and women make up only 27% of the council management. Women also make up 37% of the overall staff of 943. Most women occupy middle management positions as sub-council chairperson (1), managers (4) and chairpersons of different council committees (6).

The council holds market days every month in different open spaces where 50% of the stands reserved for women. There are two bakery projects that supply primary schools with bread and sewing groups that council buys school uniforms from for orphans and needy children. Council also engages catering groups for workshops. Council’s entrepreneurship finance schemes include the poverty eradication grants and a grant offered to communities for community projects. This year the council financed the South East Sports Association for People Living with Disability, with funds to purchase poultry farming equipment. Council sought the assistance of the European Union to finance Mogobane integrated farming for the disabled and DEBSWANA to finance Otse Letsekela project.

The council economic opportunities are open to everyone however, 70% of the LED projects have been sought out and accessed by women. Furthermore, 5% of tenders are reserved specifically for women, youth and PWDS. The council is involved in tree planting days spearheaded by the Department of Agriculture. There is a disaster committee, through which the council assists victims of natural disasters with food rations, tents for temporary shelter. The council does not allocate land but has facilitated land allocation for 2 men and 7 women. It does not have water and sanitation committees but does have a waste project through waste cages created within the council premises.

South East District Council gender budget for the 2017 to 2018.

Category Budget 2017 Budget 2018
Resources allocated to promoting gender equality in decision-making and public participation $3000 $0
Resources allocated to promoting gender equality/family friendly/ youth and disability friendly policies and practices $4800 $0
Resources allocated to gender-responsive local economic development $33000 $0
Resources allocated to promoting gender/youth/PWD responsive projects on climate change $0 $0

South East promotes SRHR through one on one campaigns, condom distribution campaigns, weekly health talks and wellness days. The district has the health facilities that are open to everyone regardless of their gender or status. There is a special clinic in Ramotswa that is youth friendly, called Emmanuel counselling centre.

Council’s actions towards ending violence include public education through kgotla meetings, workshops and wellness days. It has held commemorations for the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence Campaign and commemorations for June 16, Day of the Africa Child. The gender committee engages council staff on GBV issues during council meetings.

The district has a development committee, which includes the police .This committee   is responsible for dealing with violence issues. The council offers counselling services for victims and perpetrators of violence and engages victims in projects to empower them.

The council has a BALA committee, which the gender committee reports to report its activities to the full council. Council also has a gender focal person who consults with the public through kgotla meeting and workshops.

There is a lack of specific votes for gender activities, which hampers the execution of some of the gender activities. The council also conducts many activities that require attendance and so it affects gender committee’s ability to do justice to gender issues as intended. To deal with this the committee has resolved to advocate for the inclusion of the gender committees meetings in the council schedule of meetings for the next financial year. This will help curb other employees from tempering with its sitting.

Gender is not a one-man issue but an issue that calls for involvement of all thus the council has formed a committee comprising of different departments and all genders.

COE work can be sustained through regular monitoring and evaluation of the implemented programmes and projects and through continuous progress reporting to management. The CEO work can be cascaded to other councils through participating in forums that facilitate information sharing, like the SADC Protocol summits and through collaboration with other councils.

Click here to read more about the South East district Council.

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