Eswatini: Dr Selena Rathwell

Date: December 8, 2020
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Asinakekelane Organisation – ESwatini: Empowering all Genders to make a safe community

Asinakekelane is siSwati name for “Let’s Care About Each other”. It is a community based organization at Waterford Kamhlaba with a membership from teachers, students, parents, and other community members. Through a number of different campaigns, such as candlelit vigils, performance evenings, and men’s week, the organization has raised awareness for Gender-Based Violence and led workshops on creating a safer community where everyone feels respected and heard, regardless of gender differences.

The ultimate goal of Asinakekelane is to eradicate Gender Based Violence from Waterford Campus and to work with the community in empowering girls and women. The strategy implemented is a combination of student performances, teacher led workshops, panels, discussion groups, and policy changes. We are hoping that our efforts will target every member of the community and lead to an increase in education and conversations around GBV. It is a multi-level approach with members in the student body, teacher and staff groups, PSA, governing council, and alumni.


Changing policies at Waterford including adding a diversity and non-discrimination policy and a consent policy

Student and community members have used art (performance and visual art) to engage the community in discussions around GBV. We also had conversation starters have been placed in communal areas of the school.

There were also workshops in toxic masculinity and toxic femininity have been offered, with a particular focus on cat-calling and on song lyrics. We have scheduled a gender summit which is planned to be held at Waterford and we would like speakers to come from the SADC region and beyond.


We have created a coalition of interested parties. We have lobbied the school for policy change and funding, and we have used social media to broadcast our events. The organization has gained a lot of momentum through a number of different community events, such as Men’s Week, a Candlelit Vigil, Women’s Week, etc. There are 65 student members and 15 regular staff/community members. The impacts of this programme have already been felt within the community. There is a significant decrease in the number of sexual offences reported. There are more discussions around gender and empowerment.

There is a huge change in policy and in the use of gender -inclusive pronouns. As we are an educational institute that works with the community, there is significant impact to be felt both within eSwatini and the world more globally. The students who graduate from Waterford Kamhlaba who have had dealings with Asinakekelane are more empowered, more ‘woke’ and more willing to make significant change in the communities they return to or move on to. Asinakekelane wants to do more work with the community,particularly in empowering women through the use of menstrual cups. We would love to be able to continue to grow.



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