Summit 2017- Hlotse Urban Council COE

Date: June 21, 2018
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Hlotse Urban council is located in the   Leribe district and is a very important market town in Lesotho. It is situated on the Hlotse River, near the South African border. The town was founded in 1876 by a British missionary, Reverend John Widdicombe. It was a colonial center until Lesotho gained its independence.

The council has shaped a number of gender-related aspects in the council through sensitization of women and youth on their rights of land and has also created a demand for services regarding land allocation, tittle verification process, resulting in the speeding up of land tittle verification whereby the issuing of leases are easily facilitated. And the Council has a gender action plan done by the previous councillors. It is yet to be communicated to the recent Councillors who have just been sworn in. Most of the activities do not require specific funds but will achieved through using council’s available resources.

There are 13 councillors at Hlotse Urban Council; nine are men while four are women. The council is chaired by a man and deputized by a woman whom they work very well and closely. The council also has four committees of which only one chaired by a woman.

All the resolutions in the Council are reached by ensuring that everyone in the Council is given an opportunity to voice their opinions in all matters to be decided upon. Public gatherings and council sittings convened by the council are open to everyone including people with disabilities, women and youth. Through public gatherings women, PWD and youth contribute in council work by working for their livelihood through projects which improve their lives; they do the tree planting (forest and fruit trees, bee keeping and husbandry) and between 51%-75 women participate.

In terms of council workforce, the council has 11 employees; five men and six women percent women and top management are held by two men and four women which gives women upper hand. The council has more women in non-traditional areas than men, even in the traditional setting there is a greater number of women employed than men.

The council gives three months paid maternity leave for women and after the maternity leave there is also a provision of three months of nursing hours when the mother has come back to work. The council does not have sexual harassment policy and disciplinary hearings are held, but in bigger cases state institutions are consulted especially police stations. There is also flexi time where a person is sick or not feeling well can only call in and not expected to produce sick leave, or sometimes it can be family members are asked not to report to work. The council is well accessible to people and is disability friendly user.

Hlotse Urban Council allocates a substantial budget to gender-related projects for 2017 to 2018.

Category Budget 2017 Budget 2018
Resources allocated to promoting gender equality in decision-making and public participation $0 $0
Resources allocated to promoting gender equality/family friendly/ youth and disability friendly policies and practices $0 $0
Resources allocated to gender-responsive local economic development $13553 $22935
Resources allocated to promoting gender/youth/PWD responsive projects on climate change $27800 $40000

The council does not have financial schemes for women, but it encourages the informal sector to form an association in order for the council to form a public private partnerships  (PPP) the them as they will play a big role in local economic development, for example management of public toilets in the market area. Makhotso Toeba one of the street vendor once said” I sincerely pass my gratitude to the Hlotse Urban Council for realising that we are also people and are equally important like big business in contributing to the economy of this district”. When the council requires a service provider, such notices are made public to ensure that everyone including women, PWD, and youth access this opportunity to make money. During Financial year 2016-2017, a water supply project at a village called SHEBA at Ha ‘Malesaoana was constructed by a construction company owned by a woman.

Also there are no specific LED projects which are earmarked specifically for women but women are given access to tendering for all council projects. So far the council has so far employed 160 casual labourers from jobs created by the council and 121 are women while 39 are only men. The council has also targeted women within the informal sector to empower them so that they can be well equipped

Even though there is no specific policy on climate change but the council has solid waste management projects where women, youth, PWD are equally given access. It is a council’s resolution that during the school holidays, only youth are allowed to work at these projects to gain knowledge and some economic benefit. The council is aware of the climate change and its effects especially on women and is working with Ministry of Forestry to plant trees and catchment.

The council has also allocated land to 99 men and 31 women and this has improved so much because at first only men were the ones applying for the land. And in terms of water and sanitation the council has only 16 members in the committee and ten are women while six are men

There are High Mast and Street lights installed in villages and roads around town however due to high maintenance costs sometimes they do not all function effectively.  And SRHR are accessible to Young people especially women, and PWD as someone can find men and women condom in everywhere such as in Councils, shops and Chief Offices; Supplied by PSI.

Click here to read more about the Hlotse urban Council.

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