Swaziland- Lavumisa Town Board

Date: September 6, 2018
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On the southeast edge of the Kingdom of Swaziland on the border with KwaZulu Natal lies the town of Lavumisa. The town is located in the Shiselweni district of southern Swaziland. It is a border crossing point to the neighbouring town of Golela in South Africa.
Synonymous with border towns, it experiences a hive of activity as many people come in and out through this road border post. The Lavumisa Town board is not to be missed as one approaches the border post gate.

The Lavumisa Town board is one of Gender Links Local Government Centres of Excellence in mainstreaming gender. It started working with Gender Links in the Centres of Excellence process in 2011. The council has committed itself to achieving the targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008). Up to date, the town board has 5 male councilors only as no women were elected into power in the previously held elections. However, the town board continues to lobby the community to see the potential in women as leaders and encourages them to vote for women.
This local government institution is highly involved in helping the community through numerous initiatives. The town board has been working tirelessly to respond to the community needs and realities. Their involvement with the community has been critical, as they are the closest level of government to the people.

Young people and people living with disabilities and community members participate in community-based projects and meetings. Around 51-75%, women participate in public consultations. There is only 38% committee chaired by women and only one committee chaired by people living with disabilities. The council employed 4 men and 5 females within management. There is also a number of women involved in non-traditional areas of decision-making for example finance, engineering, works, etc. The finance department is managed by Female Treasurer and Accountant.

The workplace is family and disability friendly; however, there is no sexual harassment policy in place, all cases are reported to the police and (lihlombe lekukhalela). In addition, the council provides 3months paid maternity leave and only a month paternity leave for their employees. Although the council does not have family responsibility but it provides for family flexi time. Lavumisa town council has disability friendly facilities such as the entrance at the border gate, community hall and wellness clinic.  The total number of people involved in care work is 18 of which 13 of them are female and only 5 are male.

The impact of HIV and AIDS on the local community is felt here like in many other parts of Southern Africa. The town board has been able to tackle the pandemic on numerous fronts, giving many people a new lease of life through the support of different groups created in response to HIV and AIDS. The Council supports those living with HIV and AIDS. Asiye Lavumisa HIV and AIDS support group is one of the community initiatives to which the town board offers its full support. This HIV and AIDS support group consistent of 10 women and 5 men and has an indigenous chicken rearing project supported by the town board.

Lavumisa Town board  does allocate a certain budget to gender related projects  although these amounts have not changed through the years.

Category 2016 Budget in US$ 2017 Budget in US$
Resources allocated to promoting gender equality in decision making and public participation. 3351 4189
Recourses allocated to promoting gender equality/family friendly/ youth and disability friendly policies and practices. 3351 4189
Resources allocated to gender-responsive local economic development. 8056920 1000000
Resources allocated to promoting gender/ youth/PWD responsive projects on climate change. 703295 797115

“As the town board, we managed to help the members of this group to draw up their proposal to get funding for their project. We continue to assist them in all their concerns. Members have been able to get some money for their upkeep from the sale of their produce,” says Thobile Jele, Programme Manager and gender focal person for the town board.
“The town board has been helping our support group extensively. It has helped us grow and be in unity. They have even given us their boardroom to conduct our meetings and invited people to come and help us with how best we can roll out this project,” said Mnothisa Phakathi a member of the support group. “They also provide us with transport to transport our chicken feed from the market to the project site. Even in cases when anyone of us falls ill the council readily gives us transport to the hospital. We are grateful for their help and support,” she added.
Mabhekile Mamba another female member of the support group concurs with Phakathi. “The council has been helping us to market our produce. Through the profits we make we have been able to take care of our families financially; we are now economically empowered. They have also helped us in getting help from other institutions.”
To accentuate its efforts towards helping the community fight the pandemic, the town board is employing many strategies, like encouraging women and men to go for voluntary counselling and testing. It is the engaging community members in exercises such as condom demonstration and distribution. Responses to such activities differ as some people still find it an uncomfortable issue to discuss.

Click here to read more about Lavumisa Town board 

One thought on “Swaziland- Lavumisa Town Board”

B M Chonco says:

Ngiyavusela bakaLaZidze, Ngiyavusela nimebeluhlanga lwakaNgwane nine besiDlubuladledle sakaLobamba. Iyavusela indvodzana yenu. Just happy to kutsi natsi sihamba netikhatsi. Manjalo LAVUMISA. Ngiyacela information ngema developments aka Lavumisa. I was born there I will always be proud of that place. Long live LAVUMISA.

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