Cyber Dialogues summary for 29 November 2011: Gender and climate change

Date: November 30, 2011
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Date: 29 November 2011
Facilitator: Kubi Rama
Theme: Human rights defenders day, celebrating women’s human rights and recognising women and men who are promoting women’s rights in communities










Gender violence is imposed on children due to lack of income to provide for them and as a result they are forced out of school to provide for their families.”- Chobe District Council Gender Committee, Botswana

“In my community I haven’t seen any, but there is a woman who is said to be a ‘man’ in her house. But I feel this is because most people who have been abused in my home town run to her house fro comfort and safety. And most men are scared of her due to the fact that she hits men”. À“ South Africa

“Women should be educated on how best to they can free themselves. Fear is a major problem and insecurity.” – Zimbabwe.

Question one: Please give examples of women and men in your communities who are working to promote women’s human rights and to stop gender violence.  

  • In Botswana there is Ms Ntsabane, Ms Ntombi Setshwaelo, Unity Dow, Local government Social workers, Lucas Taolo; Log Radithlokwa the list is endless.
  • In Zimbabwe Cllr Wendy Chiriri and Clara Mkwara organize community meetings where issues of GBV are discussed openly between men and women. Betty Makoni is another example from Zimbabwe; she is the anchor for the girl child network.
  • Some countries have ‘gender warriors’ who are men who fight and advocate for women’s rights in leadership positions and for their reproductive health.
  • Rosa Namises in Namibia is a gender activist, who empowers women about their rights she also assists them with starting their small businesses.

Question 2: In the research GL undertook in Gauteng to look at the prevalence and attitudes towards GBV we found that many survivors said that there should be more community strategies to address GBV, can you give examples of community activities that are addressing GBV?

  • In Alexandra in South Africa councillor Gwebu runs campaigns. She took shoes of people who died through GBV and she hung them at a bus-stop with messages from their families it was a powerful campaign.
  • Local government must implement skills development programs.
  • People sometimes only hear about the so called groups but they rarely know where they need to go in order to get the help that they need. Awareness raising and information dissemination is a priority.
  • Childline/Lifeline is a phone line, where children can phone in to get help. They also put up performances at schools so that the children can be aware that they exist.

Question 3: Is there anyone doing work on the economic empowerment of survivors? How can we create economic opportunities for women at local level?

  • Rural women are illiterate they will not participate in projects because they have to fill in forms and the long procedures involved.
  • In SA, BEE regulation gives more points to organizations that have more reps in the management.
  • Women can run mines and are able to get licences in Zimbabwe which is a source of employment and empowerment for other women.
  • Skills development programs need to be implemented.
  • Chobe district Council Gender committee runs projects where they equip young girls with training in entrepreneurial skills, partly sponsor community projects and whenever possible the council purchases its products from community based projects.
  • Community gardens in Zimbabwe and Swaziland benefit the whole community.
  • Women need access to money and skills development programmes.
  • Kenya gives women unsecured personal loans and their payslip is their collateral. Women are more willing than women to pay back bank loans.
  • Everything starts in school, young girls should be given an opportunity to go to school so that they can be better and empowered women.

Question 4: How do we ensure that women that women access economic opportunities in communities? What can local councils do?

  • Local councils need to prioritise women and encourage them to come forward with viable business plans.
  • Women should form groups, identify a possible project and look for funding as a group and not as individuals. Botswana already has groups that have grouped themselves.
  • Councils should come with blue prints, local economic policies in which women drive the whole process from formulation to implementation and monitoring.
  • GBV action plans that are drafted with Gender Links are used to get funding from potential donors by some councils.
  • Budgets make getting help from local councils difficult; national government should come up with plans.
  • Councils need to inform women about the opportunities that are available to them.
  • Sensitisation is important, building networks with local chiefs, councillors and community role models.
  • Local councils should create enabling environment.
  • Tenders should be given to companies that have 50% of women representatives in management positions.
  • Councils need to hire the right people at the right time who are also competent to perform their duties and implement policies.


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