Arne Angeline Toto – Madagascar

Arne Angeline Toto – Madagascar

Date: May 29, 2012
  • SHARE:

After two years of working with Gender Links, I am more self-confident; I am sure that I will bring about changes in my community. I will never forget the blessed day when Gender Links came to our village. I am the Chief of Fokontany, in the council of Antanamitarana, Diégo II, Madagascar. Two years ago, Gender Links started giving trainings in our council; my first workshop was in August, 2010.

As chief of the village, my responsibility consists of dealing with all administrative matters in my village. I was used to dealing with all of life’s problems alone, because my husband left us when my children were still very young; this turned me into a gender activist. I created an association of women in the village, and became the president.

Gender Links gave our village council training about the issue of gender, and the importance of gender equality in development. We were given explanations of the differences between sex and gender, and how stereotypes play out in our lives. This first workshop was very interesting for me, because I didn’t fully know these nuances. After the training, I was better able to engage with and convince other people, particularly men, on the importance of gender as an issue. I found I could engage men positively on the issue, instead of threatening them.

But, the most significant workshop for me was Stage 5, where we were taught to use internet. It was the first time I had ever used a computer, and I must say, it was difficult for us to be taught the internet when we hadn’t even mastered computer use. However, we managed to understand everything, and it allowed us to discover a magnificent world of communication. I opened my own mail address, and now it has become an important part of my life.

At a later stage in the training, Ialfine Papisy shared with us information about the national summit, and provided an opportunity for us to showcase our accomplishments. Fortunately, I was shortlisted and invited to the Madagascar national summit in Antananarivo. For me, it was the first time in my life that I had the opportunity to go beyond my council, and visit the capital of Antananarivo.

This national summit was a big challenge for me; I was far from home and had to leave my children alone, and I also had to give the best of myself to the huge number of participants during that first summit. I repeated my presentation many times and when it was my turn I told myself that I could do it. To my great surprise I was selected as the winner of Leadership category. At the beginning, I could not believe my ears. But after a few minutes I realized that all the work and effort I had put in were not vain. I had more confidence in myself; I had understood that all great efforts are recognized sooner or later.

My involvement in Gender Links workshops has really changed my life. I am more aware of current gender issues at the national and international level. Gender Links has opened my eyes; I have realized that women can bring contributions to all fields of development, and that women can excel in all domains if they have the will. This has really given me courage and faith in my fellow women. Additionally, I was chosen to represent Madagascar at the regional summit, and this will give me the opportunity to travel abroad, exchange ideas with other people, and learn more about other cultures. This is a experience which is new to me, and will enrich my life.



Comment on Arne Angeline Toto – Madagascar

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *