Botswana: Chawapiwa Mahlaya

Date: July 23, 2018
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I got involved in gender work in 2002, this was when I was a student at the University of Botswana. Some male colleagues to one of their political rallies invited me, this posed so many questions in my mind, and I asked where the women are and who hear their voices.  In 2014, I embarked on coordinating the work of gender movement and took the role of information discriminator as I felt that there is a lot of information that does not reach intended beneficiaries.

I run a Facebook page and a mailing list called Through Our Eyes Female Batswana. The goal of the page is to bring awareness to issues in the country be it political or economic and bring a voice of a woman on how these impact us in our everyday life. The main aim is to see the world through the eyes of women I interact with daily.

I reserve time to make a difference in women and girls lives. Over the past year I worked with the Guidance and Counseling Departments of the following schools in Gaborone -Tlogatloga Junior Secondary School, Bokamoso Junior Secondary School and Bonnington Junior Secondary School to give motivational talks to Parents and students over the course of the year. Through my Facebook page and emailing list, I share the stories of some women who approached me in the sense that, they want the world to know what they have encountered  in relation to information about  gender work or opportunities inside  and outside the country .The number of  people on the mailing list I share with  is about 300.

Championing gender has indeed made a change in my life. There have been some feedback from the women i have worked with that, I have been a source of inspiration and responsible for the changes in their lives. The path that I have chosen has made them want to be better people, as I am selfless and always make time to help others and assist them to see the possibilities in every situation.

In regards to plans, More people are expected to be involved in gender work and raising awareness of women empowerment. There is also some future plans to, parent child Communication workshops with about three schools in Gaborone and neighboring Villages, digitally documenting stories of survivors of gender based violence, reaching a wider range of audience through Facebook and other media avenues, bringing the Girls Rise Movement to 2 school in Gaborone and doing interviews with locals on their perspectives about gender in the country