Botswana: Malebogo B Kruger

Date: June 21, 2018
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“Behind every successful woman, there should be a man!”

Ms Malebogo Kruger is the Mayor of Lobatse Town, having been duly elected in 2014. She began to lean more on her husband and she testifies that the support she got from her husband was more overwhelming. It was then that she began to learn that men and women need to coexist to lift each other up. She came up with a quote that “Behind every successful woman, there should be a man! This was to emphasize the importance of men’s role in empowering women. Her heart’s desire has always been to sensitise the community on issues of Gender and see change of mind set regarding Gender.

Her Worship the Mayor Ms Kruger grew up in an area of very low-income earners, with most of her neighbourhood being unemployed. Her area had about 75% of the population being girls who dropped out of school. Concerned of especially the school dropouts, Her Worship the Mayor Ms Kruger found it necessary to assist the people in her area and started motivational classes informing them as well as advising them to take up various programmes that are available to help themselves get out of the situation they found themselves in. Some of the programmes she shared in her classes were on Back to school as well as the youth funding programme. She also instilled abstinence in them as some were HIV positive. By doing this, she was focusing on the Post 2015 goals of combating HIV/AIDS and eradicating poverty.

She has been a Mayor of Lobatse since 2014-to date. Mayor Ms Kruger have been a Gender Champion in 2009 and 2010, First Women’s Commissioner for Lobatse, Previous Deputy Mayor (2009-2014) and a member of Children’s Parliament. She came up with an initiative called Councillors Retreat, a forum where Councillors sat down and formulated a document dubbed “The Mayor’s Road Map”. This is a tool that devises ways of improving service delivery by Council to the community whose activities include: Pitso ya Bomme, Pitso ya Borre, Pitso ya Ba na le Bagole, Youth Pitso, Visits to Poverty Eradication Project. The Mayor has motivated women who were social welfare clients to apply for Poverty Eradication projects. In November 2015, the Mayor signed the Lobatse Town Council Statement of Commitment, which states that Lobatse Town Council vows to be part of Gender Mainstreaming projects.

Botswana celebrated its 50 years as an Independent state, and as one of the influential leaders. She spared fifty minutes of their time to interact with children from various institutions like Botswana Association for Psychosocial Rehabilitation Center, a center that has a feeding program where they feed close to 175 children on a daily basis, Athlone Hospital Children’s ward and Bothakga Primary school, which is an integrated school that has special classes for children with disability got the Mayor taking 50 minutes out of her schedule to encourage the children to be better leaders. Her contribution to the lives of many children is immense.

Championing gender has made me to understand and appreciate the extent to which our community is ignorant on gender issues. I have come to realise that a lot still needs to be done about gender mainstreaming in all sectors of the economy. My knowledge of advocacy, lobbying and public interaction has also been extended, ever since I started championing gender. I have empowered and sensitised people of different sex orientation and caliber through various forums that I have organised such as ‘Pitso ya bo mme’ and Taking Council to the people.

I want to ensure that the Post2015 goals are realised with particular attention paid to women and the girl child. I intend to hold a business forum with the intention to create a forum for free interaction with potential investors. I also want to hold a Lobatse Market Exposition to create a market platform for beneficiaries of projects and programmes existing. To raise funds for some locals who are in need, I will host a Mayor’s bash and ensure that the Mayor’s fund stays bulgy to assist more people in need.