Botswana: Reginah Lesedinyana Mojaphoko

Botswana: Reginah Lesedinyana Mojaphoko

Date: November 21, 2020
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“I shall pass through this world once, for anything that I can do for human kind or anything that I can do for anything, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”

I started working as a public servant in 1992 and I worked in 5 different districts implementing government policies and in all of them I have learnt different skills, cultures and gained experiences, as in some of the districts I was the head of different committees. I learnt about Gender in 2011 when Rachel B. Jeremia transferred to Chobe District as Council Secretary. On her arrival she introduced and formed a Gender Committee by appointing us from different departments. She addressed the committee immediately and that’s when she told us about their mandate and introduced Gender Links and the summit as a way of monitoring and evaluation. In the same year they took part in the cyber dialogue which was one of the activities performed during the 16 days against gender based violence. “We communicated with Gender Links together with other councils as to how to handle issues of gender based violence. The Gender champion retrieved the Chobe District Gender Action Plan and helped us to evaluate what we have done according to the action plan. We compiled the actions and activities and she helped us to put it into the form of a presentation. In 2012, we presented as a Center of Excellence at the National Summit at Gaborone where we proceeded to the Regional Summit in Gaborone. We also presented one of the leaders of Chobe being Kgosi Banika mainstreaming gender and equality where we took the runner up position.

My memorable experience in my work as a leader was in 2014 when Chobe District Council elected a man as a Woman Commissioner, which was the first of its kind globally. it was not an easy task as we encountered challenges at the national level because women felt that they were being robbed from their area of advocacy. It was the President of BALA who supported our mission. A man was elected because there has never been an elected woman councillor in the constituency since its establishment. This came about because we wanted a man to be amongst woman and understand their problems better. This brought about a great impact on women regarding issues of governance. This is evidenced by the fact that in our constituency for the upcoming elections, we have women challenging their male counterparts.

“I shall pass through this world once, for anything that I can do for human kind or anything that I can do for anything, let me do it now. Let me not defer it or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.

I work as the Chief Housing Technician at the Housing Division, Self Help Housing Agency ( SHHA). My main duty is to help low income beneficiaries with allocation of state land at a very highly subsidized rate and to help them build house in the plots allocated with a zero interest rate loan. The loans cover the plots in the villages. For 22 years I have worked as a policy implementer. I worked in 5 different municipalities in 5 different organizations implementing different government policies. This is where I learnt to help marginalized groups.

My passion to help the marginalized group has grown so much. This created the ability to see the gap and come up with ideas and efforts to fill it through both the national and regional summits and networking environment provided. I am a driver of change concerning gender mainstreaming through working with Gender Links and gained many skills including interpersonal, time management, team work, flexibility, decision making, development, leadership, self-motivation, analysing, investigation, presentation, taking initiative as well as creativity and listening skills. There are visible positive changes in my institution as we have a Woman commissioner who is a man, gender champion is also a man for the past 2 years and they hold high profile positions being the Deputy council secretary (technical services) and Deputy Council Secretary(Finance). A number of men have joined the gender committee and the men now revived the men sector committee through being empowered on issues of GBV. No law or policy has been changed, however, psychologically people have changed. They look at things in a positive way. I give feedback to Gender Links as a focal person for Chobe District Council on our work in the council through workshops and summits and other activities. This where we review our action plan. It is through this feedback that Gender Links has taken the advantage and trained both emerging and existing women entrepreneurs with business skills who had experienced GBV.