Dorcas Munansambo-Zambia

Dorcas Munansambo-Zambia

Date: June 30, 2015
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My name is Dorcas Munansambo and I live in Kabwe District which is my second home. I am a retired teacher and while I was in active employment I was a member of Forum for Women’s Education in Zambia (FAWEZA). The organisation works with councils, schools and various government ministries in promoting girls and women’s education. The organisation invited me to attend a gender meeting and this is where first learnt about gender. Here is my story.

“I became involved in gender issues when I was invited to a gender meeting Organized by the FAWEZA. I am a retired teacher and I work with communities in Kapiri. As a subsistent farmer and a widow, I see to it that I grow various types of food crops that are enough for my family’s consumption and also a little extra to sell so that we can use the money to buy goods that we need, but cannot produce. I have been able to attend several meetings and workshops by GL through our council and this has been made possible by money that I have gained through selling the crop surplus. I am now glad that our council is extending gender programmes to other communities including Mpima which is near my home.

I first heard about Gender Links (GL) through the council when one of the employees was talking about a brochure she had received from GL. The brochure was talking about Measuring Gender Based Violence in Southern Africa. The brochure was explaining activities that GL engages in such as the 365 days of Action the 16 days which seek to promote Equality between men and women.

It was very rare to find anyone talking about gender equality and women empowerment in the council as most employees were not sensitized about gender and viewed it as a way of putting women above men.

My perceptions towards gender changed a long time ago as I was already cultured to feel equal to men in a society that was highly patriarchal. But thanks to GL I now acknowledge to men the importance of women in society despite their high reliance on men for survival and economic benefits. However, thanks to the GL programmes in the local councils that women are slowly becoming aware of the fact that they have to learn to fend for themselves even before they are widowed. The council now allows a woman to apply for land without accompaniment or written consent from their husbands to allow them acquire title deeds.

The GL meetings and the organisation itself are like a miracle. I give GL and the country manager a lot of credit for their hard work and for the difference they are making in people’s lives everywhere they go. I will continuously advocate for women’s rights and stand up for what is right as long as I know what’s right and that am not alone in this fight.

I give a lot of credit to GL for their efforts in mainstreaming gender knowledge in local councils and communities through their meetings, workshops and seminars. I have come to learn that gender does not necessarily mean girls issues but it involves both girls and boys and ensuring they have equal chances in all aspects of life. I also recommend them for some tools that they have made available such as the Localising gender Justice Initiatives and other useful documents.

My interaction with the gender committee has enabled me acquire various skills, attitudes, knowledge and values. My public speaking skills have improved; I am now able to speak out confidently on issues of gender inequality. Interacting with various men and women has helped me improve my communication with people in different settings and from different cultural backgrounds. I am also able to train fellow women on gender and women’s issues.

In my advocacy for gender equality and women’s issues I have had to look up to certain women for motivation, the likes of Prof. Nkandu Luo and Barbara Chilangwa among others. I have so much passion for gender issues that I always advocate for women’s rights whenever I interact with people as a farmer. This has earned me the nickname matron as a lot of women and men have come to appreciate my efforts in the community.

A lot of women are now becoming interested in learning about gender but my greatest challenge is having to sensitize the larger community and having to explain gender and gender equality properly in the local language.

This is the first time I am meeting the GL team, but I am now aware that they are the producers of the famous SADC Gender Protocol Barometers. Reading such documents enlightens me and enables me to hold discussions with people from an informed point of view.

In the near future I hope to see a nation and world where women are free to express themselves, fairly contest for presidential positions, women enlightened and emancipated for the good of the current generations and the generations behind us.



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