Ellie Nowases – Namibia

Ellie Nowases – Namibia

Date: May 29, 2012
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The greatest thing that I have encountered since becoming involved with Gender Links work is to see women empowering themselves, coming together to share information and being strong in what they believe in. I now continue to see this in peoples’ lives and I think back and say this is the work that GL has started. It shows great strength if women inspire other women.

I am from a town called Arandis in the Erongo Region of Namibia. I am an entrepreneur, and farm fruit and vegetables. The move to own a farm of my own was inspired by another woman who, at an expo on women’s empowerment, detailed her personal story of how she had started farming and how it had improved her livelihood. I took it upon myself after that to start a farm of my own in 2011. I told myself that if another woman from a similar background as mine could do it then I could also do it. It shows great strength if women inspire other women.

This work did not come without resistance. I remember how my husband did not believe my project would work. However I was determined to go ahead and nothing was going to stop me. If it was going to fail, then it would but only after I had given it my best shot. Now my husband can see what a woman can do.

In my community I have become a source of inspiration among other women through this project. I always make an effort to share the information that I gain from the workshops that I attend with the women who come to my farm. These workshops have benefited me and I want that information to benefit other women as well.

The change that I see in my life is because of the information and awareness that I have gained from all these workshops. We have been taught about our rights. I never knew about my rights as an individual or even my rights in my capacity as a woman. My husband would do something or say something to me, but I would not know whether it was wrong or right. Now that I have learned from the workshops I have attended I realise that I have equal negotiating power in any situation.

Through the information that I have gained over the years I have also been able to teach and talk to young women and girls to value their bodies and their womanhood. I am teaching the women I interact with to stand up and know their rights as women, especially economic rights and economic independence. When women come to my farm I usually urge them to come up with their own projects and not be too dependent. I am a hard working woman and I have never gone a day with out food in my house. I wish other women could do the same and realise the potential that is in them to be economically empowered. This platform of dialogue among the women, however informal it may be, gives me an opportunity to share knowledge, skills, and values and lets me give encouragement to the women in my society.

Gender Links has to take credit for the improvement in my life. The organization has elevated me in my personal life, and in my life as a community member. Previously, I had never stood in front of a group of women and men except for church members to say something about my project. By seeing others present, I became motivated myself, and became confident to do my presentation at the Namibia Gender Justice and Local Government Summit. The presentation that I did at the Namibia in-country Gender Justice and Local Government Summit has won me an award. I have my project at heart and also seeing other women present I began to have courage. I am now getting a passport and will be travelling outside of Namibia for the first time in the 52 years that I have lived. I am also the first one in my family to go out of the country. I can not wait and I hope my efforts will be recognized at the Regional Gender Justice and local government Summit and Awards.


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