Elsie Khaises – Namibia

Elsie Khaises – Namibia

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am a ranger for community based natural resource management in my home town of Swakopmund. I work directly with conservation committees, who work with conservative communities in rural Namibia. It is my responsibility to give them advice on how to organize meetings with communities on how to conserve the natural environment. Thanks to Gender Links gender training, I have been able to use this position to encourage other women to set high goals, see themselves as equals with men in all areas, and stand up for their rights.

Working in the arena of conservation hasn’t always been easy; it is a traditionally male dominated field, and I am the only female ranger in the region. However, this hasn’t stopped me from excelling in my work! On the contrary, it has inspired me to encourage other women to rise beyond their circumstances, think creatively, and reach for their dreams.

Before working with Gender Links, I had never left my country of birth, and know very little about the experiences of women from my neighboring countries, like South Africa, Botswana, and Zambia. However, all this changed when Gender Links sponsored by first trip to South Africa to attend the regional Gender Justice and Local Government Summit.

My most memorable moment with Gender Links was in March 2012 when I was part of the Gender Justice and Local Government Namibian national summit in Windhoek. What stands out the most for me from that summit are the issues that were discussed, and the high level of participation which was displayed by the delegates at the summit. I was intrigued with the topics that were discussed at the summit, because most of these issues touched on what we deal with in our communities on a daily basis. The summit gave me the chance to learn from others and how they are dealing with the problems plaguing our communities.

Working with Gender Links has sharpened my communication skills, as I am now able to engage with my community at all levels. Gender Links is responsible for the person I am today. Working with them has boosted my confidence and empowered me. I am one of those women who used to believe that a woman can never be equal to a man, but through gender training, my eyes have been opened an I have started telling myself that I can be the head of my family.

Earlier this year, I registered a small business that specializes in home decorations, handicrafts and sewing. The business has given me a chance to empower other women in the community. My business is all about making other women realise their potential, and earn a descent earning.

In the future, I want to work with young girls to prepare them for the future and equip them with enough knowledge to deal with Gender Based Violence issues in our communities. I am also working on establishing a group of women that can report any Gender Based Violence in their respective villages or farms, and if possible to ask Gender Links to hold as workshop to train these women how they can act against violence.




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