Esther Garoes – Namibia

Esther Garoes – Namibia

Date: May 29, 2012
  • SHARE:

I am a councilor in the small town of Okahandja in the center of Namibia. I applaud the work that Gender Links has done to bring change in my community. Women now elect other women into positions of power, and the “pull her down syndrome” is fading out. In the past, women have always seen each other as competition. That negativity seems to be dying down. Women have begun to support each other and realise that women leaders usually have the interest of their own folk at heart. Gender Links has opened the eyes of women to believe in each other and not to continue to see society though patriarchal lenses, dictating that men had to lead and women would always follow. It shows great strength in a community if women inspire other women.

Gender Links has been an eye opener in these communities. People have been ignorant of their rights. Some people have never seen or let alone read the constitution before. They do not even know that they can have access to the womens rights policies that can benefit them. I commend Gender Links; the organization has worked tirelessly on the Centres of Excellence project of which my council is part.

Through the work that GL has done I was able to know that gender based violence can happen to anyone. I came across a 68 year old man who was being abused by his young wife. The violence was even getting physical. The man is a pensioner and the woman took away his pension fund as soon as he received it. From the skills and knowledge I have learnt from Gender Links workshops, I was able to encourage the man to seek help from the different institutions that we learned offer help in our communities. I encouraged the man to seek help from The Women and Child Protection unit and encouraged him to talk openly about what he was going through to the social workers that are available there. I have a lot of hope that the woman is being brought to justice for the violations she has perpetrated against this man.

Through this experience, I feel empowered and grateful that Gender Links armed me with the useful tools of knowledge and skills to be able to identify a situation which could be gender based violence. The situation that I encountered shows that gender based violence is cross cutting, has many forms, and it can be against anyone. Now, I encourage people to gain knowledge of the policies and laws that are there to protect and empower them. Talking as both a councilor and a politician, I am very clear that political parties in Namibia such as the RDP have policies that they have put to empower women politicians in their party. This helps women to rise within the ranks and to be more recognized as equally capable politicians.

I hope to continue to work with Gender Links as it has given me more confidence in myself. I have been endowed with the ability to see things through a gender lens and take note of things that are going on in my community. Even though my term as a councilor ends in 2014, I plan to continue to work with women in my society to be active participants in all areas affecting their lives.



One thought on “Esther Garoes – Namibia”

Comment on Esther Garoes – Namibia

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *