Eswatini: Thokozile Mashinini – Mankayane COE

Eswatini: Thokozile Mashinini – Mankayane COE

Date: November 16, 2020
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Quotable quote: “To be a great leader, you must consider everyone’s view, whether male or female and together we can bring about change in the society.”

I strongly believe that I am a driver of change because I am so passionate about empowering and helping unemployed people especially women to do something with their hands to live with greater independence and freedom from poverty and hunger. I also believe that my initiatives are making a positive impact on the society. The experience of teaching a team of caregivers (people in charge of social centres) as well as young mothers (women from ages 18 to 35) some Income Generating Projects, including how to make achar and marmalade jam. They really appreciated the lessons learnt and have shown enthusiasm and love for these projects. All the achar as well as jam made were sold out on the same day. The women are now individually making these products on their own and selling to their communities and I am also assisting to secure markets where possible. Seeing them gaining traction and making some income has motivated me to continue to look for other projects which can help them develop further. The joy from these women made me realise how much they valued what I taught them and the fact one can positively contribute to the less privileged lives in many ways on a sustainable basis.

In 2010 at my tertiary level I was chosen to be the vice chairperson for the UNISWA Food Science Association and the chairperson was a guy and this made me to realise that we are indeed equal and we can do similar jobs. In 2015, I became the youth chairperson in my church and during tenure as the chair the committee collectively undertook a drive to fundraise for a set of musical instruments which was a huge success since we managed to buy the instruments. Championing this campaign as the chair wasn’t easy but I took it upon myself as a leader to make it a success and further demonstrate that women are capable too. This also generally made the youth to realize that anything is possible as long as there is enough vision, passion and drive to achieve the set objectives.

To empower women to start Income Generating Projects to impact their families economic standing.

The nature of my work is to


  1. Promote nutrition by conducting health talks with caregivers on nutrition for the beneficiaries as well as their family members


  1. Strengthen backyard organic gardens on three social centres as well as assisting the caregivers and beneficiaries to make compost


  1. Monitor malnutrition by teaching caregivers as well as the beneficiaries healthy eating habits and monitor the beneficiaries’ growth with the help from the local hospital


  1. Assist caregivers to start and diversify Income Generating Projects


  1. Promote hygiene at the social centres


  1. Organize and facilitate capacity building workshop for caregivers


The only negative experience I face is the shortage of money for purchasing seedlings, garden tools and for starting other Income Generating Projects.

Championing gender has made me realize the strong need to champion gender equality in all spheres of life counter the patriarchal approach that is currently in existence. Secondly the need to liberate women from mental bondage which has been indoctrinated to them which portrays them as subordinate and incapable to lead. Other factors responsible for this change are the issues of abuse which are prevalent and women are unable to fight the scourge because most of them are not economically or financially independent hence stay in abusive relationships. This is evidenced by high murder rates of women in the country

Getting to work with my two brothers when making marmalade jam at home made them to realise that such projects aren’t for women only, they can also do such. This has also made them to realize that whilst giving out food and other items is important; it is possible to do it on a sustainable basis for the needy individuals to eventually be able to stand on their own hence they are supportive to my volunteer work.

I am doing volunteer work, however, within the two months in which I have with the institution I have helped caregivers together with young mother’s start Income Generating Projects, taught the caregivers kitchen rules as well as personal and food hygiene which is part of the proposition I made when coming on board. There was no mainstreamed or direct effort by the institution to empower caregivers on entrepreneurial activities and I brought on board that component. I have also ensured that the institution observes higher nutritional standards at the social centres and assisted the caregivers to understand to prepare nutritional food using limited resources. I have also introduced backyard gardens at the neighbourhood social centres which ensure proper nutrition for the beneficiaries on a sustainable basis.