eSwatini: Thokozile Mashinini

Date: August 30, 2019
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Name Thokozile
Surname Mashinini
Country Swaziland
Give a short history of the leader At Primary School level from Grades 5 to 7 I was elected as a class monitor. In all the classrooms I was a monitor with a boy. At Secondary School level from Form 1 to 3, it happened that I became a class monitor and I got to discover that both males and females are equal and learnt to respect each other. 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.
Objectives To empower women to start Income Generating Projects to impact their families economic standing.
Key activities 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
2. Strengthen backyard organic gardens on three social centres as well as assisting the caregivers and beneficiaries to make compost
3. 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
4. Assist caregivers to start and diversify Income Generating Projects
5. Promote hygiene at the social centres
6. 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
Key challenges Lack of financial resources to start more Income Generating Projects with the women is the main challenge. Another challenge is that Mankayane Town Board employees are male dominated, out of 15 permanent employees, only 5 are women and those employed under fixed contract only 2 are females out of 8 employees and all councilors are males. This leads to lack of women support from the co-workers.


Change at the individual level 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.
Evidence of change at the individual level “You have brought a total transformation to my family financially, I can now be able to buy something for my family without having to wait for my husband to return to buy us things”. These were the words from Khetsiwe Mondlane, one of the caregivers. She now makes marmalade jam on her own and teaches her children as well and selling it to be able to buy some groceries for her family.
Change at the household level 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.
Evidence of change at the household level “My husband has started to assist me in some of the household chores I do at home”, said Mary Simelane.
Change at institutional level Ms. Khanyisile Mamba, the Mankayane Town Board AMICAALL manager has indicated how much I have assisted the women with my initiative to start the Income Generating Projects as well as organic backyard gardens.
Evidence of change at institutional level Ms. Khanyisile Mamba, the Mankayane Town Board AMICAALL manager has indicated how much I have assisted the women with my initiative to start the Income Generating Projects as well as organic backyard gardens.
Change at a policy level My limitation towards this is that as I have only worked for a short period of time, I am still influencing change especially for the entity to recruit more female volunteers to push other projects since the institution is understaffed.
Evidence of change at a policy level None so far, as I have only worked for two months.
Capacity building I have taught 8 caregivers who are all females as well as young mothers some Income Generating Projects like making atchaar and marmalade jam to be able to buy groceries for their families.
Lessons learned and shared More training to empower women to start Income Generating Projects can significantly contribute towards poverty reduction.
Next Steps To continue working hard to support women to participate fully as men in everything that has to do with development.