Evelyn Kgodumo – Botswana

Evelyn Kgodumo – Botswana

Date: June 26, 2012
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I am a council chairperson, so my job involves working in health, education, and social development committees in the council. I am the head of these departments. I started working at BCL as a secretary, and decided I wanted to be a leader, so I joined the Botswana Congress Party (BCP) in 1998. In 2004, I became the first woman in BCP to win the elections.

My first encounter with Gender Links was in 2009; I took part in an IT program, and as soon as it was finished, I got back to my office and ensured internet was installed there. It made me understand the importance of electronic communication.

One of the most important elements of my work is empowering women. Currently, I am working with women farmers, and I am able to link them with WAD, in order for them to get the assistance they need. I am also working with women who are doing crafts, and others who are starting a bakery, by linking them to people who can assist them to be successful in their endeavors. I personally identify all these people, and after linking them to sources of help, I also keep a personal record on them to see that they are going forward and see if they will need further assistance or not, because personally I started from nothing now I am something. I know the value of support to make progress.

I am able to make a difference because women cannot stand alone. This is caused by lack of empowerment, hence I believe that what I do will help women to become independent and stand up to develop and grow their life. Too much dependence on men is the one that is increasing GBV and I believe my support is one way of combatting GBV.

One of the worst experiences in my job was when I was at a campaigning rally standing with four men, and in their speeches, they made fun of me. They said that when a women is in leadership, she will fail in her marriage and domestic duties, citing other women who are in power as examples. After this, I was too embarrassed to go on stage and I decided to go back home and think through the decision. What bothered me was the fact that my family will also go through the insults that will be directed to me. But after reflection, I came back as a stronger woman who knew what she was all about and what she wanted.

I don’t regret it for a moment. Now, I even find that husbands of the women I am helping appreciate what I am doing and give me respect, because they now understand that all I want is to help empower their wives who will in turn develop their families.

Gender Links has empowered me to go help people faster; they taught me the importance of using technology, and now I communicate through email. Gender Links helped me with information and resources on how to teach and empower women to be better people. Another source of empowerment for me are my party’s policies. These inspire me to push further for women’s development. Another source of inspiration to me are my children. Once, my child told me that I was her role model, because of the love and dedication I showed to other people. It made me realize how much I want to see more women and youth standing in decision making positions.

It is my role to make a difference; every day I go through life and see times when people are having their rights abused. As a leader, I feel responsible to make a difference, and help in any way I can. I am even planning to stand for elections as a parliamentarian.


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