Jo-Anne Krieger – South Africa

Jo-Anne Krieger – South Africa

Date: June 26, 2012
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I am the manager responsible for social and economic development for Witzenberg Town Council. For a long time, I felt gender had been side-lined as the council didn’t have a big budget for any programmes towards the empowerment of women in the community. However, since Gender Links intervened, things have started to move.

We didn’t have a big budget, but since we started working in partnership with Gender Links things started moving and had it not been for their support we wouldn’t have known we had the strength and capability to gender mainstream our programmes. My community needs more workshops on gender sensitization, especially on gender based violence.

I credit the changes in my life to the life skills I have learnt from two members of staff at Gender Links Governance manager, Abigail William Jacobs and South Africa country manager Ntombi Mbadlanyana. The two have mentored me to be a better leader in my community. I used to be very scared to speak in public and used to get intimidated by being the only woman in our management meetings, but these days I now sit as an equal with the men in the room.

I am inspired by the commitment of Gender Links staff to the fight against gender based violence, and work for the empowerment of women in both public and private life. The Chief of Operations, Kubi Rami, is a true gender champion who is always in the media giving expert advice on gender issues. Kubi’s commitment towards women’s empowerment has given me the urge to make the world a better place through changing the lives of women less privileged than myself.

After I attended a Gender Links meeting I shared with my work colleagues what I had learned, and the discussion was carried forward and got support from management and resulted in a draft gender policy in the council and a draft action plan. Something that could have not happened had I not attended the Gender Links meeting.

I plan to start a project that will enable women in my community to learn to share their experiences and empower each other using their life experiences. I hope to get gender mainstreamed in all the council’s programs in the community, and to link women in the community with opportunities to improve their lives.

I hope that in the near future Gender Links would be able to organise mini summits at district levels so that more people can get involved in showcasing their best practices throughout the year. We cannot wait for 365 days to share our best practices and this needs to be on-going.



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