Lesotho: Sebabatso Masienyane

Date: June 25, 2018
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“Leaders are born, not made”

There is an argument that “leaders are born, not made”. Fortunately, I realized that I was born to lead and I was capacitated. In 2006, I formed an Association of Women in Small Business and currently have 40 members. 30 Women and 10 men. Since the year 2006 when I became gender aware, I was learning that women were highly oppressed by the society in terms of their roles, responsibilities and they were regarded as children or minors. This was one of the challenge that made me to form the platform who women would raise their voice and be heard.

It was in the year 2006 after completing my studies at the university, I heard and studied people complaining about social inequality. I decided to form a women’s association which included women and few men running small businesses. Investing in women’s economic empowerment set a direct path towards gender equality. I studied the hardships of women working in the streets, such as cold weather, in rainy days and even on the extreme sunny days. I saw the need that all women working in small business need to be capacitated and be appreciated as valuable as they contribute to the economy of Lesotho. I have to dedicated time to share the gender issues and its challenges. I also provided them with all the relevant Protocol and other initiatives on gender equality.

As a leader, I am responsible for my organization Vision and mission, for upholding standards and often for being the group representative to the rest of the world. It seems like a burden but it is a challenge that the strong leader must take opportunity to open doors for the growth of the organization. A leader must motivate herself or himself. It is a key that I, not to just to seem, but actually to be enthusiastic about what I am doing. In other words, I have to be the leader all the time and never quit until the vision and mission achieved.

We are operating small businesses to empower men and women, highly involved in developmental activities, protecting human rights, good governance and engaged in national policies and activities that promote gender equality. Amongst other things we are doing is to raise funding, networking and forming coalitions, support people with HIV/AIDS, take care of the orphans and vulnerable children, Community development and sustainability and Poverty eradication.

There are several challenges that I face as a leader, the most important or key challenge that which I may consider as an external challenge of an issue of lack of funding and other resources to implement and improve most of the projects . Other challenge is that of minor interpersonal problems within the organisation that often rear my head. Besides that, some members are reluctant to participate in some of the activities. However a leader I have acquired conflict resolution skills during the formal leadership trainings.

My future plans is to continue promote gender equality and empower women , lower poverty rates , reduce social inequalities, reduce gender based violence and protect the human rights. It is also my big assignment to continue teaching community members about SADC gender protocol. There are some recommendation that I will ensure that are adhered to, such as ensuring the parents are educating girls and boy child similarly ,increasing literacy and technological knowledge among women, promoting women’s political rights, strengthening labour policies affecting women. Most imperatively continue supporting and capacitate all women in informal economy or small business, as they are contributors to economic growth of Lesotho.