Lesotho: Tieang Sefali

Date: June 25, 2018
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“Empower a woman, empower a nation”

I am a councillor and entrusted with community development. I initiate community projects and oversee such for the betterment of the community. Encourage unity through community groups, associations, organisations etc. My work also entails taking community needs to the council for deliberation and delivery of the required services.

I was first voted into the local government by my community under the local government elections putting me into the Ts’ana -Talana community council from 2011 to present. From there Gender Links introduced the concept of Centres of Excellence and my community council was one of the first councils to get introduced. Naturally, my fellow colleagues in the council elected me to be a gender champion. I have since been hard at work with gender issues, community mobilization and development. The highlight of my journey was when I won the gender champion award at the Lesotho national summit 2014, which led to the regional competition held in Johannesburg. Another epic moment was in July 2016 when I successfully organised a match involving approximately 18 villages with the objective of standing against Gender Based Violence (GBV) especially violence against elderly people. This was done after a series of elder people wrongful killings.

My personal motivation is a gender discriminatory free generation and positive masculinity. I work towards a generation were men are more inclined to positive deviance and development. I aspire to see a community were both men and women, boys and girls are free to choose who and what they want to be free from social inclinations and persecution.

In September 2016, I initiated the Tsaneng ED training of GBV stakeholders involving the Tsaeng ED Gender and social committee, the village crime prevention committee, area chiefs and councillors on issues of gender, GBV, prevention and response. Also in November 17th 2016, I organised and facilitated an activity held at Ha Tauhali and Tsaeng on issues of Child marriages, sexual offences and GBV.

The Challenges I encounter as a gender champion in my council are the negative experience in my work is inadequate service delivery due to limited resources resulting diminished trust in my ability to deliver to the community as a councillor. The council has action plans and strategies but we operate at a zero budget. This is quite a challenge in carrying out or pushing the gender agenda.

I have learned that negative perception affecting issues of GBV are deep rooted and it is going to take time and much effort to change people mind set. My future plans is to make the gender agenda widely known and understood, have more men engage and push the agenda. My plan is to involve more men in campaigns as champions, to liaise with other council to help each other in tackling and dealing with the Gender agenda as well as the Ministry of Gender.