Ludo Matshameko – Botswana

Ludo Matshameko – Botswana

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am now working in the challenging world of BALA, where I get to do what I know best, working in the local government department in. In the past, I played key roles in the development and growth of different council in Botswana, as well as going a long way in women’s empowerment, and preaching about gender equality. Although I have retired from council work, I am now busier than before. Every duty I do I take it as a challenge, hence I thrive, and try hard to achieve my goals. I have passion and commitment to my work that way it is easy to achieve my challenges. Local government is a very interesting ministry; the fact that I can make a difference in one life is a very satisfactory thing in life.

I am very proud of my life time achievements. I have worked very hard to be where I am, and I believe that I’m reaping the benefits of all my sleepless nights. I first joined local government in 1967 as a committee secretariat and a clerk. This is where my journey to success really started. I did administrative duties, and moved to human resource management.

From there, I became the assistant council secretary, and upon retiring, joined the ministry of local government. Then I was involved in training officers in different councils across the country. From the South council in Francistown, to Ghantsi, I gave trainings. I helped establish the Charles Hill council, and from there moved to Selibe-Phikwe, finally ending up working with the North West council.

After that, I moved to BALA. This was the idea opportunity for me to share my skills and knowledge with a range of local government officials. The only new thing in BALA was the fact that I interacted with all the councils across the country, hence the workload was more than the one I had whilst working in council, and the fact that I interact with a lot of people who had different opinions on a number of things and had to get them to agree upon one common idea was a very big challenge.

My first encounter with Genderlinks was in 2008, when they came to show us their research called Coalface, and it was through this that the relationship between Genderlinks and BALA started. I became very excited and engaged in the work when we were developing a gender plan at Hukuntsi, because I could see the issue was new to them, and there was really a potential to make a difference.

Now, I believe that what I am doing is making a difference; I am able to create awareness in politicians and council officers. The response I am getting shows that I am making a difference and the rate at which councils are incorporating gender issues into their workplace is very encouraging to me.

Gender based violence is such a big challenge for us, and quite frankly, I don’t know what the main cause of it is. The right messages are out there, people just need to listen. Hospitals are full of people who are victims of this type of violence; it is one of the things that contributes to the spread of HIV/AIDS in Botswana, because the two are related.

I want the community at large to talk about gender based violence, and do all that can be done to overcome it. This will only happen by talking out loud about it; we must all have the same voice that condemns it, because it destroys society. We must use all the resources at our disposal to win the fight.

Some discouraging moments in my work are when I can see that councils do not take our workshops as seriously as their own plans. After traveling across the country to a council, it is challenging to be faced with difficulties facilitating these workshops.

However, it is rewarding when, after a workshop, people start communicating in a more informed manner, and they demonstrate a strong commitment to the issues.

Gender Links has really helped local government get where we are today. They came when people were not aware of gender challenges, and it is thanks to them that I was able to learn their importance, and not only take them into consideration, but also have the tools needed to implement gender in our work effectively. Furthermore, Gender Links taught me how to facilitate workshops, and gave me all the information I needed to organize the workshops I’ve conducted across the country. Being able to facilitate a workshop has been an achievement on the personal level.

I believe it is my responsibility to make a difference in other people’s lives; it is crucial for our growth as a nation. I believe that if I do make a difference in both men and women’s lives, it will be easy to combat GBV, as both parties will be empowered to be the best they can be. It is so valuable to help people come in touch with the reality of what is happening, and they now also want to strive to make the difference in their lives and people around them. We must keep working on the issue of GBV until we achieve change.

People should be aware of different forms and phases of abuse, and talk about them and condemn them. People affected need to take action before it destroys them. In order to earn the love and respect of other people, we all need to stay positive about anything and everything we do.

2015 is around the corner, and it is time that every individual assesses themselves and sees what they are doing or have done to build the world we want. It is not late to start working on achieving progress now.


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