Date: September 5, 2018
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“Women have a great role to play in the community”

Verosoa Patricia is member of the committee for the fight against violence of the urban council of Manjakandriana, part of the COE process since 2010. The urban council of Manjakandriana is located at 50 kilometers from the capital and has an engaged woman as a mayor. Thanks to mayor’s leadership, the council is implementingseveral projects for the improvement of women status, especially in the domain of health, women’s access to land and finance, and other gender related activities.

Before GL’s intervention, Verosoa Patricia has dedicated all her time for child caring and household duties: “My husband decided of the money he wants to give us. I had to do with what he gave, and if I complain, it ends with disputes and violence”.

Verosoa Patricia wanted to do activities to improve their income but could not do anything at that time as she still had little children. When there was nothing at home, she used to borrow money from her family.

In 2012, she participated in a workshop organized by GL. She represented her village. After the training, she became member of the gender committee for the fight against GBV. As such, she participated in different awareness raising campaign organized by the council. It was during these activities that she realized the importance of women in the society. “Even if women are the ones who cares for the family well-being, they have also a great role to play in the village, in her community, in her country”, she says. According to her, GL’s workshop helped the council to have an improved approach towards promoting gender equality and ending GBV.

In 2014, Patricia joined the Entrepreneurship program and has attended all the phases of the project. After the trainings, she began a business based on poultry farming. Thanks to GL and the council’s technical support, she could open a bank account, save money and improve her income. “These trainings were very important for me personally and financially”.

Now she has expanded the business she previously did, but not just limited to poultry farming , she is buying forests and selling  firewood today, which is more likely to be successful She uses the sales proceeds to buy other forests. She said:’ forest business is not easy, yet when there is will, and one is striving, one can manage. I urge women to stand and embrace any walks of life.

In personal plan, she became more confident as she owns her business, take decisionsherself and is independent. Patricia has eight children and thanks to her willingness to improve her life, she is now able to support the education of all her children.

The change in her life was appreciated by her family as well as her neighbors. Presently, she is leading a small association composed of women survivors of violence. This association aims at sharing knowledge on how to manage small businesses. As they meet weekly, Patricia shares with them her experience and knowledge.

“Many women in my village are still experiencing violence in their household”, says Patricia. The most common type of violence is economic. The fact of having too many children constitutes the main challenge for women.