Magdalena Oais – Namibia

Magdalena Oais – Namibia

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am from the Witvlei village council in the Omaheke region. My first interaction with Gender Links was at a presentation done by Sarry Xoagus Eises, GL Namibia country manager. This presentation introduced Gender Links to this council and I learned about how GL works with local government councils in the different SADC states.

My most memorable experience with Gender Links was when I joined in a 16 Days of Activism march against gender based violence. Gender Links and the Witvlei council organised the march jointly. This march was so significant to me, because a woman had just been killed in Witvlei by her partner and this march meant we were taking action to protest against such malpractices.

Despite this gruesome thing happening in my community, change is being driven forward, especially through information dissemination. The behavior of many community members seems to be gradually shifting. People seem to know about the gender violence that has infested their communities. People have gained a lot of understanding around gender issues, be it harassment laws or criminal laws and other laws and policies that castigate violence. Since people know about these, they are more aware of the tools they can use to fight violence perpetrated against them. We share information through meetings; community meetings are the best platforms of engagement.

Witvlei has been able to conduct community meetings which have been open discussion forums where community members are actively to discussing issues that affect them, including GBV.

Other factors are also helping in lowering of incidence of GBV and other crime related issues. One could be that people are always kept busy with something to do. Women and men have been involved in community projects where they make jewellery out of bones and horns, and gardening. Other civil society agents have also acted as factors in seeing behavior change in the community.

I want to continue to work with Gender Links, especially the awareness campaigns. Let gender be on the councils agenda and communities will gradually get there.



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