Malesoli Lesoli – Kanana Council COE

Malesoli Lesoli – Kanana Council COE

Date: September 14, 2015
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Her spirit of purpose has been uplifted!

The most memorable experience that Malesoli had with Gender Links (GL) was the first summit that was held in Lesotho in 2013. Her council was invited to go and just have a look at what the summit was all about. She mentioned that she had no clue about what was going on, but she said she was excited to be part of such an amazing event, however, she kept asking herself if it was true that she was not supposed to present like other councils. She further noted that she was confused and excited at the same time as she could not understand how the other presenters and councils managed to talk about whatever they were presenting. The late country manager, Mme Malepota, told her firmly that the following year would be her turn. She felt scared for a moment but told herself that if those people were doing it she would also manage. Malesoli mentioned that after the experience of the national summit she had much to look forward to and wanted to go to work every day so that she could change people’s minds about gender issues.

As the community council secretary she works as a senior officer of the council and she plans the implementation of all council decisions. She creates the budgets for the council, but she mentioned that in most cases it is challenging, as the budget is approved at ministerial level and they cut the budget. It is therefore very difficult to meet all their needs.

The first training that Gender Links undertook opened their eyes and light was shed on them. There was an understanding of its purpose and the impact that the process brought to the council, especially women. There was a change of perception towards women and men. Malesoli mentioned in a brave manner that she also changed and Kanana changed as a whole. She added that her work has changed for the better as GL has given her something to be proud of and to work on. It has uplifted the spirit of purpose in her as an individual, a woman and a professional.

Due to the way local councillors have been brought up, there was no understanding as to how they should operate and what was expected of them and that had brought much confusion in the councils as there was no clear indication as to how they should also account for their work. As a result their lives at the councils were very difficult. She said that as part of the COE process it was quiet different, as they see a way and a purpose in their work and also how to change people’s lives and understand gender issues better.

Malesoli mentioned that the person who is responsible for the change is Ntolo Lekau as she describes her as a tough cookie, feisty and pushy, she pushes to the limits, making sure that she delivers. She therefore thanks GL for such people in their organisation because she is who she is today because of GL. Malesoli mentioned that GL has brought back the life in her and she now knows that she needs to work very hard, she could not stop smiling as she mentioned the awards she has won since she participated in the District and National summits. “I do not even know where I will put all these certificates as all the space at the council is full!” she says. Malesoli has gained so much experience and the confidence she has is amazing. She talks gender equality and is so much more sensitive in every aspect.

Malesoli mentioned that even in her home she has been able to apply the knowledge that she has gained at GL training sessions. She stressed that even though it was difficult, especially at home with her husband, but she does not regret trying because her family has changed for the better as she was able to convince her husband to go back to school to further his studies because he could not get a job. She said her husband is very nice and very supportive to her in her work as he would sometimes accompany her to her public gatherings and would even encourage men to support their partners.

In her closing, Malesoli mentioned that things would be better if local authorities were autonomous as councils know what they need to see the impact of their work. Councillors find it very difficult to work with parliamentarians as there is a battle for power amongst them, but for Kanana those things changed after the council became a COE as councilors were equipped on issues like conflict resolution and now they are in a better position to solve their problems without breaking into groups. Her future plan is to help other councils to become the best COE in gender mainstreaming and to make gender issues their concern in such a way that gender equality will be achieved.

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