Manketekete Nketekete -Ramapepe Council COE

Manketekete Nketekete -Ramapepe Council COE

Date: July 1, 2015
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Manketeteke Nketekete is a councillor at Ramapepe council. This is her second term as a councillor. She was a member of Motati council, which was one of the COEs before the second local government elections and revision of new council’s boundaries.

As women in Ramapepe village, she is active in a group which established a nursery where they grow different trees, from fruit to forest trees. Every year in April they start with a planting session for fruit trees, especially peaches. These trees are meant specifically for sale to increase the income of the association. They mostly sell to individuals; however, their biggest customer is the government department of Forestry and Land Reclamation. They also grow forest trees like blue gum and pine. These are used during national celebrations to mark events, but are also used to curb the effects of climate change. Trees are planted to rehabilitate eroded areas and reclaim land that is depleting every day due to seasonal rains. They are also grown in yards as windbreaks; otherwise, unprotected houses are battered by strong winds.

She has always had good relations with other members of the group. More and more people want to join the group because they have learned the importance of growing the trees. There are instructors for the department of Forestry who teach people other benefits of trees. For example, people can grow trees to produce fencing poles and sometimes they can be used for roofing houses. That means moving towards producing for free to increasing the economic value of the nursery.

The trust the community puts in the councillor has made her stronger and encourages her to work hard. They started as a group with eight members, and now there are 37 families who have joined the group because they feel it is important to be part of the fight against climate change and its effects.

She has learned that gender equality is a cross cutting issue. It affects us all and therefore we should all be engaged in the fight for gender justice. Before, she would always take the position of men. But through learning with Gender Links, she became aware that gender means the engagement of people in all spheres of community development without discrimination. All should be given equal or rather equitable chances of participation.

The difference that Gender Links has made will trickle down to the communities at the grass root levels. People will learn about climate change and its effects. They should learn the different activities they can participate in within their localities to curb climate change, although this is a global issue that needs all the nations to take part. Through Gender Links workshops, she learned a lot from meeting with other people. She gained skills on how to solve conflicts within the community she serves. She further learned how to develop action plans. This skill will help her to develop the action plan for the group, and this will make it easy for them to execute their plans and be able to monitor progress made.

She believes it is her role to change other peoples’ lives as a leader and a woman. Climate change affects us all, but mostly women in that if there is no water and wood to cook food, women will be the ones to suffer more by walking long distances to fetch water and wood. Most of their time will be spent on the road and hence have no spare time to do other economic activities, they will remain poorer and continue to be led by men.

She argued that a leader has to lead by example, and that will make people follow. That is why she has been so dedicated to the group. The success of this approach is evidenced by the unity that is found amongst the members of the group. The group has been very strong and more people are learning the idea of producing more trees for forests and fruit for sale.

Finally, she plans to work hard to engage more men in gender issues, and also to extend the project, because more and more people will be engaged to fight against climate change and its effects.

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