Naledi Masipa – Capricorn District Municipality COE

Naledi Masipa – Capricorn District Municipality COE

Date: June 6, 2012
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A proud moment for me will always be the night of 25 April 2012, when my council’s entry for the Centre of Excellence award at the third annual Gender Justice and Local Government summit was announced as the winner. I still cannot contain my excitement, as I am so happy at winning this award recognising the hard work we have been doing in mainstreaming gender in our programmes. What more affirmation do I need to prove that my life has been changed for the better?

I am the Coordinator for the Capricorn District council, and my first encounter with Gender Links was in 2009 when I attended a South Africa Local Government Association meeting. From that time, we have had an on-going relationship. We have a good relationship with Gender Links and I have worked with Ntombi Mbadlanyana and Abigail Jacobs-Williams. Through their intervention I managed to have a meeting with my management on gender issues, which is something that had never happened before.

With the help of Gender Links, Capricorn district council came up with a 365 day plan of action against all forms of gender based violence. The council has since started to implement the plan in all five of our municipalities. Each year, workshops to sensitize the committees on gender issues are held. Since 2010, I started involving boys in the Take a Girl to Work campaign, and as each year passes, the campaign is growing and receiving support from most organisations in the district.

Like most people not directly affected by climate change, I was ignorant of the issue. I never used to see the importance of climate change, until a training that made me start to see otherwise. This led me to begin working with other women in my district, to sensitize the community on climate change issues; especially on how they can protect their environment from the effects of the changes in weather patterns. Some of the women in Capricorn have started writing about their life experiences, and we aim to compile these stories into a book.

Some of the skills I’ve acquired through working with Gender Links include an improvement in communication skills, assertiveness, a boost of confidence and self-esteem. I have become influential; I’m now assertive, and currently I am doing more in terms of changing other people’s lives.

I’m working with the women’s caucus of our local parliament to sensitize them on gender issues and empower them, as well as boost their self-esteem so that they can make meaningful contributions in parliamentary debates. Most of the female members of parliament didn’t know much about gender budgeting, but now they know the implications of the district’s budget on women.

Gender Links had made me realise the importance of gender issues; in the past, I used to take issues lightly. Now I plan to make sure that by mid-2012, all my programmes will be in line with the ten stages of the Centres Of Excellence.

I commend Gender Links for the Gender Justice and Local Government summit, as it is giving people from across the region a chance to learn from each other. Gender Links is doing a good job giving us an opportunity to network. Soon after my presentation, I was approached by a delegate from Zimbabwe who wants to come to our district council and learn from us. My team has already received an invitation from SALGA to do the same. We have even been invited by the Premier of Tshwane to showcase our best practices.

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