Namibia: Wilhelmina Malapi

Date: July 16, 2018
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“bring change and to improve our livelihood”

During my first meeting with Gender Links I was impressed by the enthusiasm and willingness of the facilitator, who was a man, to help us bring change and improve our lives. It was strange for me that a stranger will come to us and learn us how to improve our livelihood. I was very interested in attending the different stages of Gender Links Training.

I became politically involved in the 1990’s, when I was still very young. I became a youth representative in our ward. I was the first woman in the my family to be elected in the structures of a political party, and from then on, I have been working very hard to change people’s mindsets. I have had to do this both in the community, and in the people I interact with personally. I realised that I had to bring in more women to support one each other as woman. I started to attend ward meetings and encourage women to avail themselves for decision making positions and to create networks and give trainings. This was very difficult for me, because women were always at home. Through working with Gender Links I met with women at workshops organised and conducted in my home town and we stared to interact and share ideas and views as women.

My objective is to further expand the involvement of more women and taking part in activities that will change the mindset of people and to become am role model in my council and community. My short term goal is to be re-elected as local municipal Councillor in order to advice and trained new in coming women Councillors. I would like to see women nominating other women and going out in numbers to vote during elections. We as women must realize that women and men are equal in life and can contribute equally to the development of our country.

As local Municipal Councillor it is our duty to review policies and ensure that programmes and policies of central government are implemented. As political appointees we have to make sure that the services are provided and staff members adhere to the rules and regulations as set out in Local Authorities Act. I am responsible for informal settlement. Due to low and in some instances now income, inhabitants are setting up structures with any material available. During illegal land grabbing I normally went out with staff members to try and convince people not to partake in illegal activities as land grappling.

Encourage women to establish SME’S and sub-contract them in industries regarded for men only is big challenge as men is not open to except women as equal partners. Police officers must get training in gender issues and know how to deal with survivors. Land should be making cost effective for low income groups to own land and houses. Every new house build should have sanitation facilities to prevent women and children going to bushes were they are exposed to danger.

To be the gender champion of council give me the opportunity to work with women and see the problems and shortages they are facing daily. After realizing that only women can bring changes in the life of others, I make it an point in my life to empower and strengthen women in whatever way I can. I can attend any meeting and share my point of view without being intimidated by men.

I will use every platform available to inform and educate women and girls of the evil affecting them in life. Our government has construct a youth centre, I will use my position as Councillor and mobilize youth for the fully utilization of this centre.