Nomathamsanqa Edna Ntshangase – South Africa

Nomathamsanqa Edna Ntshangase – South Africa

Date: June 30, 2015
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I was not planning to come to the summit; the notice was short, and there wasn’t time to plan properly. The thought of flying scared me; we had all agreed to come by taxi, even though it was a long drive.

We were expected to do power point presentations and show evidence of our work. This was new to me; I didn’t know what they were talking about. Documenting our work is so important, not only for Gender Links, but so that after we are gone, someone can see what we have been doing. I saw how important monitoring and evaluation is. We give cooperatives money to start their own projects, and that may be the last time we engage with them. That is not enough. We need to go back and see what our funding has done. We should be able to see how our funding helped to change their lives, or if something in our approach needs to change. This is what Gender Links is doing, going back to see how their workshops are changing peoples lives.

Gender Links introduced me to the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development, and many issues that I didn’t realize were a problem. For example, climate change. I see now that climate change affects me, and all the other women who have farming cooperatives in my municipality, and do not understand why levels of productivity are not like they were in the past. If the women had come to be and told me about climate change, I would not have understood. But now, I see the issues. We do not understand our weather patterns like we used to. High temperatures dry our crops, and rains wash away the nutrients in the soil. This is one reason why women’s farming projects may not be profitable any more. If you don’t know about climate change, you might conclude it’s because the women are not working hard, or are just lazy.

Now, I know about the Protocol. As a municipality, we have a challenge that we need to work on, about how we can help women who are affected by climate change, and how we can influence policies around it. Government needs to to doing things about climate change, because it affects our livelihood every day. It should even be a target in the Protocol, so that at the local government level, we are informed.

I have now been challenged. As a deputy mayor, it is now my responsibility to use everything I have learned in such a short space of time with Gender Links. I never would have known how the budget we use in the council benefits women in the fields. Gender Links comes to us and helps us understand the Protocol, so we can all plan our work, our budgets, and our priorities in an effective way. I am inspired to go home and change the way I have been doing things, thanks to Gender Links.



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