Ntombizodwa Ramalatsa – South Africa

Ntombizodwa Ramalatsa – South Africa

Date: June 30, 2015
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My story and journey with Gender Links started with the invitation which was sent to my council, Midvaal Municipality, to have a follow up meeting after the council had requested to join the COE process. Ntombi Mbadlanyana then came to our council and had a follow up meeting with the relevant managers including my supervisor, who relayed how enthusiastic he was about the COE process and the work that GL was doing with municipalities. I was then asked to attend the planned Training of Trainers which was being hosted by GL and facilitated by Ntombi. I was very nervous and also not sure what to anticipate from this planned training, but I went to the TOT with an open heart and an open mind.

Wow, I was so blown away by the TOT and the content of the COE process! Even though I was apprehensive at first, and also rather nervous, I realised that there was plenty of knowledge that I needed to gain from the experience to understand the dynamics of the work we do at Municipal level. Ntombi informed us about the Gender Protocol Summit which was being hosted by GL, shortly after we attended the TOT; I received an invitation to attend the Protocol Summit. While this was all going on, I took some time off to do some personal self-reflection with regard to the journey I have walked as a woman, and a single mother to my children. A lot of things started shifting in my own personal life and I was also very aware that the TOT workshop and also having met with Ntombi on a personal level shifted my thinking. I was certainly looking forward to attending the Gender Summit as I knew that I would meet other amazing people with interesting experiences.

The Gender Protocol Summit was such an awesome experience. From the minute I arrived at the Indaba Hotel I knew that I would definitely leave on the last day having gained so much knowledge and information. I was very fortunate and very touched with regard to the work that was done by various people across the SADC region to advance gender equality.

I come from a culture that has not always been fair to women, and does not always work for gender equality, so sometimes I think I have underestimated my own voice and inner strength. However I also realise that I am much stronger than how I have always viewed myself.

One thing that I learnt from attending the Gender Protocol Summit is the importance of taking gender equality seriously. However, the other issue I realised is that the projects and the work presented does not always have to cost a lot of money to implement. This was something that touched me very much, as it made me realise that goodwill is always key to any success of any project or programme. Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultural groups was a very positive experience. It also helped me to address some of my own issues of not being exposed to people from vast backgrounds, this was something I really appreciated.

The Gender Protocol Summit also made me realise that I am also a change maker, and that as a woman, it is also very important to share those values to my children. The amount of knowledge and wealth that I gained at the Gender Protocol Summit has shaped me on so many levels. This was the first time I had attended a Summit of this nature and I was very happy to be part of the experience. I am very grateful for the opportunity that I was afforded. Thank you Gender Links for inviting me to the Summit; I am a better person and my life has been changed for the best.


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