Onalenna Thandie Rammekwa – Botswana

Onalenna Thandie Rammekwa – Botswana

Date: June 30, 2015
  • SHARE:

“The full wrath of gender based violence goes beyond physical abuse and it’s most difficult to find resources and information about its full impacts,” says Onalenna Thandie Rammekwa. She is a young woman who is proactive, hard working, creative and resilient. She has been actively involved in advocacy work through numerous organizations, such as the University of Botswana Young Women’s leadership club, Ditshwanelo – The Botswana Centre for Human Rights, as well as with the Botswana Council of Non Governmental Organisations (BOCONGO). Her work in advocacy has primarily been to address gender equity as a strategy to addressing gender based violence. Work of advocacy she has undertaken has primarily through volunteer work as she believes in social entrepreneurship is one way young people can pioneer transformative gender based violence interventions. The work of the young lady has been recognized, as she along with the Young Women’s leadership has won the BALA Gender Based violence prevention category of 2012.currently the beneficiary volunteers at BOCONGO with the gender and development providing technical and administrative support on all gender related activities.

Rammekwa’s first contact with Gender Links was through the University of Botswana’s Young women’s leadership club which was an advocacy group that sought to empower young women in the university campus through advocacy on sexual reproductive health as well as leadership capacity building. Her subsequent work with Gender Links has been through rappourtering at the SADC annual gender summits as well as working on the nationwide SADC Gender Protocol 2013 consultation meetings. “Gender Links Botswana needs increased youth participation in all their work to ensure growth and sustainability of the organisations efforts.”

Rammekwa has learnt the importance of establishing strategic partnerships in order to effectively carry out activities of addressing gender based violence. She has also learnt that issues of gender do not exist in isolation, and therefore there is a need for one to be actively involved in developments in the gender arena so that whatever projects are developed they are always relevant to the needs of the intended recipients. It is due to this that she reads more about gender, and takes part in more gender related forums to increase her capacity.

Gender Links can take credit for much of the change in Rammekwa, because they have provided networking platforms for her to interact with other gender activists who have shared information with her on the different schools of thought to addressing gender based violence. Her work as a rappourteur as well has allowed her to appreciate the need to use a consultative approach in advocacy and policy development.

Gender Links alliance members indicated that Rammekwa was pleasant to work with. She is timely and focused and carries out all her duties with due diligence. They often recommend her to other partners in the gender movement who may need her services. Gender Links has provided the beneficiary with needs assessment tools, access to first hand information in the gender and gender based violence discourse. The skills and knowledge transfer has been through written material provided by Gender Links as well as through forums such SADC gender summit where knowledge transfer has continued to take place. The evidence of this is attested to by the fact that she has received her tertiary training in Economics and intends on pursuing her masters’ studies in Politics Economics, to investigate the role of gender in governance.

The changes in Rammekwa are now reflected in the way the beneficiary relates to those around them in that all decision making is done with a gender lens even in socialization of younger family members as a way of challenging the norms and stereotypes around gender that may possibly encourage GBV. “Now people close to me ask me if I have to bring gender into every issue.”

Since her introduction to Gender Links and gender related forums, she has grown tremendously in terms of intellect and emotional intelligence in addressing gender activities. She has been seen to mentor young people around her on gender related activities. She has been actively taking part in the CEDAW country report consultation meetings; she is part of the steering committee of the Botswana National women’s expo. Through her work with University of Botswana young women’s leadership club, they have been able to lobby the university to draw up a sexual harassment policy. The organization took part in the development process as well as final approval of the policy. In recognition of the work done, she has been encouraged to continue to mobilize other young people to spearhead initiatives that would advance the change they would like to see take place.

Rammekwa says she has been challenged by limited beauracratic systems in place through which communities can be mobilised. She has taken to the use of social media as well snowballing to share skills and knowledge on gender.

Rammekwa’s future plans are to mainstream gender into economic policy through research, advocacy and lobbying, with greater participation from young people. “Gender Links Botswana works hard to disseminate information on gender based violence, and should be commended for all the community engagement and mobilisation it is able to carry out.”


Comment on Onalenna Thandie Rammekwa – Botswana

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *