Oscar Irimai Tsvuura – Ruwa Ton Council COE

Oscar Irimai Tsvuura – Ruwa Ton Council COE

Date: May 29, 2012
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I had very negative perceptions about gender equality, and women’s empowerment in particular; in time, that changed. People can only change when rightfully informed, and it’s very crucial for people to fully understand what they should adopt in their beliefs and their lives. Having women in decision making positions used to give me goosebumps. I used to tease Priscilla Maposa from Gender Links; I thought she was advocating for something that would never be achieved here on earth.

I am the Administration Officer at the Ruwa Town council; it’s a job with multiple roles, ranging from public relations to HR issues. It is through public relations that I came into contact with Gender Links; this encounter really changed me into a visionary person. I am determined to make gender equality a reality. The human resource element of my role has allowed me to take steps in my own position to make this a reality, because I can advocate for equal representation of men and women in all levels of employment.

Initially, I was very sceptical of Gender Links programs. I had the perception that it was a joke, and that it was a fad that would pass with time. I was very reluctant to change, and taking gender issues on board in my work was a big step; it was really a 180-degree turnaround. At first, I thought when people said gender, it was just something about women, and men should stand aside. I assumed the same of Gender Links.

When I first completed my Ordinary Level studies, my brother’s wife, who was a senior police officer, asked me to join the police force. She tried her best to persuade me to accept the offer, but I turned down the request. The thought of saluting a woman gave me the strength to reject what was being offered. I felt that I should be maintaining the minority status of women in society.

As a family man, I have three children, two girls and one boy. My family set-up acted as a catalyst to the changes that took place in my life. Gender Links widened my horizons; I am concerned about the future of my two daughters. They have really taught me to value and respect women.

It may be hard to believe that I once vowed never to allow women to participate in decision making areas, and now I’m the gender focal person in my council. However, I give the credit to Gender Links for this change in my life. Priscilla Maposa played a pivotal role in fostering these changes in me. The knowledge that I acquired through working with Gender Links has really helped me take on board relevant skills that have propelled my community to another level.

I remember once, in 2006, a council employee’s wife dumped a baby in his office, with the intention of punishing the husband who was not fending for the baby. I did nothing about the problem; I didn’t have the skills I have today, thanks to Gender Links. Now, I’m even coming up with policies to achieve gender equality and reduce al forms of gender-based violence. I got the chance to showcase these at the recent Local Governance and Gender Justice Summit.

I have learned that the only way to gain respect is by giving it. This is one of the values Gender Links has shown me. Women need to be given a proper position in modern society, unconditionally. When I act on these values, I see changes filtering down to many people in my community. Since I wear many hats at work, many different people are benefiting positively from what I achieved by working with Gender Links. As the gender focal person, I’m now responsible for mobilizing local leaders; they will, in turn, impart knowledge to the community at large.

When I was appointed the coordinator responsible for running institutional schools, I saw it as a once in a lifetime opportunity to implement measures that ensure equal access to education by both males and females. Although the future is unpredictable, I am going to approach it with one goal in mind: to see visible changes. I enjoy working with Gender Links, because of the impact it brings to the community around me. You don’t have to smell or hear of change, but you must feel it.

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