Peggy Ramaphane – Botswana

Peggy Ramaphane – Botswana

Date: May 29, 2012
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Gender based violence will be a hard battle to overcome, since our culture is one of the major hindering factors. Men are raised with the mind-set that they are superior to women, and that has to change. Gender Links came into my life at a time when I was struggling with GBV in my district, and, like an angel from the sky, they guided me on how to help women around me. At the time I was working with them to compile ‘I stories.’ This was a very emotional journey for me, and thanks to GL I went through it to be a stronger person.

I am the coordinator of Women Against Rape in Maun, a part of the country where most women are not literate. We must work together from the grassroots to make progress. Women against rape came at a period where there were many rapes in the district, and women were blamed for the rape, and shunned from society. All I do is lobby for these woman’s rights to make sure that laws are changed to give them help and the closure they need.

In the past, I was fighting to end GBV, but I didn’t have the right tools to win the battle. At that time, Gender Links came in, and gave me the ammunition I needed. GL brought educational materials which had all the information that was critical, and it covered all levels of people I was engaging with, from women at the grass roots right to the very top policy makers. The design of the books was killer; these were the kinds of materials anyone can identify with, because they had real life issues in them.

My light bulb moment about Gender Links came when I went to Johannesburg for the Gender Justice Summit. This was when I saw how my work fit into the bigger picture, and I really felt like all the hard work was worth it. People took time to appreciate what we have been doing. I saw there that no one working in gender can help but be affected by their work, and connecting to other people working in the field has been crucial for me to manage. Through Gender Links, not only have all the staff played a significant role in helping me reach out and touch peoples lives, but I have been connected to the Woman Affairs department, UNICEF and a number of organisations across the country.

Every day I wake up and wonder what kind of abuse I am going to experience that day; I wonder if what I do will end up helping that person. The work looks easy from a distance but it is actually harder than it looks. Gender Links capacity building gave clear examples to help my work, like the documentation of ‘I stories.’ GL has shown me that hard work and taking what I do seriously is important to moving forward. This battle is a hard and long one, winning it is one of the things that keeps me going.

We are influencing a lot of lives through our outreach programs. For example, we are involving students with educational materials, and running a shelter were women come battered. After assistance, they come out renewed, and empowered to go out and stand up on their own. Leaders must move away from destructive cultural practices and fight for change.


One thought on “Peggy Ramaphane – Botswana”

Tebogo T. Botshelo says:

Keep the good work, continue being the voice to the voiceless.

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