Puleng Lebesa-Likila Council COE

Puleng Lebesa-Likila Council COE

Date: June 30, 2015
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Puleng Lebesa is a very active woman politician in her village. She was elected the leader of a women’s forum formed to advise women on political issues within the village. In 2011, she was also elected into the office of the Likila community council, where she is currently the deputy chairperson of the council.

She first met with Gender Links during a workshop that was held for women who were standing for local government elections (Women in Politics workshop). She managed through the guidance given by Gender Links to convince the community, and was elected a councillor. As a councillor, she has become a regular part of the COE workshops, and since then she has learned a lot about gender issues, and how she should handle community developments as a woman leader.

Since the COE workshops she attended, gender issues became clear for her. She is now able to handle conflicts from the community, and she is constantly working very hard to help other women to follow in her footsteps as a leader. She teaches everyone she can to be able to take part in governance and development activities.

Lebesa has been very active in community projects, and more women are following in her footsteps. She works very hard to encourage other women to participate actively in community development projects. She has also been encouraging people from the village to form groups to start small scale businesses to eradicate poverty and empower themselves economically. At the moment, there are four groups which consist of women and men, although in small numbers; they are doing small agricultural projects.

People who did not know about gender are now clear, because she holds discussions with them to tell them about gender issues. Men in the village understand these issues and are slowly changing from stereotypes.

Lebesa has been working together with the community, and actively engaging them in projects; this has helped make a big difference, because people understand things better when they take part in them, and they are also able to influence others to follow suit.

Although people slowly understood issues of gender, most of them were women, and it was very difficult to convince men. Many of them did not attend public gatherings in the first place, saying women were looking for things that they do not deserve, and that they will always be minor to their husbands. But with the help she got from the trainings, she managed to be patient with them until a few men understood, and slowly she is seeing them beginning to attend the gatherings.

Lebesa gives credit to Gender Links for the fact that she has been empowered through several trainings, especially on conflict management and computers. It was her first time to press a computer and see how it works. She really felt empowered by Gender Links.

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