Rabson Mwenda-Zambia

Rabson Mwenda-Zambia

Date: June 30, 2015
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Born in the eastern part of Zambia, Rabson Mwenda is a retired agricultural specialist and now a farmer. He works mostly with the community and in cooperation with the Kabwe Municiple council. Genderlinks (GL) has been working with the council and the council has been reaching out to communities such as Mpima were rabson Belongs. Here is Rabson’s story.

“I have always been gender sensitive since childhood because I interacted with girls and women a lot and came to realise that in most cases women made wiser decisions than men and that they were just as intelligent if not more intelligent than us men.

I have always liked gender programmes regardless of which organisation was running the program. I like the GL programmes in the community and I am happy that they have finally reached out to the needy.
I have been involved in gender issues in my community but on an informal basis. I interact with various people as a farmer and it is through these interactions that we hold meetings and have discussions about gender issues. I have not been involved in any groupings or organisations formally but I like attending meetings to do with gender whenever I can so I can learn more.

I first heard about Gender Links (GL) through the Kabwe Council Gender Focal Person (GFP) Rabbecca Museteka. They had a discussion over a meeting that was scheduled to conduct the COE verification. She further explained that an evaluation tool known as a local government gender score card had been availed to the council to enable it conduct a self assessment exercise to determine how well they were faring. The tool is used as a form of self monitoring and evaluation in councils that have not developed evaluation tools. She stressed that it was important for the meeting to take place as the results are compiled and used in the publication of a SADC Gender Barometer.

It seems difficult to understand that some women I meet in the community and have discussions about gender with do not seem to mind gender inequality at all, but here within this meeting they seem emotional and very affected by it like they were survivors themselves. Whenever they make contributions they stress that there comments be kept off the record. This leaves me wondering whether my approach is ineffective or they just feel comfortable speaking out to people that do not know them and their family.

I acknowledge that there has been change in my life since I started attending gender meetings in the community. I am able to understand and differentiate gender roles from sex roles and can articulate issues of engendering, gender mainstreaming, gender aware policies and other concepts.

Knowing and learning about gender issues has been an advantage for me because it has re-enforced the little knowledge I had and has made me bolder when talking about issues of gender and GBV.

I am very passionate about women’s issues because I know of their plight and desire to see a better nation and world for them. However one of the common challenges fellow community members and myself find is interpreting gender and articulating it in a local language and context so that the locals understand the term. However much we try the locals view gender and sex as the same thing and that it seeks to address women’s issues mainly.

Most important, I have learnt that there is need for behaviour change. In the past we had people having multiple concurrent relationships in our community but this has decreased. If you want to be a role model, your behaviour needs to change. I have acquired information and the ability to act on the knowledge that I have acquired.

The several meetings I attend by pro-gender organisations and activists have improved my knowledge and helped uplift my standing to where I am now. I am a better gender advocate now than I was a year ago because of efforts by different organisations in my community pursuing the same goal.

I had not met anyone from GL until now and I know for sure that you like other organisations are proponents of gender sensitization and equality and GL seeks to meet the 28 targets stipulated in the SADC Gender protocol that was ratified by Zambia. The result of ratifying the protocol was the development of the Zambia National Gender Policy.

My desire is to see a future where more women compete with men for political positions; government appointing more women to leadership positions and not as deputies to see a continuation in the sensitization of women and girls about gender. Just as HIV/AIDS was looked at as a taboo but later accepted, so will the same fate befall gender equality eventually.


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