Scout Reitumetse – Lesotho

Scout Reitumetse – Lesotho

Date: May 29, 2012
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I’m from an organization called the Dynamic Women’s Club in Maseru. What we do is work on women’s empowerment, focussing on two groups of people – women in prison, and teenage mothers. We visit them every month, and we discuss issues. They choose the topics we discuss, and then we prepare accordingly. Either someone int he club will lead and facilitate the discussions, or, if nobody in the group is knowledgeable, we’ll invite people from outside who can act as resource people. In the past, we’ve had health and small business educators come and give trainings.

We learned about Gender Links through their summit; in 2011, one member of our club was working with an organization that had been selected to attend the summit. After she returned, she shared a lot of information, and held discussions on gender. It’s a challenge in our community; we find people don’t understand the concept of gender equality. They think what we mean is that women should rule men, and it’s really not like that; it’s about sharing responsibilities, and making sure nobody is excluded in what they do, whether it is decision making, participating in family life, or in the public sphere or national politics.

This challenge has motivated us in our work, however, because it’s apparent how critical information sharing and awareness raising is. To do this, we now work in partnership with various organizations. We connect to Women in Evangelism, Prison Fellowship, and the Good Shepherd Center for teenage mothers; this connects us to our constituency. We also partner with a media house in Lesotho, to help us reach a wide audience.

At times, this work is very fulfilling; we managed to arrange funding to pay school fees for some teenage mothers who were orphaned. We worked with the school to organize as much support as possible for these women, and seeing them completing their education was very satisfying.

We still face several challenges in our work; some are related to funding. At the moment, we only work in the capital, because transport outside Maseru is expensive. Another is that we haven’t yet managed to establish an office, so when women leave prison, they may have difficulties locating and contacting us. But other challenges are programmatic. For example, working in prison can be difficult; there are many restrictions on what we are able to do, and what we can discuss. For example, we used to be able to interact as equals in the program. But recently, we were told that we must keep a table between ourselves and the prisoners; we feel that this isn’t working for us. It’s important for everyone to feel included. These principles and ways of working are important things we’ve taken away from Gender Links.

One thing that has been very important to our work, particularly since attending the 2012 Gender Links summit, and interacting with so many people from across the region, is that we need to have the confidence to provide leadership to our members. Sometimes, people get discouraged if we aren’t able to achieve certain things. But we have learned that if you have the heart for the work we are doing, and if you have passion and commitment, we will succeed. Believing in the value of our work is a bit step towards success.



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