Sharon Thelemaque Ernesta – Seychelles

Sharon Thelemaque Ernesta – Seychelles

Date: July 1, 2015
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I am a trained journalist who has worked for the Red Cross, doing disaster management education and awareness. Currently I am working as a Press attaché in the Ministry of Environment and Energy headed by honourable Minister Professor Rolph Payet. I also work as a volunteer at GEMPLUS doing advocacy, lobbying training. The minister is very interested in gender issues and is trying to get gender and climate change on his agenda, which is very encouraging.

My first encounter with GL was when Colleen Lowe Morna, Gender Links (GL) Chief Executive Officer came to train journalists on how to report on Gender Based Violence in 2003. She came back to the Seychelles when we created the GEM Plus network. All Gender Links meetings I have attended were intense and long. However, at the end of it all, one takes some time out and feels rejuvenated after a lot of pressure.

Over the years I have learnt that GL is strict on deadlines. We work in different countries and different contexts. The environments people are working in are all different. Sometimes what is feasible in South Africa is not exactly feasible in Seychelles. So they should try to consider that. While this can cause difficulties, it has actually turned out to be a positive thing in terms of my time management. I have become more strict with time and how to organise my work around the time I have.

I have grown professionally and matured in the way I do work. Over the years, Gender Links has made me their contact person and it really makes me feel proud. It shows that I have grown and I’m definitely doing something right when we talk about gender issues. This also shows that they value partnerships, because every time work happens in Seychelles, they contact me. They have even referred other people to me.

With Gender Links there is no half-baked work. This has pushed me to do my work thoroughly. I have also acquired a lot of experience and knowledge from the workshops, discussions and trainings that we have received. I can even facilitate workshops myself. I’m now a trainer. I don’t find it difficult to organise and even facilitate discussions and workshops with so much energy.

As Gender Links works with partners and people from different countries, it has also opened doors for me to interact with people from different countries and gain knowledge from their vast and diverse background. This is such a big thing for me since I come from an island. Such interactions that are cultivated in Gender Links work also give participants a chance to engage, and are fertile ground for new partnerships to be born. I have learnt how to monitor the media. I’ve learnt how to be gender sensitive and be aware of what gender disparities exist around us.

The Gender Links series of cyber dialogues that I have participated in have been very important in sharing of information amongst people in different countries. They have also helped me to realise what kind of opportunities the internet has in terms of information dissemination and sharing.

In my country, I am not the only person who has benefitted and seen a change. Others who have benefitted include the Gender Secretariat. With them, GL is trying to help them come up with a policy on gender.

GL has to take a lot of credit for the work the work being done in Seychelles around gender issues. Also, joint efforts between GL and GEM Plus can take credit for the change that I have noticed in my life and around me. Gender Links has been helpful with the resources, expertise and opportunities that they have created for us. I can say Colleen Lowe Morna herself has been very instrumental in this change from the time I first met her 10 years ago. In all of GL projects, be it research or policy formulations, we have never been left out. She has always given us as a country an opportunity to be included in all studies and allow for our status on gender to be reflected.

I have shared with others what I have learnt over the past ten years. This I have done in the workshops I have conducted I have even used GL materials during workshops. I wish to become a full time consultant on gender and media work who specialises on women’s empowerment. The past years interacting with GL have definitely proven to bring about a positive change in my life.


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