South Africa: Alma Kritzinger

Date: November 21, 2019
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“Working with Gender Links and other stakeholders, changed my mind-set to become more gender aware and focussing on a holistic approach to address gender issues and bring services such as access to water or  HBC assistance.”

Networking is not collecting contacts; networking is about planting relationship. Since 2011, working with Alma Kritzinger at Mossel Bay Municipality, I was introduced to the Gender Links process and work. This result in myself becoming more gender aware and start focussing on aspects within my scope of work, to be more gender sensitive towards SRHS, Networking with NPO’s and other stakeholders looking at the work through a gender mainstreaming lens. Being the Community Base Service Coordinator, I learned that the job came with challenges as the challenges of the NGO’s become my obstacles to ensure access to services. I realized that I need to interact and intervene on their behalf to reach specific outcome.

Sister Meyer, as child, experienced her own challenges as she grew up without knowing her biological father – she was raised by her grandparents and at the age of eight my grandmother died and did her grandfather take care of her till 11 years old after which she was forced to go and live with her mother and stepfather.

With a stepfather, having a substance abuse problem, she was exposed to emotional abuse as he would lock her out of the house when he was drunk and even belittle her, reminding her that she is not his child. The feeling of rejection, not worthy and being dependent was part of her daily life.

Knowing this, she developed a special place in her heart for child headed household and vulnerable people. She wants to be there for those in need, as she knows how it feel to be vulnerable, needing assistance and don’t get any help. Working in nursing, she always knows that she wants to work in her community and focussed in Psychiatric Nursing. This were a stepping stone for her work in the community.
The purpose of Sir Meyer life, is bring happiness and growth to her household, her community, her organization and all within her influence, while living a rich and abundant life of integrity, which is her definition of success. Living correct principles is the centre of her life, from which she seek solutions to life’s many demands.

Provide assistance in the writing of funding proposals
Co-ordinating all services in regards to health and arranging projects, interventions to address the NSP 2017-2022.
Being the liaison officer between Old Age Homes, Palliative and Sub-acute Centre.
Represent the Department of Health at all community structures
Responsible to provide training on the HBC
To act as project manager in the field

Instead of looking with blinkers, I have the ability to look broader. I think working in the field, I realized that inter departmental mainstreaming is necessary to be able to meet the overall objectives of gender mainstreaming. Sometime, you need to step back to be able to step into the situation. Having the ability to putting yourself in the shoes of the next persons. Looking to situation out of the scope of DOH, versus NPO, made it possible for me to make a linkage and meet each other halfway.

Taking my background and feeling of rejection into account, it gave me more confidence, when realizing that the situation changed as the family is now turning towards me for assistance and guidance … I’m no longer the insecure girl child, but a woman that can influence my family to get a positive outcome.

In the past DOH worked alone on health issues. This resulted in the workload being so much that the basic Health Calendar and focus areas could not be reached with the small amount of budget and manpower available. Working in the MLAC multi sectoral structure, tasks is divided and organisations and Departments is taking hands to ensure that these programs is dealt with in a more sustainable manner. (JPI)

For instance – persons living with HIV/AIDS and persons with a disability were able to be part of a learner ship. To give these people workplace experience, the Department adopted them into an internship process at the Clinics which ease the workload for the understaffed clinics whereby the students addressed all administrative functions, giving more staff to assist with access to basic health service.
Having no policy is a policy itself. A formal TOR and five year action plan were adopted not only in the Mossel Bay Local Aids Council, but also within the IDP of the Municipality.