Swaziland: Fikile Mathunjwa

Date: August 30, 2018
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 “I believe in continuous learning and improvement of oneself”  

 “What has kept me going on with this work is the passion that my CEO has shown towards what we are doing for Gender Mainstreaming. His support is invaluable.” This is a quote by Fikile Mathunjwa, commending her CEO for the dedication he has shown towards gender matters in the workplace. This is what encourages her to do her work efficiently. She says that the support from her manager is contributing a lot to her work, and the fact that she is also part of the decision influence’s in council management helps her to achieve quite a lot of the objectives on gender mainstreaming.  

 Fikile Mathunjwa is a Public Health Practitioner as well as a Social Worker. She focuses on HIV and urban response coordination, social services management; this include social initiatives by the council, where gender activities fall under. She also focuses on public health, which include GBV issues and its impact on HIV/AIDS. In 2012, Ncane Maziya introduced Gender Links to the CEO of Mbabane Municipality, and this resulted in the introduction and commencement of the COE programme in the municipality. This required a 10-Stage process that was outlined by Gender Links, which was supposed to be carried out by the municipality. Throughout this process, there were requirements such as the development of a Gender Policy which also included Gender Management systems, and completing of the Gender Action Plan frameworks and scorecard verification. Mathunjwa has participated in many workshops hosted by Gender Links, including the SADC Gender Protocol@Work Summits, nationally and regionally. She has won Awards, 1st place position in 2013 and 2015 nationally, and in 2017 she won the overall urban best performance in the joint summit in Polokwane, South Africa.  

 By joining these summits, Mathunjwa says she has gained a lot of knowledge and experience, learning from other councils, how they grow in their work. She mainly highlighted the experience she got in Botswana. That is where she got the opportunity to acquire more understanding of the gender mainstreaming process. For her, that experience was an eye-opener, which also allowed her to network and research more about gender as a whole. She thanks Gender Links for the tremendous work they have done, especially by introducing the gender mainstreaming programme in the cities, the 10-stages of the COE process, the gender action plans and the summits which helped in exposing her to so many things she was not aware of.  

  Personally, Fikile Mathunjwa has changed her perception towards gender based roles and activities towards men and women. She now knows that males and females should not be described by societal roles and duties. She has changed and grown her knowledge more about gender issues. She is now educated and able to educate others about issues of gender equity and equality in her workplace. She is now able to sensitize people in decision making to integrate gender-sensitive solutions to problems involving the society. Mathunjwa says her responsibility as a Gender Focal Person has helped her change and lead by example. Through research and networking, she has been able to be resourceful through knowledge. She also says that this has helped to change and improve her interpersonal and communication skills, since gender issues are a very critical subject that needs proper thinking before communication. “Before you communicate something, you need to know your audience”, she related. She emphasized that she has learned how to classify her messages and tailor them to suit that particular audience without causing conflict.   

Mathunjwa says influencing people with the knowledge that she has is going to help her achieve the objectives of her work, which will also create a better society. She plans to do this by being the role model to the society, by practising what she is teaching. Being consistent will help her see the change she is expecting. She that continuous learning and research will also help her achieving her objectives for her work as a Gender Focal Person.