Thabo Maema – Lesotho

Thabo Maema – Lesotho

Date: May 29, 2012
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I am the Community Council Secretary, and my main task is to implement the local government action plans. I am the CEO of Mafiteng Council, and I oversee the implementation of all the councils plans and activities. In addition to this, I advise council on what resolutions to take and makes sure that those are implemented. I have not been associated with GL for very long, unfortunately. However, already I have changed my own attitudes and outlooks, and I hope to communicate how some of these changes have taken place.

I first heard of Gender Links when I got a call from Mme Malepota in March 2012, informing me that GL wanted to have a workshop with the council on COE’s. After this, the logistics and dates were finalised and the workshop was set to take place. At first glance, after receiving the letter from the council governing body, I thought it was one of the many organizations interested in training councillors, since they had just been elected. I thought it was just another organization.

However to my pleasure, Gender Links turned out to be more than just ‘another organisation’. To a great extent, they made me to be very much aware of gender issues, and aware of the need to assess how we take action. I am more gender sensitive than I was before. To a certain extent that is a benefit for me. In the process of learning, I should be more careful when planning community services, we should be careful not to discriminate. While we may all know this in theory, Gender Links has shown us what this can look like in practice.

Gender Links has definitely enhanced what I have known already. I learned that dealing with land as far as women are concerned can be tricky, for example, from a legal standpoint. Some Acts are not quite explicit about women, leading to discriminatory practices. Analysis was something I already did, but now I take a different lens. For this I give GL full credit.

I see much benefit in Gender Link’s work, and know that continued engagement will benefit me. I would like to gain knowledge. We have key challenges such as the issue of funding programs that are inclined to knowing the issue of gender mainstreaming. This interaction should serve to sensitise us, and we should know how to fundraise for our initiatives.

I regret that there was not enough time taken to prepare my council for the 2012 GL Summit, and I hope that in the future the workshops will be earlier, possibly a few months earlier, to better prepare the councils for the competition ahead. Everything came at short notice, it was too fast tracked. We met in March and introducing the COE process to us, we were under under a lot of pressure. We see the value of the issues and process, and for that reason don’t want to do sub-standard presentations.

It is a personal concern that there are very few males at the summit, and very few males in GL as an organization; I hope to see more men in future, because gender is an issue that is essential for both men and women. I wish to thank GL and to congratulate them for enabling us to partake in an occasion of this magnitude. We are able to meet various other candidates and just by listening to their presentations learn about the challenges they face, and better understand our own situation and approach. This platform is very useful.


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