Zimbabwe: Abygale Makonza

Date: May 13, 2021
  • SHARE:

Women’s participation is  key to the development

“GenderLinks brought emancipation of women in the SADC region and women have taken great strides in the development of nations”.

 Gender Links took us from scratch and into becoming Centres Of Excellence. I attended Gender Links workshops which not only boosted my confidence but opened my eyes to see how best I can be useful to myself, my family, my council and my community. I am a council employee and the Gender Focal Person.

As an individual, I started income-generating projects to augment my salary and fend for my family. I also furthered my education up to degree level since I got the notion that women can make it. I also started to do some researches on issues that can assist women to be empowered. My interaction with women led me to place my self in a position where I will always be available for them.

It was through Gender Links that l realised the need to exhaust my potential. As I embarked on the journey to climb the ladders I also inspired my children and colleagues who also followed suit. My family learnt that hard work pays and that the girl child is equally important as the boy. This landed my young girl participating in soccer and the elder one in Karate whilst at college.  They also managed to study challenging subjects such as economics, Accounts and Mathematics. At home they are not selective when doing work as they fix irons, stoves and telephones, they go to the fields and do all the other work which boys can do.

At work, I am a wellness and health advisor. I also arrange HIV and AIDS, Sexual Harassment and Health and Safety training.  Gender Links has helped me to organize campaigns on the Day of the African Child, World Aids Day, the International Women’s Day, the Day of the elderly and other social events.

I help to facilitate campaigns on 50/50 equal representation of men and women in decision making positions in local government, campaigns on 16 Days of Activism against gender-based violence and also roadshows etc. I also interact with Non-Governmental Organizations and government ministries for commemorations of events. I attribute these skills to Gender Links.

I mentor survivors of gender-based violence as they do their projects. I also work with Junior Councillors. As the council is constrained for financial resources,  I work with development partners to ensure that the needs of the youths are met. Besides the youths attending the Junior Councils forums they are also taught on behaviour change, sexual reproductive health rights, citizen engagement and participation, gender-based violence and child rights.

It has not been a good year to meet and showcase all that the youths had but they continued to operate through social platforms, sensitising on COVID-19 and other youth-related services.

At the council level, the council set up a stand-alone gender committee. The committee has its budget which is funded by the other Committees and all the projects that promote gender were included. Much of all the work I do I give credit to Gender Links country manager Priscilla Maposa who is always nurturing and mentoring us through the Centres of Excellence programme.

The challenges which I encountered was that the gender work was not very much recognised as it was the Gender Focal Person and the Gender Champion who were at the forefront of initiating gender activities. This was overcome by the coming on board of the Gender Committee. Secondly, the number of female councillors in Council is very small with only 2 of out of 21 which makes pushing gender issues difficult. I hope the quota system might take care of this.

In my plans, I would like to have a calendar where our local entrepreneurs would meet to exhibit and sell their wares. I wish to have all entrepreneurs owning business stands and to have funding so that their businesses grow and prosper and the women to be trained to come up with goods that can compete internationally. I have always trusted basing with the journey that we have travelled with GenderLinks that we are almost getting there.