Zimbabwe: Getrude Gumbo

Date: July 13, 2018
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Getrude Gumbo

“I am an empowered gender champion, who now has the capacity to bring others on board in gender mainstreaming. I can strongly fight for support and strongly defend a principle. To me gender is now a “HEART” issue not a “HEAD” issue.”

I have experienced discrimination in the form of gendered violence from a household level. Growing up, I had a very abusive father whom I watched beat up my mother for many reasons. One incident I recall vividly was the most painful phenomenon was when my father beat up my mother because she wanted to take my sister to secondary school. The mentality was so bad that my father believed that girls should not go further than primary school education.

The main base of my work is to be the voice of my community. I advocate for rights, safe environment, healthy living standards, empowerment of women, education, and the 50/50 representation of women and men in the decision and policy making posts.

I have always been keen on issues of empowerment, health, development and education from my upbringing. For the past few years I have been running as a Councilor I have been able to a voice of my community and help them develop. I have helped in development of four primary schools in my community, Mdudla, Makhokhomba, Joana Fuyana and Mazizini Primary Schools. In communities I work for in my ward I have been able to gather and establish projects that help capacitate women and empower them. I have trained women and girls from my own personal skills in projects that include interior décor, cutting and designing, dress making and urging them to venture in chicken keeping projects and other farming activities.

My mission is to “Empower, Inspire women and girls before I expire”. The most challenging factor as woman in leadership or in politics is the management of time. As a full time mother and grandmother I am also a farmer, a community leader, a musician and a designer and tailor by profession. All this, take up most of my time but as a leader I strive to give the best quality time to all my responsibilities. A majority of men do not want to be led by a woman in their communities and this increases the vulnerability of women to be subject of abuse be it verbal, physical or emotional.

Championing gender has made me a better mother, a better grandmother and a better me. I do not want to be associated with failure so I made it point that every dweller in my home is capacitated, empowered and has some skills so that they are independent. The training and projects I have taken part in have helped me to manage my time and also I have taught others on multitasking and time management.

I have helped capacitate women in IPV (Intimate Partner Violence) to be able to express themselves fully. This has been achieved through the establishment of the women empowerment projects such as kitchen décor competitions, training women to acquire skills that will help them generate income, thus they are able to fend for themselves and their families and also reduce the male dependency syndrome.

There has been a great progressive personal change and transformation taking place in terms of thinking capacity and attitudes that has been a result of the work that I do. Championing gender has made a huge change in my life and I will continue to do so for the long haul. My future plans and taking the next step is to open a Women Resource Centre. It will be in for capacitating and empowering women so that they are able to advocate for 50/50 representation in decision making posts.