Lynder Freeman Maphosa – Umguza Rural District Council COE

Date: September 25, 2018
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“Destined to be exemplary in gender mainstreaming.”

My name is Lynder Freeman Maphosa I am employed at Umguza Rural District Council as the Environment and Natural Resources Officer. I hold a Diploma in Forestry and a Bachelor of Science Honors Degree in Forest Resources and Wildlife Management which comes in handy for my job which is all about community work and community initiatives towards natural resources management. With regards to wildlife, the work centres on human and wildlife conflict, quota utilisation for economic benefit to the locals and ensuring species richness through preservation and conservation of both flora and fauna. The work also involves protection and sustainable management of base minerals. This helps to reduce landscape degradation and gully formation in sand extraction areas.

As Umguza Rural District Council, our core business is to provide quality services to the people of Umguza through the use of available natural resources like timber, minerals and human resources in a sustainable manner. We provide basic needs inclusive of water and housing to the locals and people from surrounding areas despite their sexual orientation.

Through my work, I facilitated for the creation of a fire management plan that ensures the protection of women and children and vulnerable groups like the disabled from fire outbreaks which could lead to loss of life and properties. Moreover, Council conservation and land use by-laws ensure that there are no blind spots or hazardous places in Umguza through exorbitant penalties given to perpetrators. As we carry out environment outreach programmes, gender issues are also discussed and linked to environmental issues so that locals have knowledge on the subject.

Gender Links has contributed immensely towards character building and also in terms of showing initiative. It gave us the platform to be creative and competitive through the summits that it holds and these summits also pushed me as an individual and other co-workers to perform. Other than spearheading hard work, working on gender issues cuts across all age groups and sexes, and when issues are discussed from both perspectives (male and female), people at the work place and communities, understand each other better and tend to appreciate each other more. Given such, some non-communicated disputes are solved directly and indirectly.

I was introduced to Gender Links through the COE program. I am still learning a lot each time we hold meetings and workshops and I have embraced the empowerment given to women through this forum. In as much as this is an honour for me, it is also an opportunity to the locals that I interact with directly and indirectly as Gender Links has created a platform for sharing best practices and collaborations between Councils.

One of my memorable stories to date with Gender Links is winning on behalf of my Council the COE award at the district level summit in 2015 having attended the competition for the first time. This for us as Council meant we were on the right track as we were attending the competitions for the first time.

Plans for the future are to ensure that we mainstream gender into all categories and activities of the council and to make our records and policies gender-sensitive. It is our hope that we will become a model institute in mainstreaming gender and be exemplary to all organisations that we interact with through action.

On gender-related issues, the council is constructing schools and early learning centres that ensure equal development of the people of Umguza academically without considering sex and orientation. In terms of water supply, Council through its own initiatives, WASH and Community Share Ownership scheme has a total of 410 water points in its 19 wards that have the involvement of both men and women. The positive changes from these water point committees are that men are part of the programme.