Zimbabwe: Rachel Magura

Date: September 9, 2019
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I am a leader and a mother. Being a woman l have been in council for a very long time as a Councilor now alderman and been the council’s deputy chairperson. Am also currently heading the Services committee and have led several portfolios. I was awarded with a certificate of Excellency after exhibiting professionalism, commitment to work requirements, personal responsibility and leadership as well as respect for training opportunities.

At the time of being a leader I happened to be invited to a workshop that was conducted by Gender Links on Gender based Violence. I was so touched by the encounters that were experienced by some of the participants that I wanted to be part of the change.

The meeting was attended by government and non-governmental organizations that deals with people living with disabilities. I was moved by compassion and decided to take gender issues seriously. Among the training’s l received, l participated much in HIV and AIDS workshops

As a councilor I want to establish change by empowering and educating vulnerable groups such as women and the girl child. I also want to share soft skills that will maintain the process of gender mainstreaming and empowerment implement policies, programs and support systems that enables transformation especially the community I lead which is Mutoko District.

I am currently the Chairperson of Social Services Committee, council Gender Champion in ward 24 in Mutoko District. Again I assist in carrying out the government programs at the council and ward level such as the grain loan scheme, command Agriculture where we serve people by distributing inputs and other things as required. I also have to offer full support to Gender Focal person and resource mobilization and allocation.

I am currently focusing ion being an advocate for change via community, organizations and the council. There are various challenges I am facing to make this dream become a reality. For me to establish gender change within the institution, I may have to secure a budget and buy in from management which also causes delay on ongoing programs. Lack of funding is a major concern and it has led to many programs being left incomplete. Most women are still inferior and it results to less or no women buying in to the planned programs.

I managed to have a change beginning at individual level. I am now raising my children independently and my farm as is being part of our survival. I witnessed the cries and sorrows of widows within my community. They lost everything including properties and it drove me to crave for a change in y community. I concluded that change is vital to women within my community and that they are able to stand, speak and act resulting in being victors not victims.

My children have grown to love and respect their wives and families as a corrective measure from what they grew up seeing in other families. Women being viewed as a backbone of labor in farms and they were being tortured by their husbands.

I was encouraged by one women from Mutoko District to become a better person, to show the world who I am and make myself irreplaceable. Through this, I gained my energy through motivation and encouragement and I began to realize that I was a better person after all since I carried out a self-introspection.

Since my involvement in politics and gender programs, I became aware that it is no longer I that matters, but there are people whose human rights are violated. Being involved in a number of programs, I had the opportunity to invest my knowledge for change in the lives of many. Women who were seen as non-useful. The workshops I had about the role of women in the community were very beneficial and they brought positive results to the extent that other people appreciated that there are other women who are useful.

Women started to appreciate themselves with a positive glance. Their self-confidence was restored as time went on. I organised a workshop on Gender Based Violence in my ward and it was successful. Tendai Kaponda a Policy Analyst confessed that, regardless of men being fewer than women, men dominate  but women can stand up to become their own champions.

With the assistant of Nyahunure Trust, we managed to train and support women with various skills training. We managed to train a group at Rukai of food processing, at Bwanya women were equipped with carpentry skills and at Kapondoro women are currently engaged in leather products.

Through this experience, I learned that a person can encounter challenges but there are always ways to overcome them. It has not been an easy journey but am really moved with the changes I did in the lives of many. I have learned to be patient and placing others ‘needs and concerns first. Taking community work as my passion, I have managed to teach people how to value equality, respect and education. I have learned that leadership starts from sf development going further.

For next steps, I would like to reach out to other nearby communities and teach them what I have learned so they can promote equality in their communities. I also want to expand our youth outreach because if we can educate them early on we will have a society that is filled with intelligent and responsible young adults. I also want to establish an organization that will stand up for women suffering from GBV and it has to be known nationwide. I also wish to break the silence of women suffering from GBV and let them speak out so as to heal the hidden wounds.