Zimbabwe: Sithabisiwe Takawira

Date: July 13, 2018
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“A leader should have people at heart.”
I am a gender champion at the same time a ward Councillor. I drive change in the community at large through developing projects for sustenance, representing the people in the community to council, sensitizing women to participate on key positions in politics, engage stake holders like Environmental Management Agency (EMA), social welfare services for Childline and health services for the health campaigns. I have children at heart as a leader and watching them grow, attaining good education and good quality life is my dream.

I have a political background since the age of 25.I have experience in working with communities and the council. I have been privileged to be elected the female Beitbridge councillor to represent the people of Beitbridge and their needs in my ward.

The nature of my work is to be a mother figure and leader with people at heart who is able to attend and listen to people’s problems without segregation and judging regardless of political background, gender, religion or race is my mission. In other words, I am a city mother. As a community leader I should be the driver of change to the community by organising workshops to capacitate the community.

Poverty has made a lot of young women vulnerable to all sorts of things for e.g. prostitution exposing them to STIs, HIV/AIDS and fatherless pregnancies. Most care centres are having large numbers of lost babies or those who are being raised by single mothers. Prostitution and ignorance by single mothers has become their full time profession. This is because they will be in need to fend their children and pay their school fees. This has contributed to violation of rights of women by men to the extent that women cannot even negotiate for safer sex. They have lost their dignity to be able to compete with their male counterparts being regarded as unreasonable women with lose morals. My duty as a leader is to help these women reform, instilling change in their lives through capacity building training workshops as well as empowering them to join politics. I also act on their behalf to the council so that the can be recognised and capacitated to start small projects like vending.

The major key activity in the community is to convey messages from the people to the council and give feedback to the community. I am a policy maker who represents the community in the council. As a councillor, I should like to see that the local authority properly provides service delivery to the community for example Healthy facilities, schools, roads employment and recreational facilities etc. I endeavour to bring change to the community by encouraging women to take up key positions where they can make decisions especially by participating in politics. I also encourage the council to pave a way to women’s economic empowerment so that they can be able to sustain themselves.

Championing gender has completely change my life. At personal level, I gained confidence to stand my ground as a woman who wants change. I also won an ICLD award for mentorship. At community level, there have been a great improvement. Girls are no longer experiencing school dropouts or early marriages. They are being sponsored by associations such as BEAM. Through GBV awareness campaigns, issues of GBV has decreased and women are now able to lift each other up through sharing experiences. Again at the policy level, there has been sustainability of gender budgeting. I want to ensure that gender inequality is achieved by 2030, seeing more women recruited on key positions when employed. I want to continue helping the less privileged children including the ones living with disabilities. To build a better Zimbabwe let us empower women. I have confidence to stand the ground and continue influencing their recognition in all areas of decision making.