Lavumisa institutional profile

Lavumisa institutional profile


Date: August 22, 2013
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On the southeast edge of the Kingdom of Swaziland on the border with Kwazulu Natal lies the town of Lavumisa. The town is located in the Shiselweni district of southern Swaziland. It is a border crossing point to the neighbouring town of Golela in South Africa.
Synonymous with border towns, it experiences a hive of activity as many people come in and out through this road border post. The Lavumisa Town board is not to be missed as one approaches the border post gate.
The Lavumisa Town board is one of Gender Links Local Government Centres of Excellence in mainstreaming gender. It started working with Gender Links in the Centres of Excellence process in 2011. The council has committed itself to achieving the targets of the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development (2008). Up to date, the town board has 5 male councillors only as no women were elected into power in the previously held elections. However, the town board continues to lobby the community to see the potential in women as leaders and encourages them to vote for women.
This local government institution is highly involved in helping the community through numerous initiatives. The town board has been working tirelessly to respond to the community needs and realities. Their involvement with the community has been critical, as they are the closest level of government to the people.
The impact of HIV and AIDS on the local community is felt here like in many other parts of Southern Africa. The town board has been able to tackle the pandemic on numerous fronts, giving many people a new lease of life through the support of different groups created in response to HIV and AIDS.
The Council supports those living with HIV and AIDS. Asiye Lavumisa HIV and AIDS support group is one of the community initiatives to which the town board offers its full support. This HIV and AIDS support group consistents of 10 women and 5 men, and has an indigenous chicken rearing project supported by the town board.
“As the town board, we managed to help the members of this group to draw up their proposal to get funding for their project. We continue to assist them in all their concerns. Members have been able to get some money for their upkeep from the sale of their produce,” says Thobile Jele, Programme Manager and gender focal person for the town board.
“The town board has been helping our support group extensively. It has helped us grow and be in unity. They have even given us their boardroom to conduct our meetings and invited people to come and help us with how best we can roll out this project,” said Mnothisa Phakathi a member of the support group. “They also provide us with transport to transport our chicken feed from the market to the project site. Even in cases when anyone of us falls ill the council readily gives us transport to the hospital. We are grateful for their help and support,” she added.
Mabhekile Mamba another female member of the support group concurs with Phakathi. “The council has been helping us to market our produce. Through the profits we make we have been able to take care of our families financially; we are now economically empowered. They have also helped us in getting help from other institutions.”
To accentuate its efforts towards helping the community fight the pandemic, the town board is employing many strategies, like encouraging women and men to go for voluntary counselling and testing. It is the engaging community members in exercises such as condom demonstration and distribution. Responses to such activities differ as some people still find it an uncomfortable issue to discuss.


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