Learning Journey: Unleashing my potential

Learning Journey: Unleashing my potential

Date: July 15, 2016
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The best way to not feel hopeless is to get up and do something. Don’t wait for good things to happen to you. If you go out and make some good things happen, you will fill the world with hope, you will fill yourself with hope.” Barack Obama

During phase 3 training in Chobe one of the participants stood up and left the room, at first I thought she was going to the ladies room and as I looked out I saw her almost at the gate of the workshop venue. I quickly dropped everything I was doing and ran after her. I set the woman down and she was in tears as she told me how difficult it was to do the cash flow and it made her depressed. I had to take time out and make her understand the importance of completing the business plan. At the end she used the business plan to get chickens through the poverty eradication programme.

2015 has been a very busy year for the Botswana office having to host the regional summit for the first time. The Botswana team had to work extra hard to ensure the success of the final summit as the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development reached its 2015 target. One of my main roles as an officer is ensuring that all the programmes including Governance, Media, Entrepreneurship, Alliance, Gender and Justice are functional and these made up a crucial part in the summit. My responsibilities include supervising those that I work with and also maintaining good working relations between GL and local stakeholders.  Fund raising for the office has not been easy task considering that Botswana has been declared a high middle income country. By far the most important deliverable has been insuring the continuity of the office through fundraising locally. The highlight of 2015 was being awarded the EU grant for one and half years. This means that we could continue empowering women in Botswana for a bit longer. 2015 saw me run entrepreneurship trainings for the first time since joining GL in 2013. Seeing the women come to life as they completed their business plans was fulfilling.

Being a manager can be very challenging especially knowing that the decisions you make have a potential of making or breaking the organisation or those under your supervision. Over the past year I have learnt to think through the decisions taken and weigh their benefits and possible consequences for all parties involved. Being a team member at times you also have to account for mistakes that did not originate from you. One such was during the Regional Summit where the field visit was planned for the emerging entrepreneurs only. At the last minute other people had to be included and there were no prior arrangements with the concerned council. I learnt from this experience that communication in any organisation is very important. It can affect the the trust with partners and therefore there is need for constant flow of information with our stakeholders and partners. The other important lesson is that keeping calm and not panicking can make a huge difference. I see myself having grown a lot in the past year and this has been helped by the interactions I have had with various members of the gender movement and also running training and meeting people from all walks of life.

I have been humbled by working with GBV survivors and seeing our women in Botswana excel during the regional summit and as we went around doing the FLOW review. My supervisors at HQ level also contributed greatly to my learning journey through constant mentoring and monitoring.

My writing skills have greatly improved since joining GL and also my people skill in general. I am able to relate to people from all walks of life. I have built relationships with high ranking government and private sector officials. The highlight was being invited for the opening of the last session of parliament in November 2015. This helps in expanding the GL networks and cementing its relevancy in Botswana.

My self-esteem has been raised I am now recognized as one of the upcoming gender activists in Botswana. I have also been invited to take part in forums meant to improve the gender movement in Botswana and also to try and close the generational gap between older and younger activists. The partnerships made will help a lot in fund raising locally. I have seen a personal growth in my life and have become tolerant of many cultures. I am also aware of gender issues and attitudes in my country. I use the skills gained to educate people on the importance of gender equality. My skill as a public speaker has grown and I am able to stand in front of many people and conduct television and radio interviews confidently.

I generally feel that GL has been doing its best given the circumstances in which it was operating with regard to donor funding. The organisation kept us motivated and the officers at HQ level worked closely with us to ensure that proposals were submitted to meet the deadlines. As an individual I feel I need to explore more funding opportunities for the Botswana office. I also need to improve in keeping contact with Gender Focal Persons as many are transferred and there tends to be a lack of continuity at council level.

Written by Gomolemo Rasesigo, Country Manager, Botswana