Learning Journey: We always learn in life!

Learning Journey: We always learn in life!

Date: March 23, 2020
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Inspiration is like water, when it flows, you have to consume it – Borrin Kamguia

I have been working at Gender Links for ten years this year. I started as a “field officer”, and evolved into a “country manager” and I am now the “Director of Francophone office”. During these ten years I have had the privilege of implementing all the GL programs, including, the governance, media, justice, and all the programs of the Alliance for the SADC protocol on gender and development.

The Centers of Excellence (COE) concept constitutes the basis of the governance program. The process consists of mainstreaming gender in both structures and services that local councils provide to communities. I had the advantage of participating in the conception and implementing it within 67 councils of Madagascar. These councils have all completed the ten-stage COE process.

In response to a call for proposals from the European Union, Gender Links Chief Executive Officer, Colleen Lowe Morna, presented the “hub and spoke” concept in 2018, she suggested that we submit this new concept within the concerned proposal as this new model was being piloted in Zimbabwe. I approached Priscilla to ask her for all documents related to this new concept of “Hub and Spoke”. The proposal was eventually not selected but did reach the final stage of the selection.

During meetings in Johannesburg, Priscilla shared with us this new concept of “Hub and Spoke” and I was really looking forward to the study visit, scheduled for January 27 to 30, 2020 in Zimbabwe, to find out more.

The stay was very rich in content and conviviality.

In terms of contents: the first day, I noticed the good appropriation and internalization of the Gender Links programs through the technical and financial partners as well as the beneficiary councils. Apart from their presence at the meeting, the speeches and presentations demonstrated their willingness, their commitments and their achievements in terms of promoting women’s rights in general and the collaboration with Gender Links Zimbabwe in particular. I learned at the end of this day the importance of the relationship management with partners and especially the appropriation of our program by partners.

On the second day, the visit at Murehwa council highly impressed me. I wondered how council, its staff, the junior Councillors and the councils’ partners work to mainstream gender. I was particularly fascinated by how GLZ’s work could change people’s lives, demonstrated during the presentation of the council’s gender champion who is also the Vice Chairperson of Council, Councillor Resta Dzvinyangoma. She illustrated how the council was before and how it changed after the accompaniment of GLZ.

I cannot find the words to describe the commitment of the Junior Councillors in implementing the SRHR campaign. Young people are involved and determined to move forward in order to bring about change in their community. My thoughts were focused on how I could develop the same structure in Madagascar even though we do not have junior Councillors. I am also aware that structure is one thing but having the same committed young people is another dilemma. I must therefore accompany and train young people so that they can develop self-confidence and take an interest in the cause.

During this study visit, I saw the willingness, the commitment and the satisfaction of everyone working with GLZ for the empowerment of women and young people. GLZ has succeeded in transmitting to partners their convictions, especially the fight for women’s empowerment.

Conviviality: during the stay, I saw my colleagues differently. The team was united, relaxed and happy. We had a lot of beneficial exchanges without frustration. I did not hear anyone complain. Our host, GLZ, Priscilla Maposa and her colleague Tapiwa paid the greatest attention to the smallest details. I have known Priscilla for almost ten years now, a professional and very conscientious woman. I have a good relationship with her. Once more, I discovered another side of her that I can sum up as a woman of heart!!!

Throughout this visit, I was inspired and ready to go further in my work!!!

Ialfine PAPISY, Director of Francophone office

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