Learning Journey: Winners win and losers lose!

Date: March 24, 2016
  • SHARE:


Those people who develop the ability to continuously acquire new and better forms of knowledge that they can apply to their work and to their lives will be the movers and shakers in our society for the indefinite future – Brian Tracy

The year 2016 marks a watershed moment on my time at Gender Links, as this April marks my fifth year at the organisation. As is characteristic of reaching certain personal milestones in one’s life, the period is filled with mixed emotions that are both painful and pleasant.

While it presents an opportunity to celebrate my blood, sweat and tears over the past five years. It is also a time for deep reflection as I map out my next five-year plan. One thing for sure is that the past five years have been the most challenging of my life, but also the most rewarding.

Broadening my horizon

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”- Augustine of Hippo

In the past five years, I have travelled to over half a dozen of the countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region as well as Ethiopia, the headquarters of the Africa Union and the United Nations representing Gender Links. It has both been an honour and a privilege. The experiences I have gained through my travels have truly enriched my outlook on the world. I have become more appreciative of the social diversities that exist within the global village.

The experiences has been as diverse as I have been there at the core of public policy processes, where high level negotiations take place to discuss blueprints to steer global, continental and regional developmental agendas . I have also been there at the coalface, collecting changing lives in the deep rural parts of Botswana, Lesotho and Zambia. My interviewees ranged from strong women who have overcome the worst forms of gender based violence to men who are championing change in their local communities. However, the most striking experience was my meeting with a young girl in Lesotho whose mother’s boyfriend repeatedly sexually abused by her.

With time, I have come to realise that her unfortunate circumstances are the reason why we have people like Mme Colleen and Mme Emma taking every opportunity they get to push the envelope to ensure that gender equality becomes a reality. The irony is that in the past five years that I have been working as a change agent, I have changed beyond my wildest expectations. Not only has the work I do added a new meaning to my life, it has opened new doors for me.

In 2013, I had the honour to dine with a sitting President when the Alliance was invited for a gala dinner with the then Malawian President, Joyce Banda and the Africa Union Chairperson Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini- Zuma.

Beyond Limits

“The comfort zone is the great enemy to creativity; moving beyond it necessitates intuition, which in turn configures new perspectives and conquers fears.” – Dan Stevens

Learning journey lm 2One of my core deliverables at Gender Links is coordinating the data gathering and providing editorial support on the compilation of the annual SADC Gender Protocol Barometer. Since 2011 I have been part of the production of five Barometers of which on three of them I served as co-editor. The Barometer has challenged me on every possible level – mentally and physically. I have cried so many tear and missed on a lot of hours of sleep and fun but when I look back I think it has been worth it.

The key moment for my contribution to the Barometer was in 2015 when the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) cited my chapter in their annual world Education report. I remember the day I came across the citation, I quickly shared the news with my family and friends. It is not an easy feat to get that that kind of recognition.


“As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them.” – John F. Kennedy
There is a popular saying that says, having someone who motivates you, inspires you, and believes in you can really take your life to a new level. The past five years would not have turned out beautiful as they are without Mme Colleen. She has consistently challenged me to raise beyond my perceived limits.

Mum Viv has over the years made it easy being far away from home without a mother figure. She has consistently stood by me in my dark moments when I have needed a mother in my corner. I am equally thankful of my two managers, Loveness Jambaya and Sifiso Dube for allowing me to learn from them. Making you proud is such a pleasure!

In my own words no woman is an island, I am appreciative of the entire GL team for both the positive and negative experiences. You have no idea how these have shaped my life.

Written by Lucia Makamure, Senior Alliance Officer, Gender Links