Swaziland: Participants improve Swazi lives through innovative projects

Swaziland: Participants improve Swazi lives through innovative projects

Date: July 10, 2015
  • SHARE:

Ezulwini, 9 July: Whilst supporting Gender Links’ mandate of promoting gender equality and justice in the country, participants of the third Swaziland SADC Gender Protocol Summit 2015 presented statistically supported success stories on how they have solved social problems through various innovative projects.

Amongst the success stories entered for the Gender Links annual awards was the Ngwenya Town Board Youth Sports Programme, and the Miss Deaf Africa Pageant. Mbongeni Phiri presented on behalf of the Board and Nokuthula Mbatha represented Miss Deaf under the Leadership Category. Phiri drew attention to the fact that through his involvement in sport, he saw an opportunity to assist young people (both males and females) to access health information and develop life skills using sporting activities as a platform.

“We have developed a successful programme which uses sport as a strategy to fight discrimination. Before we have the games, we have lessons. We used sport because sport is able to unite the young people in our Ngwenya community, creating a platform for us to talk to them about the challenges they face, especially health-related issues,” he explained.

Challenges addressed by the programme include limited education and employment opportunities and limited access to youth friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Gender sensitivity and the ability to stand up for other people’s rights motivated Nokuthula Mbatha, to showcase the beauty and abilities of a deaf person through a now national competition called – Miss Deaf Africa Pageant.

“All pageants in the country were done at country level yet Miss Deaf Swaziland was done at the School for the Deaf at class room level and this provoked that defence that they deserve to be celebrated. I took it upon myself to do it at country level,” Mbatha explained. The key objective of the project is to create a platform for deaf girls to come out of their back walls and to know that they are celebrated and loved.

Through her leadership, the pageant goes further to empower the Top Five Girls for leadership where they become ambassadors who lobby for the rights of the deaf; a task an average deaf girl child would not do in their individual capacity. The ambassadors are introduced to policy makers to facilitate the inclusion of deaf people’s in shaping policies, particularly those that affect them. Sharing lessons learnt from her Gender Mainstreaming Project, Mbatha said, “A new concept may not easily be adopted and if criticised one must not despair. A giraffe cannot argue with a tortoise; it is not because the tortoise is wrong – it is just that it sees things at its level.”

Among the passionate participants in the leadership category was the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Swaziland Epilepsy Organisation (SEO), Mbusomuni Mahlalela, who is regarded by many as the face of epilepsy in Swaziland. Mahlalela’s name is synonymous with the organisation throughout the country because of his dedication not only to his job but also in helping people living with the condition.
He shared his experiences working with people living with epilepsy in the country and highlighted that he was once afflicted with epilepsy and spent millions of Emalangeni getting treatment.

Mahlalela has such big dreams for the organisation including building a hospital that will specialise in treating and caring for epileptic people and also provide the necessary medication.

“Our vision is to build the hospital, which we have christened the Honourable Prince Bandzile Epilepsy Centre where people living with epilepsy can get help,” he said.
Prince Bandzile is the patron of the organisation.

As a leader, Mahlalela mentioned that he sets Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic And Time-bound (SMART) goals for his organisation and is always at the forefront in initiatives undertaken by the organisation. His vision for the organisation is to see it expanding since at the moment they only have four people working under it.

This article is part of the Gender Links News Service special coverage of the SADC Gender Protocol Summits underway across the region, offering fresh views on everyday news







Comment on Swaziland: Participants improve Swazi lives through innovative projects

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *