Institutional profile-Senekane Council COE

Institutional profile-Senekane Council COE

Date: July 22, 2013
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“We are changing what used to be local government to mainstreaming gender in the grassroots”

In 2010 Senekane became a Centre of Excellence for Gender Mainstreaming in Local Government. It has been 3 years since the relationship with GL started, Senekane has made a 20% increase in their progress score from when the first scorecard was administered to the current 2013 score of 58% whereas the initial baseline score was 38%. The progress is evident in the number of female representation in the council.

As in many councils in Lesothowhen the COE process was first introduced to the councillors it was met with a lack of understanding as many of the councillors were not informed enough when it comes to the topic of gender mainstreaming. To date the council has worked very hard to mainstream gender in their policies and overall council and community activities. Both women and men participate equally in the council and during council meetings all decisions taken are on the basis of issues that affect both men and women however in this council women have more influence as they are in the majority.

The council has a total of 18 councillors. Women represent 50% of the councillors compared to men who represent 50% of the councillors. Due to the fact that the council chairperson is a female she automatically chairs the finance committee and the management committee. Men chair 1 committee and a woman chairs 2 of the committees. There is no gender committee at the council however there is a gender champion and a gender focal person.

Both women and men participate equally during council meetings and the chairperson who in this case is a woman finalizes all council member motions, hence the council is so progressive when it comes to issues of gender. At public gatherings the councillors note that women attend and are more active during meetings that address social issues whereas men participate and likely attend meetings about job creation, politics and crime.

The council has lists that show the number of males and females allocated land. More women have land and houses based on the number of letters received form the community requesting land. These lists are available.

Senekane community council has a Local Economic Development plan/policy in place and market stands are currently in the building process and these stands will benefit both women and men who do informal trade.

Senekane has a policy on climate change which outlines the challenges and the plans that the council have in place to combat climate change. The activities include planting trees, water dialogues and recycling. The council encourages the community to have a clean environment even though there is no waste management plan in place. The council participate in preventative campaigns and the members feel that they still have a lot of work to do.

The council faces challenges, for example, there are no street lights in the area, and the roads that lead between houses are not marked and is gravel posing challenges when there are emergencies, the biggest challenge is the budget cuts that the council faces as the cuts negatively affect the fight against Gender Based Violence. For as long as there are budget cuts the levels of GBV will remain unchanged.

The council does not have running water in the council yard nor do they have functional ablution facilities and the council building is being rented as the permanent government provided one is built. There is small water pumps in the village been looked after by women. The water committees have women as their chairs.

The council has given land to those care groups that work with people living with HIV and AIDS. There are lists of all the care workers in the area and the support groups. The council takes part in awareness campgains and provides condoms to the community in an effort to promote healthy sexual practices. The council feeds orphans and other members of the community who need food for survival.

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