Mats’episo Nkohli

Mats’episo Nkohli

Date: April 29, 2013
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My name is Mats’episo Nkohli, and I am a councillor in the Makhoarane community council. It’s been a long journey with Gender Links; I think it’s been three years now that I have been working directly with them. I am a politician, and I always work very hard in my village. I do all sorts of voluntary work, hence my community believes in me so much. So in 2010, the party encouraged me to contest for local government elections. I like improvements in my village, and I had to accept the offer from my party because I wanted to be a leader and guide my community.

I did not have much knowledge on gender issues at the time, but whatever I was doing in my community I was engaging both women and men. I did not know I was promoting gender equality. I won the elections and came into office, and then Gender Links came with their programme called Centres of Excellence, where they wanted to work with community councils; Makhoarane was one of the councils. Their aim was to help councillors and councils to do gender action plans, and also help them to put gender issues into perspective; especially to accommodate those issues and activities in the plan. I worked with Gender Links for that whole year, and I never looked back; it was awesome because they were giving us training on gender issues, and I had to go back to the community to report. I encouraged women and men to form support groups, collect plastic bags and make mats, bags and brooms.
They meet two times a week as group and made those things; they also helped me during public gatherings; we are trying to touch every single person in our community.
Later, the 2011 councils were dissolved and we were forced to go out again and campaign. I was stressed about where to start as there were many candidates and I did not have confidence that I would win. I was so stressed because most of the candidates were men, and I knew for sure that people were going to elect them, as most people still do not believe in us as women. Gender Links came to my rescue with a training called women in politics. They were encouraged us as women, giving support and showing us that we are also important in this country. The workshop gave us confidence, and we were able to plan our campaigns.

In 2012 I was elected as a councillor again, and I am still working with Gender Links. They continue to strengthen me on gender issues and also encourage me to engage both women and men in the activities. Previously, gender issues were not talked about because people believed that women were allowed to disrespect their partners. Now I am able to stand up on my own as a Mosotho woman to represent everyone. Thanks to Gender Links for their support and their persistence.

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