North East COE Institutional Profile

North East COE Institutional Profile

Date: October 29, 2014
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The council is enthusiastic to work on gender issues, though it has not yet signed onto the gender action plan. It has been established, but is still not widely integrated. There is no equal representation of women and men in the council; there are 2 women and 5 men. This is up from 1 woman a couple years ago. The council committees have achieved parity, with 2 chaired by women and 2 by men, which demonstrates a commitment within the council. However, in other leadership positions, women are not as visible.

In terms of public participation, the council felt women participated more than men. The council has very strong gender mainstreaming into existing projects; there have been unemployed youth trained, and women participated in the training more than men.

During the verification process, the council discovered that its documentation processes need strengthening. The councillors knew that women benefited strongly in tendering processes, such as through catering, but the precise statistics were not readily available.

In terms of waste management, more women than men in the town participated in clean up campaigns as volunteers.
A land and housing policy has not been adopted in the council, but this is coming in future, so might be a timely area of intervention. At the moment there is no disaggregated data, but the councilors felt that tnow that there was awareness and work soon to be happening on housing allocation, they could prioritise gender in the process.
The Sowa Township is also engaged in the construction of infrastructure in the SHHA area, and is upgrading storm water drainage in the Township. The contribution that the project has made to empower the community can be seen through job creation. The project has employed 90 locals and 4 non citizens. More men than women received jobs through the project, but it was felt that women were also benefitting.

– The township will transform, owing to infrastructure expansion and possible opportunities for business entities
– Availability of low income housing will accord residents of the town ship to benefit from SHHA scheme in accordance with the government policy

Since the establishment of the township, it has remained small in terms of population and economic activities. This partly owing to the unavailability of private accommodation, where small businesses and private sector employees would reside. All the Botswana Housing Corporation houses are rented to either the mine or government institutions. This has had the impact of limiting population growth, which in turn has kept the market small, and hence made the township unattractive to investors. So the availability of housing facility will contribute to a population increase.

The Sowa Township is mandated to provide basic infrastructure as well as social and community services to improve the quality of life of the community within the jurisdiction. The major economic activity in the township is mineral mining, which is mining of soda ash and mineral chloride by Botswana Ash. This one sector of the economy has not had any substantial economic multiplier effect in the local economy. As a result, the township does not have significant economic activities, due to very limited economic pull factors. In addition, the population of the township has had marginal growth dominated by specialized skills of the mining employees, who are predominantly males. Despite the population being skewed towards men, the council felt strongly that women’s voices were heard the most strongly in community meetings.

The Council felt like they were doing a particularly good job in the area of health, with a very active wellness committee that was looking at the needs of both women and men in the community. In fact, they were enthusiastic to point out that while HIV/AIDs is a priority area of work in most councils, they have had the chance to go on to other issues, since the entire township has no home based patients at the moment needing care.
As one councilor mentioned, “we have the benefit of a small population, so we know the community very well. This makes it easier for us to integrate gender into our work. Finding economic opportunities for women has been difficult, but the scorecard exercise has shown us some of the different ways we can think of working to strengthen the position fo women in the community.


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