Mpho Mankimane

Mpho Mankimane

Date: March 4, 2011
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Learning Journey

My involvement within gender and development sector dates back to August 2005, when I worked with Women and Law in Southern Africa’s (WLSA) Lesotho Chapter. It is at this stage of my career that I first met Gender Links. With the introduction of gender and local government pilot research idea and partnership between two organisations, I became one of the fortunate Programme Officers to be entrusted with such huge yet exciting responsibility of tapping into the local government sphere in this manner. Being my first research undertaking experience, I vividly remember how scary this felt but learning that the work that we were about to embark on had never been done before by any organisation within the Southern African region but Gender Links, it made me feel proud to be part of herstory in the making.

Knowledge and skills acquisition on gender issues significantly took place from August 2008, when I formally joined Gender Links working in the Gender and Governance Programme. This was initiated with a series of launches of At the Coalface: Gender and Local Government in Southern Africa report, gender strategies for local government workshops and localised gender and GBV action plan workshops. Participation at these events has been an eye-opener to me and ordinary women and men that I have interacted with. As a field worker, there is nothing more fulfilling than seeing people’s faces frown and smile at the same time as hot-heated debates are carried on regarding gender in the context of African culture.

Growing up knowing my “place” as an African woman, I never believed in equal rights until I started walking alongside Gender Links’ “Giant Footprints”. I must say that I have really undergone personal conviction of who I am within society and my culture. In essence, Gender Links has helped fine-tune my research abilities and gender training skills but most importantly, it has changed my views on how women and men, girls and boys should co-exist.

Mpho Mankimane is the Gender Justice and Local Government Facilitator in Lesotho.

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