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CHALLENGES

CHALLENGES AND BARRIERS TO CREATING CHANGE IN MY COMMUNITY
The community that I live in is a very patriarchal one where people still believe in male dominance. At times you find that it is difficult for a woman to make her own decisions without first consulting a male figure in her life, (married through civil rights or traditional). It is widely believed that a real wife is one traditionally married It is so unbelievable to find someone who is not exposed to other cultures as most of them have never been out of Swaziland with law here still requiring husband’s consent for a married woman to get travel documents. The other challenge is illiteracy and lack exposure to technology. Most women are not educated and you find that after school girls still believe in becoming maids get married. The problem with being married without a being educated is that the men tend to abuse because one doesn’t have any financial say. In that marriage you will find 3 or more other women as wives to that man since this is a polygamous nation. Poverty also contributes to lack of education and early marriages.

Present plans to overcome the above challenges
If given a chance I would like women to be engaged in income generating projects which will make them to be self-reliant. I partnered with 3 women from a nearby rural area and we take trips to South Africa to buy clothes, shoes and hair accessories for resale so that they can be able to stand on their own and to take care of some of their children’s needs. We have been doing this for almost 3 months now. I would wish them to introduce their peers in cross-border trading instead of just waiting for their husband to bring food on the table. What if the husbands don’t do that???? The other project that is still in the pipeline is to engage girls in sports, just to take away the notion that “the woman’s place is in the kitchen” but I would like them to know that even sports can be a woman’s place. I’m planning to encourage them to engage in elite sports like cricket and tennis. This would also keep them away from abusive boys and later men when they grow up because in sports they will get to meet different people with different perspectives and ideas about life.

Pulsewire and other online communities
These communities will help me to interact with other women and people from different countries. This will make it possible to share ideas and get information on how to help women and girls in this society. I believe that if women are given financial independence and education there will be significant change even in issues concerning HIV/AIDS, finances, family planning. The issue of HIV/AIDS is so unbelievably high in this country such that one would find even school going children at ages 14 to 16 taking Anti-retroviral drugs. I always what will happen to the country if the future generation is perishing at this rate.

Comments

olutosin's picture

REMINDER

Thanks so much for this post, I have been planning to write a piece on Gender Needs which you have alighted here, there is little counselling can do for a hungry woman, that is where Practical Gender Needs come in and a well fed woman cannot lead if teh Strategic gender needs are not met.
You have raised crucial issues that concern women.
Thank so much...

Olutosin Oladosu Adebowale
Founder/Project Coordinator
Star of Hope Transformation Centre
512 Road
F Close
Festac Town
Lagos-Nigeria

https:

Floe's picture

CHALLENGES

Thanks Olu it's good to here from people like you. you are actually encouraging me a lot. Thank you so much for your enlightening comment. I'm looking forward to reading your article, which I guess will also be an eye opener.

carsongitau's picture

Challenges and Solutions

Hello!
Going through your journal gives me so much hope because though the challenges seems overwhelmingly many,there are viable solutions and better still Pulse Wire has got quite a mouthful to offer.I am watching this space closely as i sense you've got much to offer to the world.This is the way to go.

carsongitau
Empowered Woman

jbaljko's picture

Keep going

Hi,
Your post touched on so many important issues, it's hard to know which one to tackle first. But, you're right in saying that education and financial independence would have a tremendous impact. Likewise, getting girls involved in sports could have profound effects on their futures and the lives of the children they one day will have. I'm wondering how the girls feel about participating in sports? I hope, too, their fathers will be supportive.

Best,
Jenn

"The secret of happiness is freedom,
and the secret of freedom, courage."
-Thucydides, ancient Greek historian & author

Tina Mason's picture

Hi Floe Such an informative

Hi Floe

Such an informative and interesting article, I found myself looking up Swaziland because I know very little about it. Thank you for sharing the challenges to change within your society. Incidentally I read an article by 'MudiwaM' a couple of weeks ago and she too shares your passion for women's participation in sport, she is Zimbabwean and based in cape town, maybe you two could liaise somehow! Exciting.

Many thanks, and wishing you much success,

Tina

Olivia Fischer's picture

Great post!!

Floe, you did such a wonderful job outlining the challenges that women in your country face, but what was most impressive to me is your great ideas for overcoming those same challenges. Income-generating projects are a great way for women to gain the respect of their husbands and their community in general. Once their husband sees that the woman can make money for the family too, it is easier for him to recognize his wife's value and he is much less likely to be abusive towards her. It may also push him to give his wife more freedom, as he sees that she brings good things home for the family when she is free to do so.
Also, I LOVE your idea about getting girls involved in sports! It is a great way to increase self-esteem, but also as you said - it is a great way for them to meet different people with different experiences and perspectives.
I think your plan of combining income-generating projects with education (including family planning education) and sports for girls is an excellent one. It sounds like you are already off to a good start with the three women you are working with now. I hope that pulsewire is able to give you the support and ideas you need to make your plan a success!

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