The Democracy Development Program (DDP), Africa Solidarity Network (ASONET) and the Urban Future Centre (UFC) held a women’s month dialogue at Diakonia Centre on August 8. The dialogue, which took place the day before women’s day focused on mobilising women towards inclusive community development.
DDP Programmes Manager Paul Kariuki said: “The dialogue aimed at unpacking the obstacles that may be contributing to the limited inclusiveness of women in community development and to an extent side-lined migrant women from being active citizens in their communities. We aimed to further explore ways in which we can move towards a more inclusive society where women are actively involved in the decisions taken in their communities.”
The dialogue was led and facilitated by respected facilitator and social entrepreneur Nonkululeko Hlongwane of Female President.
The dialogue was divided into four major conversations where women discussed their challenges about the topic with the purpose of exploring resolutions. The following were the main points that arose from each discussion:
What stories do you keep hearing about women in your community? What is your biggest desire/dream for African women?
- Women abuse and gender inequality still runs rampant in communities hindering women to reach their fullest potential.
In your community, what are some of the barriers you have experienced as a woman with the intention to contribute towards inclusive community development?
- The women felt that culture and religion are still barriers, some are forced to relocate or change religions because of this.
What is your contribution towards the barriers faced by African women in your community as far as inclusive community development is concerned?
- To be able to witness an injustice happening either to ourselves or to others and still not standing up and speaking against it as it happens. This allows for the injustice to continue and reinforces to the perpetrator that it’s okay when it isn’t.
What are some of the things that we can do together to create sustainable inclusive communities in line with the dreams we have as women?
- Too many women do the same thing but in isolation and judging by the discussions had in groups it was clear that they had experiences and stories that were common. So, collaboration and supporting each other was one of the ways in which they could work towards creating inclusive communities.
Motivational speaker Yaa Ashentewaa Ngidi said that women must not play small. She said: “You playing small is not helping SA, it’s not helping your community.” She urged women to support each other and for them to be comfortable in their own skin.
At the end the women committed to a follow up session where each of them will present their current ventures and how or what they need assistance with to make them a success.