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18TH - 19TH MARCH, 2013

Swaziland Gender Links held its inaugural in-country mini summit and awards at the Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre 18th-–19th March, 2013. This was a major milestone for Swaziland Gender Links since it was the first time for a summit of this magnitude to be held in the country. Since the signing of the SADAC Protocol last year.   Previous Annual Summits have been held in South Africa.

The Honourable Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini was invited as a Guest Speaker for the opening ceremony held on Monday 18 March 2013 at Royal Swazi Spa Convention Centre Banquet Hall.

In attendance was the Ministry’s Principal Secretary Mr Clifford Mamba. Other dignitaries included Gender Links Country Board Members, Ezulwini Mayor, Mayors of other Cities and Towns, Chief Executive officers and Gender links Partners.

The theme of the Gender Protocol Summit is “2015, YES WE MUST! THE SADC GENDER PROTOCOL AT WORK”.

The summit is to help access and affirm good institutional and leadership practice in the Local Government and Media Centres of Excellence for gender in 12 SADC Countries.

In his short introductory speech, the Ministry’s Principal Secretary applauded the Minister for being a true “Champion” in advocating for Gender related issues and encouraging for active participation / involvement of women in leadership as evident during the recent local government elections.

The Minister for Housing and Urban Development Hon. Pastor Lindiwe Dlamini delivered an informative and heartfelt speech based on Gender related issues in the country.

“On behalf of his Majesty’s Government we are proud as a country to be hosting the Gender Protocol Summit and Awards for the first time since the signing of the Protocol last year. Previous Annual Summits have been held in South Africa”,said the Minister. The Minister went on the encourage all those in attendance to help government in making the Theme of the event a reality “YES WE MUST! From 30% to 50% by 2015” by aligning it to the workplace environments and local community environment.

Objectives of the Summit

The Minister reminded all those in attendance that the purpose of the summit was not only to celebrate achievements of our communities and peers in issues of women empowerment, but over and above to do the following:-

-          To take stock and turn up the pressure for implementation and accountability in the last two years, building up to 2015.

-          To bring together all key stakeholders to share strategies and good practices for achieving the 28 targets of the SADC Gender Protocol in the count down to 2015.

-          To build linkages between the media and local government work on the ground as part of the broader objective of gender responsive governance and accountability, and developing a critical citizentry around the SADC Gender Protocol and the MDGs;

-          To develop strategic partnerships and networking opportunities;.

-          To strengthen the gender movement from local TO national TO regional TO international level.


Highlights of the Ministers Speech

  • In all five thematic areas, issues of gender inequality still remain a challenge in the country.
  • The Government of Swaziland has taken the first step by ratifying the Gender Protocol in December last year, now the challenge is up to us all to follow on her footsteps, by working towards full implementation of our action plans by 2015.
  • That gender does not have a woman’s face but rather it aims to unsure equal representation of both male and female, and equal access to resources.
  • The media need to play a pivotal role to help educate the society about other forms of violence that exists other than Gender Based Violent (GBV) i.e, emotional abuse, “unfaithfulness in marriages is violence to your spouse, resulting in HIV/AIDS infections” .
  • The Minister appealed to women to stand united and support each other in the forthcoming National Elections.
  • The initiatives taken by Government and their Majesties, especially Her Majesty Indlovukazi in initiating and promoting women driven economic empowerment projects especially the first of its kind initiative “Women’s Bank”.
  • The Cabinet and His Majesty’s Government irrespective of the fiscal challenges that has engulfed the country and globally, have taken strides in trying to address some of the 28 targets in the SADC Gender Protocol i.e. full roll out of the Free Primary Education, adopting a vigorous approach in the fight against HIV/AIDS, and women and children abuse
  • Real Man do not abuse nor violate women and children, instead they love, embrace and protect their families.

Previous Winners

At both the 2010 and 2011 Summits, Thuli Chapa from Swaziland won the winners prizes. In 2012 Summit Nosphesihle Mdziniso from Save the Children Fund attained a runner up position in the awards, within the local economic development category.

These year’s, summit entrants shall be competing within five areas namely;

  1. 1)Gender based violence and conflict resolution ( 17 entrants ).
  2. 2)Education and Economic development, Climate change and sustainable development ( 21 entrants ).
  3. 3)Sexual and reproductive rights; health and HIV and AIDS ( 12 entrants).
  4. 4)Media ( 5 entrants ).
  5. 5)Local Government ( 6 entrants ).

In Conclusion

In conclusion, the Hon. Minister applauded participants for coming in their numbers and giving the Summit the honor it deserves. The Honourable Minister wished all participants fruitful deliberations with a view of changing the society’s behavior and the way gender related issues are viewed in general.

Furthermore, the Hon. Minister on behalf of Cabinet and His Majesty’s Government expressed her gratitude to all the event organizers; Gender Links, as well as sponsors and partners who have the event success, not limited to UNDP, EU, DIFID and DANIDA and to Royal Swazi Spa for being hosts.

She wrapped up her speech by congratulating all award entrants in all categories and wished them the best of luck.

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