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Women’s issues are men’s issues too

Newly-appointed Executive Director of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Salatiel Shinedima.

Newly-appointed Executive Director of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Salatiel Shinedima.

Following the recent retirement of Veronica De Klerk as Executive Director of Women’s Action for Development (WAD), the institution appointed Salatiel Shinedima as its new head. “What people don’t understand is that when you go into a company it is not just about being an employee, but you become part of the mission and vision of the organisation,” he said clarifying his appointment as a male to head an organisation the exclusively deals with female empowerment.
Shinedima stepped into his new role as of 1 September, “It is crucial for employees to understand this so that as you deliver services you deliver in accordance with these aspects already set by the organisation,”
In 2011, shortly after completing his studies in Community Development at a tertiary institution in South Africa, he joined WAD where he worked for two years before briefly joining IREX as their programmes and operations officer. It was not long before he returned to WAD.
“In school I learned the theoretical aspect of this but here I got to learn the practical aspects, as well as learning to combine both, to have the best possible results,” he told the Economist.

He feels that along with the already-set goals of women development projects the institution has in place, they should also approach men and get them more involved in the gender issues that plague the nation.
“We will continue to address women empowerment but recently we discovered that one can not address women issues without involving men, mainly because men are part of the issues. Men must take part to truly enforce equality,” he added. He is of the opinion that providing equal opportunity to men and women should not be just by law or on paper, but it should be made a reality through rigorous actions of reaching out.
“I believe that if men are provided with a platform where they can share their experiences, opinions and views then we will find a solution to these gender violence crimes going on” he said giving his assurance that women empowerment is the foundation of the institution and that all these methods of approach are for the betterment of women.
“We have quite a number of women organisations in the country, but it seems that women are speaking in a vacuum. Perhaps it’s time to make these organisations more approachable for men, for them to be able to come out and speak about their issues too,” he added.
The centre currently has two on-going projects, Socio-economic and Socio-political training. “Socio-economic provides basic training in the fields of computer literacy, office administration, tailoring, catering, financing management and more. These are designed to enable employment and start a business.”
“Whilst Socio-Political courses that help create awareness about gender-related laws, these help people know what procedures are in place and which to follow should they need any legal interventions. We are giving access to those who don’t have,” he explained.
This year the institution received a Diamond Arrow Award from Professional Management Review for excellence in leadership and for its achievements. He commented that the centre could only do as much a their funds allow, elaborating “in our efforts however we would like to give hope to those who don’t seem to have any. We appeal to those who have, to donate for the progress of the nation. Those on top should donate to institutions like ours so that others too may be lifted out of poverty.”
He advised that it was important that young people seek advice from their elders and those with experience because they have knowledge to share. “Mrs de Klerk already laid a solid foundation for this centre, the testimonies are there. So it is left to me to continue in her footsteps,” he concluded.

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