LUPANE District Development Coordinator Ennette Sithole said women are not only the glue that holds the families and communities together but play a critical role in the sustenance of families.
Speaking at the belated commemoration of International Rural Women`s Day in Lupane, Sithole said women played a key role in the socio-economic development of the society.
The celebrations, which were organised by Ntengwe for Community Development, were held at Mqabuko Primary School in Kana Block ward.
Sithole said women in rural areas were the strongest pillars of the families as they bear the brunt of social, economic and cultural challenges in the country.
She said rural women in subsistence farming constituted 60% of the farming population.
“Rural women are the source of family well-being as they work and toil from dawn to dusk in order to eke out a living for their families. I have observed that children are so healthy in this place and it is down to the industrious mothers who provide good nutrition,” she said.
However, Sithole bemoaned the fact that some of these hard-working women were under-appreciated and in some cases victims of domestic violence.
“We have disturbing cases in rural communities, of spiralling cases of gender-based violence in various forms, ranging from physical, economic, emotional and sexual violence,” Sithole said.
In an interview, with Community Podium, Kana Block resident Kezia Muleya said rural women faced and braved a number of challenges. She hailed Ntengwe for Community Development for economically empowering and capacitating women on advocacy work.
“Ntengwe came to our plight and capacitated us on advocacy and helped us translate the ownership of our land into joint ownership with our husbands.
“Through this intervention as rural women we are now proud co-owners of the land with our partners thereby giving us a protective buffer should things go wrong,” Jessica Munkuli, a resident who benefited from the Ntengwe-initiated joint ownership of land, said.
Speaking at the same occasion, Chief Menyezwa Gumede, also praised Ntengwe for Community Development for working with rural women.
He encouraged women to take advantage of such developmental opportunities for the betterment of their lives.
“I thank the organisers of this event whom we all know have been here capacitating, building and empowering these women for a progressive living, as they are now co-owners of assets in the family,” he said.