By: Zamayirha Peter
It was just a few weeks ago when 2015 activator Khomotso Komape (33) attended the Eastern and Southern Africa Regional CSO Forum on Ending Child Marriage, organized by Equality Now and UNFPA ESARO hosted at Hotel Sarova Panafric, in Kenyatta Avenue, Nairobi.
The forum brought together around 50 representatives of civil society organizations (CSOs), activists, and experts from across 20 countries in the region. The focus of this convening was on the facilitation of the exchange of lessons and best practices for ending child marriage. The key focus was on CSOs’ collective power to push for the implementation of laws and policies, as well as the adoption of a multi-sectoral approach towards ending child marriage, capacity-building, and development of advocacy strategies at the community, national, sub-regional, and regional levels.
By the end of the forum, the inputs of the attendees were consolidated as contributing comments to the proposed regional conferences and global dialogues that are being organized for the International Conference on Population and Development ICPD30 review scheduled for 2024.
Reflecting on the trip Khomotso described the experience as being a great learning experience that was life-changing and an invitation that came as a result of his involvement in the region with activism work. Khomtso joined the forum programme on day two as a panellist in a discussion that sought to unpack; “The role of social and behavioural communication change and education, including comprehensive sexuality education in addressing child marriage.”
“I am a human rights defender in the SADC region and I was invited by a continental organisation by the name of Equality Now”.
Furthermore, during the forum, Khomotso served as a facilitator for a Gender Based Violence moderator. Gender Based Violence is a pandemic widely known and recorded within the continent with countries such as South Africa leading the global rankings. Drawing from his experience at home Khomotso describes his facilitation as being solution-driven.
“I was moderating the GBV topic and our key focus area was on how we can collectively see a reduction of GBV in society”.
Some of Khomotso’s strong takeaways from the conference included the best practices for tackling issues of legislation and policies.
“I have gained more knowledge and experience on human rights mechanisms as well as critical guidelines as I continue with this work, and how to do it differently.”
For Khomotso, his passion for Human Rights stems from his investment to realise a society that is equal and safe for all who live in it.
“I would like to contribute to making society safe, especially in South Africa. Noting from our neighbouring countries like Kenya, there is a high standard and strictness when it comes to legislation and policies. Here at home (South Africa), we tend to deliberate on issues longer than we take to actually implement them. I would like to see the inverse of this”, he passionately adds.
Khomotso left Nairobi with a revived sense of responsibility and will to give back to communities.
“I plan to take this experience back to assist and give information to our communities. I want to see a reverse of culture where men are raised without father figures and become violent and angry members of our society.”
Khomotso believes that it is important for young people to get involved in Human Rights initiatives as they bring youthful and dynamic thoughts and interventions to global forums.
“The global exchange program is very important because personally, you gain experience by benchmarking with our activists in the field. The aid that they are giving in our activism is to get partners through the programs”.
To connect with Khomotso and learn how you can get involved with Human Rights Initiatives on:
Number: 079 3634 261
Facebook: Motlokwa Tsipa-Tlou
Twitter: Khomotso Komape