Philanthropy — Changu Siwawa
Philantropist and Gender activist
Changu Siwawa is a passionate gender equality advocate, who has engaged policymakers and built capacity within communities to ensure understanding and prevention of gender-based violence (GBV).
In her role as outreach coordinator for Kagisano Society Women’s Shelter, she was responsible for implementing strategies to build capacity within communities to identify, understand, and address GBV. She was also instrumental in forming ward gender committees.
Through the shelter’s outreach programme, Siwawa was actively involved in mobilizing communities on GBV, and educating vulnerable communities, especially women and girls, on their human rights. The target groups for this program are students, traditional leaders, religious groups, youth, and key service providers such as nurses, police, teachers and social workers. She has capacitated over 1 500 people, including survivors of GBV, since 2011.
Siwawa is currently the resource mobilization manager for the International Working Group on Women and Sport (IWG),and holds a Masters in International Development Management from the University of Bradford.
Siwawa is a 2014 recipient of the Mandela Washington Fellowship for Young African Leaders, President Obama’s prestigious leadership program. She is known for her question to President Obama at the Presidential Summit of the Washington Fellowship: she asked him about the United States’ commitment to assisting Africa in closing gender inequalities, which are contributing to gender-based violence and threaten the achievement of many Millennium Development Goals.
Siwawa is also the project coordinator of the Fellowship’s alumni network, which coordinates youth entrepreneurship bootcamps. These bootcamps offer training on developing the businesses and business ideas of the youth. Participants meet various industry players and are provided with training, expertise and inspiration on essential business aspects such as developing a sustainable business idea, financial management, networking, marketing and leadership.
At the IWG, Siwawa is involved in the planning, development and management of the Botswana office. She is responsible for negotiating favourable terms of local and international sponsorship for the 7th World Conference on Women and Sport. Siwawa also designs programs aimed to increase the uptake of women’s participation in sport at all levels and in all roles and functions.
Siwawa has fundraised approximately 1 000 sanitary towels for school-going girls through “Happy Period, Happy Me” Campaign.
She is also cofounder of the Youth Against Gender-Based Violence Alliance.A firm believer in male involvement for gender parity, Siwawa has a keen interest in involving men in addressing gender inequalities, and sees them as agents of change towards ending GBV. — Mike Olivier