Karabo Mokgonyana – Leading Women In CSI – Month Of July 2023 Speaks Sesi Fellowship And Skill Hub

Karabo is the programme director for Sesi Fellowship and Skill Hub.  This programme embraces adolescent girls and young women (AGYW) by acknowledging their vulnerabilities in society. Having been brought up in a rural village in Limpopo, Karabo was exposed to seeing the lasting negative impact that teenage pregnancies, alcoholism, gender-based violence and more had on the lives of young women.  She steers various projects that have thus far impacted the lives of over 5000 young women.  These initiatives include amongst others campaigning and advocacy for gender equality, mentorship programmes and skills development projects which is the one most close to her heart.  This provides her with the opportunity to reverse the negative narrative of hopelessness teen mothers, girls who dropped out of school and other marginalized women are burdened with.  Giving them the power to better their lives has meant giving them hope and a future.

The vulnerability of young women is heightened when they have no easy access to formal education. This is from a social, physical and emotional accessibility perspective. Therefore, informal and vocational development has provided an interim solution with an immediate impact.  As a dynamic young woman with a socio-economic drive, Karabo has built valuable networks with local and international funders providing support in her passion to uplift young women.  She works with organizations such as Unicef, UNDP, UNFPD, the Global Fund and Joint Gender Fund. Her skills development programme requires their support to enable training in tangible skills such as nail technicians, baking, farming and more.

Able to maintain these commitments during covid lockdowns with various partners, the Sesi Fellowship Team was ready to skill many young women as soon as the lockdown regulations were relaxed. Her preparedness managed to provide 50 young women in Umtata, Soshanguve and Alexandra, before the end of 2021, with vital skills and start-up kits containing the necessary tools to kickstart their new businesses.  Now young women were able to provide for their families and their children’s schooling.  Seeing the augmented impact that the training of a young woman can have on a community is what touches Karabo deeply.

Exposing the vulnerabilities of young women, Karabo has enabled the enlightenment of various organizations which has caused a shift towards moving beyond programmes and towards driving legal and policy reforms as well.  In collaboration with Unicef, these agendas are presented to the Department of Social Development and the Department of Health.  Moved by the work done at Sesi Fellowship, the full services law firm CDH (Cliffe Decker Hofmeyr) approached her to partner with them and expand to the marginalized groups in the Northern Cape and Limpopo.

It is then no wonder that, amongst other award-winning achievements, Karabo was named one of 25 Cosmopolitan Magazine’s Next Generation Voices in Africa.  Seeing how she and her team, of also young women, give hope to young girls, motivates Karabo to intensify her efforts to see more women experience a positive future for themselves and their families.

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