Apr 2012

Empowering women beats poverty in the Eastern Cape

Government priorities

People in rural areas do not have to relocate to the cities to access a better life, said Minister of Women, Children and People with Disabilities, Lulu Xingwana.

Unveiling the Women’s Construction Flagship Project in Caguba in Port St Johns, she said, “Equipping women with skills will help us win the war on poverty and unemployment.”  The project, which gives hope for a better life to many impoverished families in the area, marked the roll-out of various rural development projects that target women, children and people with disabilities. These include a women’s multi-purpose centre for income-generating activities, a children’s park and a memorial community hall.

Minister Xingwana said these interventions were meant to address the lack of recreational facilities for children and youth, address unemployment, poverty and lack of skills development, particularly for rural women and people with disabilities.

Cutting extreme poverty

She said government wanted to promote and facilitate the active participation of women and people with disabilities in infrastructure development and economic empowerment.

“Today we are launching a rural women’s construction flagship project, which we want to ensure becomes a sustainable development project for women in this village of Caguba. Through this project, we seek to eradicate extreme poverty and to promote gender equality and empower women.”

Through the Port St Johns Project, the department would leave behind a team of local women who would be empowered to continue to run and manage the project on their own, Minister Xingwana said.

“We want to come back here one day and arrive to a community where economic development has taken shape, a community where there will be food in households.”


The Women’s Construction Flagship Project is an excellent example of an integrated approach to service delivery where the Department of Women, Children and People with Disabilities is working in partnership with the municipality and other government departments. These include Human Settlements, Public Works, Sport and Recreation SA, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs.

-Cornelius Monama

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