“Pay women what they are worth!” – Andisiwe Candice Sehoma, Access Campaign Advocacy Officer

“Pay women what they are worth!” - Andisiwe Candice Sehoma, Access Campaign Advocacy Officer

Written by Staff Writer

Aug 30, 2021

By Charndré Emma Kippie

 

While her mother worked hard to provide for her and her siblings, Candice Sehoma was one of the many young people in Alex who envisioned more for herself. Born and raised in Alex along with her two siblings, she started primary school in Alex in 1998. She later went to Bramley Primary (as her mum believed it would give her a better start) and Waverly Girls’ High School. It was during her high school years that she attended Rose-Act Saturday School, a community programme run by Rays of Hope that provides extra maths and English tutoring to learners who live in Alex.

From her matric year and throughout her studies, Sehoma took part in the Ignition programme facilitated by Rays of Hope that helps matriculants from Alex schools to pursue tertiary qualifications or complete technical training, with the goal of finding sustainable employment. Through Ignition, Sehoma realised her passion for development work. Ignition gave Sehoma access to career guidance, financial support, mentoring and bi-annual workshops that taught her financial savviness, study skills and more, supporting her to pursue and fulfil what she believes to be her purpose. She obtained a BA Honours degree in Development Studies from the University of Pretoria. During that time she also started The Building Blocks Foundation aimed at replacing bucket toilet systems in poorer areas with flushing toilets. She is currently working on her Master’s degree through Stellenbosch University.

Sehoma currently works for Doctors Without Borders as an Access Campaign Advocacy Officer, where she works towards the adoption of policies, laws and practices that safeguard public health. She credits the support she received from her mentor, Sarah, who she met during her time with Ignition and continues to be a friend and mentor to her today, for helping her believe in herself, find solutions on her own and live the life she wants. 

 

What got you into the field you’re currently in?

I am currently working as the Access Campaign Advocacy Officer with an international organisation called Doctors Without Borders. I have always been keen to help others and I have always wanted to pursue that professionally. In my quest to professionally help others I  initially wanted to be a psychologist, upon realising that it wasn’t for me, and that I was more into structural development and bettering people’s livelihoods as a whole and not just mentally. I then pursued my studies in development studies and health care was almost natural for me because of my personal experiences with South Africa’s unequal access to healthcare. I believed this is an area I can make a meaningful difference and this had a lot to do with my personal experience. 

 

What excites you the most about your role? 

I get to interact with high level officials in government and health institutions , and get to lobby and influence important decisions made about our healthcare, it’s exciting to have a behind the scenes pass on some of the important decisions made about access to medical products and how certain decisions are made and how they affect the global and national health dynamics. 

 

Do you think your field is diverse in terms of gender equality? 

Yes I do think it’s relatively well representative of women. However, of course, we can’t always rely on numbers alone when as a measure for gender parity – how women experience the space is also an important measure. 

 

What are your top 3 tips for ensuring the success of women in your field?
  • Pay women what they are worth
  • Work spaces should be inclusive of all types of women and their experineces – i.e black women, transwomen, gay women etc. 
  • Mentorship in the workspace is important for women, especially if the interest is to have more women in executive levels, I think it’s important to prepare women for them to take on such positions in the future 

 

What have been some major obstacles in your career, as a woman, and how did you overcome them?

I think being a working mom, that often comes with some limitations which is not always catered for so i could say some limitations of working and being a mom to two kids does get challenging 

 

What are your goals for the future?

I am currently working on my masters in public health, so i see myself obtaining my masters in the next years, and working for a big institution like the World Health Organisation

 

What important/life-changing books have you read?

Nervous Conditions by Tsitsi Dangaremba, and I Write What I Like by Steve Biko. 

 

Do you have a special message for women across South Africa?

Feed your passion!

 

 

*For more, check out our bumper 16th edition of the Standard Bank Top Women Leaders publication on Issuu – Digital Publishing Platform – here

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