Since Taiwan and the Kingdom of Eswatini established diplomatic ties in September 1968, the countries have worked hand in hand to create win-win opportunities for the people. This cooperation, which extends across many areas such as agriculture, education, health care, infrastructure, and information and communication technology, has cemented the bonds of friendship and expanded exchanges.
An important aspect of this mutually beneficial collaboration encompasses women’s empowerment. Near and dear to the hearts of President Tsai Ing-wen and Her Majesty the Indlovukazi, the issue represents an outstanding platform for Taiwan and Eswatini to utilize their respective strengths in ensuring all members of society can equally contribute to economic growth and share in the fruits of prosperity.
Last April during President Tsai’s state visit to Eswatini, she spoke at length with the Indlovukazi at Ludzidzini Royal Residence about women’s empowerment. The two leaders shared their thoughts, respective experiences and vowed to advance viable programmes aimed at building better tomorrows for participants.
One initiative that caught the eye of President Tsai was the Indlovukazi’s potential-laden greenhouse project. Overseen by Philani Maswati Charity Organization, the undertaking provides 18-month training programs in agricultural cultivation and management. It empowers hundreds of women in rural communities in Eswatini and encourages them to share their know-how far and wide.
As the ROC (Taiwan) ambassador to Eswatini, it was an honour and privilege to launch the greenhouse project in Manzini Region earlier this year on behalf of President Tsai and the 23 million people of Taiwan. The event was a very special one for both countries and all stakeholders. The women were incredibly proud of their accomplishments, proud of the fact they were working and proud to be making a tangible contribution to their communities. I threw the full weight of his embassy’s social media
machine behind promotions for the event. We wasted no time in demonstrating via Facebook and Twitter that Taiwan and Eswatini are true friends and partners in prosperity.The Twitter posts proved popular and included a clip of me doing my dandiest to swing and sway in time with the women in the field. They prompted special tweets celebrating the project and bilateral relations from President Tsai and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. There is no question this kind of grassroots cooperation shows the world what can be achieved by like-minded partners and the power of Taiwan’s love.
Empowering women is undoubtedly a noble cause but it counts for naught without good health. This is one of the underlying reasons for Taiwan’s ongoing involvement in Maternal and Infant Health Care Improvement Project. Kicked off in 2016 by International Cooperation Development Fund (Taiwan ICDF) in partnership with Eswatini’s Ministry of Health, the project aims to strengthen the capacity of health care professionals, upgrade facilities and afford the women of Eswatini every opportunity to give birth with minimal risk and strengthen the stocks of the nation.
The devotion and tireless efforts of Philani Maswati Charity Organization in promoting women’s empowerment in Eswatini are highly commendable. I wish each and every one of its members all the very best of luck in this admirable endeavor, and have full confidence 2019 will be a year filled with sparkling success.
It is one of President Tsai’s dearest wishes to keep deepening and expanding the friendship and relations between Taiwan and Eswatini. Women’s empowerment is key part of this goal and represents a strong step forward in realizing a core objective of His Majesty King Mswati 111’s National Development Strategy 2022. Taiwan is an enduring friend of Eswatini and absolutely committed to supporting the beautiful kingdom’s sustainable national development. It seems there is no mountain too high for the countries to scale together given the philosophy defining bilateral ties over the past 51 years: Promises made, promises delivered.