TO fully appreciate the plight of many women and young girls in Namibia, one does not need to look far, with numerous minor girls robbed of their virginity reported in daily media and the loss of lives due to gender based violence, a startling reality.
According to the Namibian Statistics Agency, these crimes continue unabated, domestic violence against women while it was only measured in 2013 on a national level.
The study at the time noted that there is a small gap between urban and rural areas wherein sexual violence is more common in urban areas (8.1 to 6.9 %) while physical and emotional violence is slightly more common in rural areas (24.5 to 22.7 % and 25.6 to 24.5 % respectively).
To commemorate the achievements made by local authorities in mainstreaming gender equality/service at local levels, the Voice and Choice SADC Gender Protocol Summit at Work 2019 was launched in Windhoek.
Speaking at the event, the Mayor of Katima Mulilo and executive member of Association for Local Authorities in Namibia (ALAN), Georgina Mwiya Simataa stated that it is government’s usual mandate to ensure gender equality and equitable socio-economic development of women, men and children.
She added that Gender Links Orginasation, which oversees the summit works with 34 councils, rebranded as centres of excellence and has a strong working partnership with three local authority associations like ALAN, NELAO and AMMICALL.
Noting some achievements in some of these projects, Simataa stated that 189 women who experienced GBV in their lives acquired entrepreneurship skills through the Sunrise Campaign programme, while 118 female politicians.
She added that currently with the support from UNFPA, Gender links Namibia held 12 community dialogues on Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) and GBV in the Zambezi and Ohangwena regions. A total of 353 people took part in these dialogues including men, women and adolescents.
Also speaking at the Gender Links Namibia country manager, Fabian Sampaya stated that Gender Links is working with 430 local government centres of excellence, across ten SADC countries, 34 of them currently based in Namibia.
He added that the current phase of the Sunris Campaign has reached over 900 survivors of gender based violence.
Simbaya further elabortated that the Voice and Choice summit serve as a springboard to governments to account for gender equality commitments made in the SADC Gender protocol and Sustainable Development Goals.