04 Jul 2014 15:10pm
WINDHOEK, 04 JUL (NAMPA) - The Executive Director of the Women's Action for Development (WAD) entity strongly called on government to focus on the mushrooming of shebeens, and address the misuse of alcohol and drugs in the fight against gender-based violence (GBV).
According to media reports, Windhoek alone has 5000 shebeens - mostly in poor areas - of which 1500 are unlicensed.
Veronica de Klerk said at the second National Conference on GBV underway in the capital that with so many shebeens mushrooming in the country, the nation should admit that it has failed the children and allowed the evil to become a social disgrace and an embarrassment.
She added that alcoholism is one of the most-overlooked and under-rated evils in Namibian society today.
It is ironic that we are continuously expressing outrage about the numerous incidents of violence against women, but we are not addressing the evils of alcoholism.
At the same time we are highly concerned about the rape and passion killings of women, but we are not addressing the evils of alcoholism, which is one of the main causes of these evils, she charged.
She, therefore, called on the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MOHSS) to work together with its stakeholders in its programmes aimed at reducing the use and misuse of alcohol.
De Klerk further suggested that if the nation is to address one of the main causes of GBV, the availability of alcohol in uncontrolled quantities to everybody and anybody with money, including the youth, must be addressed.
She noted that poverty and unemployment are often cited as the main causes for the rapid proliferation of shebeens from which families claim to put bread on the table and to send their children to school, but there are other ways to reduce poverty and unemployment.
She said subjects such as Life Skills in schools must be seen as a good start to sensitize learners about the devastating effects of alcoholism and drugs, which could then be a first step towards preparing the youth for a sober life.
The conference ends later today, and was organized by the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM).
It aimed at assembling stakeholders to review progress since the first conference in 2007, and to also develop strategies to effectively combat GBV against women and children.