17 Jun 2015 18:50pm
WINDHOEK, 17 JUN (NAMPA) The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has closed a grant worth over US.dollars 3 million towards the Church Alliance for Orphans (Cafo) in Namibia after reaching their target.
USAID provided Cafo with US.dollars 2.9 million (about N.dollars 36,1 million) in December 2010 to provide health, education, shelter, counselling and other forms of support to more than 30 000 vulnerable children at existing early childhood development (ECD) centres in Namibia.
Speaking at the official grant-closure ceremony on Wednesday, United States Ambassador to Namibia, Thomas Daughton applauded Cafo for using the grant wisely and improving the lives of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC) in Namibia.
We provided an additional US.dollars 500 000 (about N.dollars 6,2 million) in December 2013, as well as a project, implemented on our behalf by Management Sciences for Health (MSH), to improve the capability of local organisations such as Cafo to respond to the HIV epidemic in Namibia, he said.
Daughton said it is important for USAID to work together with their local partner, MSH, in order to create the possibility of allowing Cafo eventually to stand on its own.
He said the MSH works with Cafo to improve its services and raise its public profile in order to demonstrate that Cafo is worthy of support.
Daughton said Cafo was able to extend services to an additional 8 000 children and demonstrated success after it attracted support from other international donors, businesses and local volunteers.
The US ambassador and officials from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare on Wednesday visited the Toivo ya Toivo Pre-primary and Daycare Centre in Havanas Moses Garoëb Constituency, which also benefited from Cafo.
The centre, which was established in 2006, is accommodating about 79 children up to the age of six.
Meanwhile, Cafo's representative, Laura Cronje, said since 2002, the organisation has supported a number of local income-generating projects such as cattle farming; and provided schools with uniforms and humanitarian assistance in the form of flood relief.
We have learned that donor-funding can come to an end any time, however, we are prepared to stand on our own, she said.
Cafo is a non-governmental organisation that aims to encourage and empower local churches and other organisations to provide emotional, spiritual and material assistance to OVC.
Speaking at the same occasion, Director of ECD in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Spendu Onesmus said the ECD programme aims to increase the capacity of individuals, communities and all stakeholders involved in the delivery of ECD services.
She, however, expressed disappointment with the mushrooming of ECD centres in the country, saying some people just aim to make money without considering the hygiene of their centres and up-to-standard services that should be delivered.
The government is discouraging substandard services and poor administration provided at some centres, she said.
A total of 3 000 ECD centres are registered with the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare.