Finland funds poverty eradication in Namibia

26 Oct 2015 18:30pm
WINDHOEK, 26 OCT (NAMPA) – The Embassy of Finland in Namibia on Monday signed funding agreements worth over N.dollars 4,8 million with three organisations fighting for the eradication of poverty and economic development in the country.
The three organisations are Women's Leadership Centre (WLC) which received a grant of N.dollars 1 900 000; Family of Hope Services (FHS) N.dollars 1 354 195; and Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN)'s Reconstructed Living Labs (RLabs) N.dollars 1 607 793.
Speaking at the signing ceremony here, Finnish Ambassador to Namibia Anne Saloranta said grants come from the embassy's Fund for Local Cooperation, which aims to support work towards the promotion and realisation of human rights and democracy in Namibia.
The fund supported various development initiatives and civil society actors for the past 15 years.
“It is also used to promote trade and business relations between Finland and Namibia,” she stated.
Saloranta noted that with the emphasis on gender equality and protection of children’s rights, the Embassy of Finland has granted two Namibian non-governmental organisations -WLC and FHS - funding to strengthen a democratic and accountable society that promotes human rights and to increase equality of minority and vulnerable groups.
She said funds given to the PoN's RLabs will focus on promoting an inclusive green economy that creates employment.
The ambassador reminded the three beneficiaries to keep the embassy updated on their activities under the agreement and on challenges they might encounter during the implementation stage.
Meanwhile, WLC Director Elizabeth Khaxas welcomed the funding and promised to use it for the intended purpose.
She said the money will be used for the organisation’s two-year project titled 'San girls, prevent child marriage and early pregnancy/motherhood' that seeks to build the voice, visibility and leadership of San girls to speak for themselves as agents of change in their own lives and in their communities.
The project also aims to mobilise families and communities to change cultural attitudes and behaviour related to child marriage, early pregnancy and motherhood.
“San girls living in Namibia today are subjected to multiple layers of discrimination and oppression on the basis of race, ethnicity, status, class, gender and geographic location.
“The project seeks to promote the agency and leadership of San girls in claiming their rights, in particular their sexual and reproductive rights and their right to education,” she noted.
FHS Director Abigail Bachopi said the grant will help address a major hurdle in working with marginalised children and youth in the Havana informal settlement of Moses Garoeb Constituency in Windhoek.
Bachopi said for the past 14 years, children are continually hampered by the effects of severe poverty that manifests in intense emotional stress often caused by abuse and neglect, and the lack of compassion and caring in their homes and community environments where everyone is struggling.
“Our initiatives under the Fund of Local Cooperation will include identifying and mapping of all stakeholders and all child service providers; strengthening the referral network through workshops with stakeholders; training community facilitators to host more than 90 community town hall discussions with the goal to educate more than 25 000 community caregivers about access to justice and safeguarding children; and formalising policies on child care protection within our own organisation,” she explained.
PoN Rector Tjama Tjivikua welcomed the funding which will go towards training unemployed youth in social media, events planning, social innovation, entrepreneurship, project management, and photography free of charge.
The programme provides an implementation platform that influences innovation and technology towards addressing the challenges in communities, thus creating an environment where people are empowered to make a difference in the lives of others.
“With the support of the Embassy of Finland, the RLabs Namibia programme will be extended substantially in the coming two years. The primary focus will be the creation of innovative income-generating activities for the youth,” he said.
Tjivikua stressed that the youth who have completed the training programme will be exposed to real-life jobs, where they can practice their newly-acquired skills and at the same time receive remuneration according to their level of involvement.
The rector said plans are underway to establish a youth centre and digital job hub in the immediate vicinity of the target group in the Havana informal area.