Prevention of violence 'has to start with families'

12 Sep 2013 08:50
WINDHOEK, 12 SEP (NAMPA) – The Director of the Namibia Global Fund Programme (NGFP), Pandu Hailonga-van Dijk says Namibia’s social fabric is being torn apart by a culture of violence, which leaves many young people dead.
Hailonga-van Dijk was speaking here on Thursday during the Polytechnic of Namibia (PoN)'s 17th annual HIV/AIDS awareness campaign, which is this year being held under the theme “Break the Silence on HIV/AIDS and Violence”.
“As families, we live in fear in our own homes and communities. Our society seems to be growing numb to human loss and suffering,” she stated.
Hailonga-van Dijk said violence needs to be addressed in families, and the focus on the prevention of violence needs to be on its root causes.
“Unless something is done... we will continue to face challenges,” she stressed.
She furthermore said her observations have left her hopeless as it appears as if society is turning its back on violence as everyone is just concerned about their own safety, and people think “as long as it does not affect me”.
The PoN was thus urged to start conducting campaigns which will help those who are affected by violence, and to use the challenges of violence as an opportunity to give love, hope and bring a smile to someone’s face.
This will thus help members of the Namibian society to develop a capacity for caring.
“By creating a happy society, we are reducing violence as happy people are not cruel and violent. We need to start at an early age, as an Afrikaans speaker would say: ‘Buig die boom terwyl dit jonk is’, which means ‘bend the tree while it is still young’. Our focus on violence prevention should start with the children and at home,” she stated.
The focus of the two-day PoN campaign is on mobilising the youth to take responsibility for their sexual reproductive health issues.
Its main objectives are to increase knowledge and awareness about the link between HIV/AIDS and violence, to mobilise students to know their status through regular testing and to link them to the treatment, care and support services which are available to them.
The campaign also aims to empower female students to negotiate safer sex practices, and reduce the risks of multiple and concurrent partnerships in their sexual relationships, as well as encouraging students to take proactive steps towards living a healthy lifestyle, irrespective of their HIV status.