26 Nov 2017 09:50am
WINDHOEK, 26 NOV (NAMPA) The 16 days of activism against gender-based violence campaign started on Saturday with a peaceful march to the education ministry.
Close to 20 people took part in the march organised by the Coalition against Gender-Based and Sexual Violence.
It started at Parliament Gardens and ended at the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, where a petition was handed over to Permanent Secretary (PS) Sanet Steenkamp.
The activism campaign is an international event that aims to spread awareness to prevent violence against women and girls. It starts yearly on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and ends 16 days later on International Human Rights Day.
Founding member of the coalition, Alna Dall said during the march they petitioned the ministry to provide free sanitary towels to girls in school. They also want a review of the Education Policy Implementation Plan on Prevention and Management of pregnant learners so that teenage mothers return to school while receiving free day-care for their children.
The coalition aims to create a united national front against the scourge of gender-based and sexual violence, in particular femicide, and child rape. It also seeks to inspire the youth to stay in school and abstain from sex, and to put pressure on Government to create a safe learning space for teenage mothers, provide them with vocational training and establish support groups for them.
Our main focus this year is to inspire girls to realise their worth and take charge of their lives. We want them to realise that their futures are not solely to become mothers, she said.
On receiving the petition, Steenkamp said her ministry and the Ministry of Health and Social Services have been researching the hygiene and quality of the reusable sanitary towels currently available on the market.
We recently received an approval from the health ministry and they are indeed ready for distribution, she said.
Deputy Director of the HIV and Aids Management Unit within the education ministry, Julius Nghifikwa said children are taught about both abstinence and safe sex through life skills lessons.
Nghifikwa pointed out that the current education system allows teenage mothers to return to school following endorsement by a doctor and provided there is somebody taking care of the child while the mother is in school.