New community outreach programmes for ELCIN

22 Nov 2013 10:10am
WINDHOEK, 22 NOV (NAMPA) - The Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia (ELCIN), in partnership with the Helsinki Deaconess Institute of Finland officially launched two community outreach programmes here on Thursday.
These projects are the Empowering Communities for Youth (ECY), which aims to increase the employability and access to opportunities for youth; and Community Outreach amongst the Elderly, which is designed to support the elderly to live as active members of society.
Speaking at the official launch, the Charge d’Affaires of Finland to Namibia, Anne Saloranta said the projects are excellent examples of co-operation, and have an overarching goal of improving the lives of people and securing human dignity for all.
By cooperating, the two institutions hope to build the capacity of the church in order to respond to the socio-economic situation and needs within the country by way of sustainable participatory community development.
“The projects we are launching today are concrete examples of the ELCIN church’s initiative and willingness to address specific socio-economic challenges at grassroots’ level, with a broader aim of becoming a model for the Council of Churches in Namibia (CCN) affiliates,” she said.
Saloranta noted that young Africans continue to face major difficulties in the areas of higher education, employment, health and participation in decision-making processes.
“The youth is our future and a key to Africa's development, provided that appropriate investments in health, education and human capital are made,” she stressed.
As life expectancy increases, so does the number of elderly people living in both developed and developing countries also.
According to Saloranta, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has estimated that 200 million out of 355 million people older than 65 years live in the developing world today.
“In Namibia, the church has been well-placed and well-mandated to address socio-economic and human rights’ concerns at community level. The church is well-acquainted with community members, and the community knows the church,” she indicated.
The two projects will run from 2013 to 2015.
The ECY will mostly concentrate on the training of local communities in targeted youth support, empowering youth in life and non-formal skills in peer groups and the training of youth in citizenship, social and community skills, health issues and money management.
The Community Outreach amongst the Elderly aims to support the most marginalised elderly caregivers, who are forced to raise their grandchildren alone by strengthening the capacity of ELCIN to develop targeted community work approaches for vulnerable elderly people.
Both projects’ target areas include Tsandi in the Omusati Region, Engela in the Ohangwena Region, Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, Nkurenkuru in the Kavango West Region and the Havana informal settlement in Windhoek.
The projects are funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Finland, and the Helsinki Deaconess Institute.