New project to make community voices heard

27 Nov 2013 13:00pm
WINDHOEK, 27 NOV (NAMPA) - A project which seeks to boost the voice of Namibia’s local communities and raise awareness about human rights and democratic participation in the country was launched here on Tuesday.
The project is titled ‘Community voices fostering participation, human rights and civic/voter education in Namibia’s local communities’.
It is co-funded by the European Union (EU) with Euro 200 000 (about N.dollars 2 738 200), whilst the implementing institutions are Deutsche Welle (DW) Akademie and NamRights.
The 18-month project aims to promote democratic dialogue and participation ahead of next year’s elections while fostering awareness on how to claim and protect human rights.
Speaking at the official launch of the project, the Head of the EU Delegation to Namibia, Ambassador Raul Fuentes Milani said citizens who are well informed and have the resources, education and access to participate meaningfully are empowered to make considered decisions about their economic, social and political lives.
“The prime objective of the project is to give Namibians in local communities access to the media and relevant information about their human rights, as well as about political developments in their regions,” he said.
A key target group during the project will be Namibia’s community media, who will have access to training measures aimed at establishing weekly debate programmes for their communities, and at strengthening their coverage of political and human rights issues.
“In a bid to make these measures sustainable, DW Akademie and NamRights will work with the recently founded Namibia Community Broadcasters Network (NCBN) towards establishing a pool of Namibian trainers dedicated to consolidating the community media sector on a long-term basis,” Milani indicated.
Meanwhile, NamRights Executive Director Phil ya Nangoloh said any community which is informed and therefore conscious of its own rights is not only better equipped to realise such rights, but also better-placed to carry out its responsibilities in a democratic setting.
He said as DW Akademie’s project partner, NamRights will provide human rights expertise and progressively assume responsibility for the project’s implementation.
“Furthermore, DW Akademie will assist with the digitisation of NamRights’ archive of video footage, making the material more accessible for academics, journalists and other organisations,” he said.
More than 35 representatives from Government, diplomatic stakeholders, civil society organisations, and development partners attended the launch.
Based in Bonn and Berlin, DW Akademie is the international centre for media development, consultancy and journalism training of Germany’s international broadcaster, DeutscheWelle.
Since 1965, DW Akademie has been supporting the development of independent, transparent media systems, quality journalism and media expertise. With its practical, interactive and innovative approach, it has trained over 17 000 media professionals in developing and transition countries across the world.