By By Patrick Mankhanamba
November 2011
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In the year 2000, leaders of 189 countries assembled in New York to outline a series of targets to address the most serious challenges in the developing world.

It is at this convention that the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) were adopted with an eight-point road map having measurable targets and clear deadlines for improving the lives of the world’s poorest people by 2015.

The main objective of the initiative is a collective endeavour by world leaders to spare no effort in a bid to free fellow men, women and children from the abject and dehumanising conditions of extreme poverty, to which more than a billion of them are currently subjected.

The Pressures for Change and Different Approaches for Relevance

Since most of today’s development initiatives are increasingly becoming state-centric, as donors have lately focused on reinforcing the responsibility of central government (in the planning and implementation of sector policies and programmes), the ‘MDG Count Down Campaign’ is advocating for a coalition of partners for action, including; donors, governments, multilateral and bilateral institutions, civil society organisations as well as the media at both global and regional levels, to mainly increase support to governments according to their individual national development agendas, which are now country owned and localised.

One of such stakeholder groups is the Institute for Capacity Development (ICD); one of the leading bilaterally funded private sector consulting firm in Namibia. ICD works alongside many international organisations, often of the UN-family, that provide capacity building as a part of their programmes of technical co-operation with their member countries. Currently, ICD is the only ITC/UN/WTO accredited institution that offers the Modular Supply Chain Management Programme in Namibia.

Commenting on how the ICD is sharing a commitment to accelerate the attainment of the MDGs, the director, Clemence Chiduwa, who is also the Economist and Financial Analyst at the Efficiency Energy Management Programme (EEMP) in Southern Africa, says his firm has mostly been a resource participant in supporting those international organisations that are a vital source of financial and technical assistance to developing countries around the world, whose mission is to fight poverty by providing resources, sharing knowledge, building capacity and forging partnerships in the public as well as the private sectors.

“To be precise, the ICD looks at enhancing the capacity and skills of staff in Government, private sector, NGOs and civic society, in order for them to be better placed at work. This came after a realisation that the development solutions to Africa’s development problems are in Africa.

It is African institutions that understand the context of African problems. While parallels can be drawn from other countries, the failure of most of policies is also attributable to technical experts who are not experts in anything. As a result, policies that we put on the ground become alien and lack stakeholder consensus. We believe ICD is one such institution that is making a difference not only in Namibia but regionally and continentally. Trainings have been provided for UN institutions and African Union and this bears testimony to the confidence that ICD enjoys with the regional and continental bodies,” Chiduwa says.

Chiduwa says ICD has so far managed to bring participants for short courses from over 28 countries; mostly in sub-Saharan African countries.

“I believe this places Namibia as a regional exporter of knowledge. We have had to blend our short courses with a Namibia aspect. This way, our short courses have led tourists into coming from within Africa,” he adds.

However, as each day draws up closer and closer to the deadline of the MDGs, the pressures for change and different approaches for relevance are now coming from all sides, to an extent that even the biggest ever anti-poverty movement that first came together in 2005 under the banner of ‘make poverty history’ - by a coalition of aid and development agencies that wanted to raise awareness of global poverty and achieve policy change by governments - no longer depends on the actions of only governments but on all the stakeholder groups taking action collectively in sharing their commitment to accelerating the attainment of the MDGs.

Unlike in the past, the ‘Stand Up and Take Action Against Poverty Campaign’, called on millions of people around the world to particularly demand that world leaders end poverty and achieve the (MDGs).

Today, the ‘MDG Count Down Campaign’ is calling on them (the world leaders) to take upon themselves a responsibility in sharing a commitment to accelerating the attainment of the MDGs.

Apparently, nowadays, the complexity of counting down the plus or minus 1, 500 remaining days to make poverty history on the planet is beginning to transform the main thrust of the ‘MDG Count Down Campaign’ from being a predominant advocate (demanding that world leaders end poverty and achieve the MDGs) to being predominantly operative (sharing a commitment in accelerating the attainment of the MDGs).

Even now at the centre of action against poverty, there is a coalition of partners for action. It appears that there are some whose impact is immense, although, they are rarely seen and they often don’t make headlines but the Institute for Capacity Development has indeed scored a brace in this area, making headlines and making inroads in positive contribution towards the attainment of Namibia’s Millennium Development Goals. PF