Our mandate is to ensure gender equality and equitable socio-economic development of women and men and the well being of children
The vision of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare is to be a leading institution in ensuring sustained quality of life through equal opportunities for all people in Namibia. This vision represents the aspirations of the Namibian people, both men and women and is in line with the Constitution of the Republic of Namibia (Article 10), Vision 2030, the African Union Solemn Declaration on Gender Equality in Africa and the Southern African Development Community (Sadc) Protocol on gender development, which Namibia ratified in October 2009.
The Ministry ensures the attainment of its corporate vision through the process of creating an enabled environment in which gender equality, community development and the well-being of children can be realised at all levels of society.
Even as one of the youngest ministries (having only become a fully fledged ministry in 2000), the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare proves to be growing from strength to strength, with thi year being of no exception.
The array of programs conducted and successes achieved in the duration of this year proves testimony to the MGECW’s tireless efforts to reaffirm its commitment of addressing the plight of women and children, and, its mandate of promoting gender equality by encouraging equal rights. In July this year, the MGECW launched an intensive 5 year strategic plan (2010-2014) evolving around four strategic programs:
1. Gender Equality and Equity
2. Child Welfare
3. Community and Integrated Early Childhood Development
4. Operational Excellence
Below, we proudly highlight some (of many) activities successfully carried out by the MGECW in this year, per respective Directorate.
2. Gender Equality and Equity
Ministerial target: To train and sensitise 100% of 200 000 community members (youth, adults, traditional leaders and gender focal persons) in basic legal literacy and gender issues such as GBV, SRH including HIV/AIDS by 2013/14.
MGECW held trainings to equip rural women and girls with adequate information and knowledge on gender, sexual reproductive health, gender based violence and HIV/AIDS. The women were sensitized on their rights, sexual rights and responsibilities. These trainings for women and girls took place in 4 regions, totaling a number of 139 men and women who participated.
In association to strategic objective “to promote positive cultural practices and beliefs”, workshops were held in 14 towns across 8 regions with the aim to promote positive cultural practices and beliefs among participants through introducing and educating them on the Married Persons Equality Act, Domestic Violence Act and, Combating of Rape Act. The 694 participants were also educated on sensitive issues such as baby dumping and human trafficking.
The Ministry is tasked with the responsibility to mobilize, activate, sensitize and motivate people to become agents of change and to take an active role in self development. Mobilization meetings are tools introduced and conducted by the MGECW to sensitize communities and inform them on the various services and interventions provided by the Ministry. To date, 588 men and women have participated in these mobilization meetings held in Okakarara, Tsumkwe, Quinas, Ongwediva, Otjituuo, Okahandja, Omuntele, Oniipa and other marginalized communities.
2. Child Welfare
Ministerial target: To ensure that 98% of 155 000 Orphans in the country have access to social grants by 2012/2013
In February, Child Welfare staff in all regions and constituencies conducted an outreach program in attempt to identify needy orphans and vulnerable children who were not benefiting from grants. With the information derived by the outreach, during the period January -September 2011, a total number of 10 125 children received social welfare grants.
This number adds to the total of 130 953 (84% of 155 00) Namibian orphans who receive social welfare grants to the amount of N$ 78 329 700.00
Ministerial target: To ensure that 50% of double orphans in the country are placed under legal care of guardians by 2013/14
As per the MGECW strategic objective to ensure the care and protection of children, in the duration of 2011, 1 017 children were placed under legal care of guardians.
In addition to the above, the 8th of July saw the registration of two new residential child care facilities, namely, James Haven (Oshikoto) and Walvis Bay Kids Haven in Erongo Region. Jonah Home (Erongo), Omaruru Kids Haven (Erongo) and Children of Zion Village (Caprivi) were all added as beneficiaries on the Ministry’s subsidy system.
3. Community and Integrated Early Childhood Development
Ministerial target: Enroll 60% of 237 045 children (age 0-4) including Orphans and Vulnerable Children (OVC) in Early Childhood Development (ECD) Centre’s and provide access to the Integrated Early Childhood Development (IECD) program by 2013/2014.
This program addresses the issues of early childhood development, care and education of children 0 – 4 years of age, with a view of laying a strong foundation for holistic development of children. During the course of this year (2011), the MGECW managed to enroll 39 692 (16.7%) children in 1 329 ECD centers across the country.
Additionally, MGECW took it upon themselves to mobilise traditional leaders, parents and communities at large on the importance of IECD. As a result, 68 mobilization meetings were held across the country, in thirteen (13) ECD centers (with ECD committees) being established. These centers accommodated 107 children, of which 60 are boys and 47 girls with thirteen caregivers. In Ohangwena region, nine mobile ECD centers were introduced.
4. Operational excellence
The MGECW aims to improve its services through operational excellence. As per our strategic objectives, we encourage and facilitate the development and acquisition of specialized and skilled employees. In our quest to improve staff competence, various capacity building initiatives have been undertaken by employees in the duration of the year. This year also saw the introduction of the MGECW Human Resource Strategic Plan 2010-2014.
The MGECW prides itself in providing financial assistance for employees who wish to further their studies. The Ministry currently assists more than 30 staff members, all enrolled in different programs, academic levels and years of study, both local and internationally.
In conclusion, the 7th of November 2011 saw the beginning of a week-long ministerial Annual Planning Meeting also attended by the Honorable Minister, the Permanent Secretary, various stakeholders and representatives from regional offices. The meeting bought together a team of dedicated public servants who shared ideas and information with the aim of developing strategies for the constructive advancement of the MGECW, and the Namibian nation at large.
As the curtain draws on 2011, the MGECW stands firm on its commitment to achieve gender equality and an improved quality of life for all Namibians, and pledges to continue fighting for this cause in 2012, and the years to come.