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UNFPA hygiene kits restoring dignity

WINDHOEK, Namibia – UNFPA Namibia, with funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), recently provided essential hygiene and sanitation items in the form of a “dignity kit” to vulnerable women and girls affected by the drought across various regions in Namibia. The dignity kits consist of washing powder, sanitary pads, bathing soap and other toiletries.

One of the recipients of the dignity kits was Ndilimeke Nghifikwa; a 20-year old Grade 12 learner at Eenhana  Senior Secondary School in northern Namibia.

Nghifikwa hails from Ongha village – some 200 kilometres away from her school – which required her parents to rent out a room for her in Eenhana to be closer to the school. As a young woman in her prime, Nghifikwa often faced the dilemma of prioritising between settling rental fees or buying toiletries and quite often the former is a no-brainer given that she must secure accommodation.

However, upon receipt of a dignity kit from UNFPA Namibia, Nghifikwa was elated and believes that the initiative has restored her pride.

“As a girl, my uniform needs to be clean all the time. Now I have soap to wash my white socks, so that they can look brand new again."

“As a girl, my uniform needs to be clean all the time. Now I have soap to wash my white socks, so that they can look brand new again."

She added: “My parents cannot always afford to buy me the sanitary towels. It is really embarrassing when you do not have them.”

UNFPA Namibia Country Representative Dennia Gayle urged educators and health workers to identify the needy so that they could benefit from such gestures.

“We need to make sure that no one is left behind. We want to make sure that your dignity is protected and that your safety is assured. We want to ensure that you can go to school and go out to play with your friends freely,” she said.

Namibia’s President Hage Geingob last year declared a State of Emergency on account a natural disaster of drought in all regions, and extended an appeal to development partners to play their part in helping the Government’s mitigated efforts in responding to the drought.

UNFPA Namibia Country Office in response mobilised resources focusing on ensuring life-saving gender-based violence assistance to women and girls in drought affected regions of Namibia.

A total of 3500 dignity kits were distributed to six regions in Namibia namely, Kavango East, Kunene, Omusati, Zambezi, Ohangwena and Kavango West. This comprised a total value of N$ 954 000.

A second batch of 6000 kits valued at a total of N$1 428 000 will be distributed to the same further six regions to benefit more girls.


Emma Mbekele