UNFPA lauds First Lady’s interventions on adolescents and young people

9 February 2017
First Lady Monica Geingos having a frank talk with teenagers during the Day of Dialogue on Teenage Pregnancy on 12 October 2016.

Windhoek, Namibia - In Namibia, young people are a significant proportion of the population. In 2011, 66 per cent of the population was younger than 35 years old and adolescents were about 23 % of the population.

The United Nations Population (UNFPA) in Namibia’s activities in 2016 were bordering on the premise that when the Namibian population suffers from poverty, drought, maternal mortality, teenage pregnancy, gender based violence among others, it is the young people who suffer the most.

UNFPA Namibia has taken great pride in the deliberate investments that the Namibian Government is doing in the health and education sectors to fight poverty. In 2016, the UNFPA was buoyed and inspired by the poverty eradication declaration of the national programme, the Harambee Prosperity Plan by President Hage Geingob.

We took a deliberate agenda to have adolescent girls at the heart of our work at UNFPA in 2016, and we are thankful to the Office of the First Lady of Namibia for her leadership in championing the agenda on young people in Namibia.
UNFPA Namibia in 2016 worked with a multitude of partners, in particular young people themselves, in advocating for policies and programmes that invest in them and foster a positive environment for them.

But it is our partnership with the First Lady of Namibia Madam Monica Geingos which gave us much room to bring our message to policy makers, leaders and young people themselves that young people need to be empowered, educated and employed.

Rightfully so, she took it upon herself this 2016 on different platforms to encourage investments in young people.

“The ‘awkward conversations’ must be heard, and we must be willing to engage on issues around pregnancy, sexuality and HIV/AIDS with an intention to provide youth with information before they find themselves in difficult circumstances,” she said, at a gathering with young people, parents, policy makers and leaders this past November.

UNFPA hailed the call of the First Lady to embrace the “awkward conversations” and intensified our commitment to fully support all efforts that promote young people’s aspirations and in particular that of women and adolescents girls and to place young people at the very heart of national and global development efforts.

The fact that the First Lady was appointed in September UNAIDS Special Advocate for Young Women and Adolescent Girls, was a testament to the world of what we always knew in Namibia…Madam Geingos is passionate and committed to making a difference in the life of women and girls…a true champion at heart!

Panel Discussion on Adolescent Sexual Health and Rights, 23 February 2016

The panel discussion at State House was attended by more than 400 pupils from schools within the capital city, Windhoek. The emphasis of the discussion was on the need to improve adolescents’ participation in decision-making processes and planning for implementing sexual and reproductive health services for adolescents.

Day of Dialogue on Teenage Pregnancy, 12 October 2016

The Day of Dialogue was born on October 12 and became a platform for stakeholders to create awareness, brainstorm and make recommendations that inform policy changes which could positively impact the lives of young people. The platform was representative of school children, civil society, Government Officials, all had the opportunity to engage a distinguished panel comprised of the First Lady, Chairperson of the National Council, the Deputy Speaker of the Children's Parliament and other senior government representatives.

Launch of 'Be Free' Initiative, 12 November 2016

Increased priority on adolescents, especially on adolescent girls, in national development policies and programmes, particularly increased availability of comprehensive sexuality education and sexual and reproductive health were topical in our engagements with the Madam Geingos.

As a result, the 'Be Free' initiative was started by the Office of the First Lady in collaboration with the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV-AIDS (UNAids) and UNFPA in an effort to play a role towards the educating of young minds.

By Emma Mbekele