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UNFPA pays courtesy call on First Lady of Namibia

The UNFPA Representative to Namibia, Ms. Dennia Gayle paid a courtesy call to the First Lady of Namibia, Monica Geingos, on 6 April 2016 to discuss and explore common areas of work and potential ways to further strengthen the collaboration.

She was accompanied by Mr. Israel Tjizake, Assistant Representative, Ms. Loide Amkongo, Reproductive Health Specialist, Ms. Cathline Neels, Humanitarian Response Analyst and Ms. Emma Mbekele, Communications Analyst.

Ms. Gayle commended Namibia for its leadership for taking steps to eradicate poverty in the country. She noted in particular, the Harambee Prosperity Plan which was launched by President Hage Geingob while delivering his second State of the Nation Address in Parliament on 5 April 2016.

The Harambee plan aims to “significantly” reduce poverty in the country, and includes both infant and maternal mortality as well as youth enterprise development as part of the fast tracking areas where progress is insufficient.

Other expected outcomes from the plan are a more transparent Namibia; a high-performance and citizen-centred culture of service delivery; a reputable and competitive vocational educational training system; improved access to serviced land and housing; guaranteed energy supply and sufficient water for human consumption and business activities.

“The idea of eradicating poverty is commendable. But, what is more commendable is that the country has a leader that has spent the last year, first, setting the vision ‘to eradicate poverty’ and then, putting the systems and structures in place to materialize that vision, such as creating the Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare,” Ms. Gayle stated.

“Now it is time to roll up our sleeves and get to work. UNFPA is delighted to be part of this implementation journey and our visit here today is a way of conveying that we are ready and poised to provide the necessary support,” she further stated.

The First Lady noted that the Presidency felt the need for an acceleration plan to complement ongoing developmental efforts and bring Namibia closer to the prosperity vision, hence Harambee, which means to “all pull together” in Swahili.

Madam Geingos mentioned that early childhood development, teenage pregnancy, family planning and gender based violence are some of the areas her Office will focus on this year.

“If you look at the prevalence of single mothers, violence against women and children, all such things happen in private and are situations, which incapacitate women. It is difficult to go out there and make a difference either academically or in business without an adequate support system,” she said, adding that teenaged boys need to be sensitized and taught the responsibility of parenthood when they make a girl pregnant.

Geingos admitted that teenage pregnancy was a subject close to heart because she fell pregnant at a very young age herself.

“This is a topic I am passionate about because I had my son when I was 18 years old,” she said.

UNFPA and the Office of the First Lady have already collaborated in the past, but the meeting provided an excellent opportunity to explore ways of further enhancing the collaboration, and exchange experiences in the areas of teenage pregnancy and gender based violence.