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Well-known MC and TV host turns her efforts towards addressing GBV

Well-known MC and TV host Pombili Shilongo has quitted her decade-long career with the national broadcaster to start a project called 'Ensuring Life-Saving GBV Assistance to Women and Girls' made possible through a partnership with UNFPA and the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (Nappa). Here is her story.

Many would know me as a television producer and might not know that I am passionate about social change as well. Even when I had my full time job at the NBC, I made time do charity work here and there. This passion grew by leaps and bound during the past few months, when I assumed a part-time job. Moreover, the COVID-19 lockdown period and its adverse consequences on social progression got me concern to the point of rolling up my sleeves to contribute to social justice. One issue that particularly troubles me is the surge in GBV especially against women and girls - this is what I immediately focused my attention to. Matter of fact, if you ask me today, Pombili, what is your next move? I will tell you, that addressing GBV is my next move. Enough is enough!

Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is a major problem facing women, girls and children all across Namibia. The problem is already prominent in daily media coverage and government’s agenda. Namibian women and girls especially are the main victims of rape, domestic violence and intimate partner violence.

This matter gives one sleepless nights and the situation has worse with COVID-19 pandemic whether it is in urban or rural areas as indicated by evidence from other countries. We cannot underestimate the effects of COVID-19 on the wellbeing of children, youth and adults. The ban/restriction or loss of opportunities to engage in community and productive activities can result in stress, depression, substance abuse, transactional sex as a negative coping mechanism which in turn can result in teenage pregnancy, GBV rates, transmission of HIV to mention a few. As if this is not enough, some regions in the country have not recovered from the impact of the 2019 drought.

In the next coming weeks, I will be engaging adolescents and young people including those with disabilities through media such as radio, Facebook and Instagram on GBV and COVID-19 prevention and accessing available response services. These platforms will create a safe and non-judgmental space for getting help from available services, increase in awareness on prevention tips including being able to identify red flags. In a nutshell, we want a community that cares for each other.   

This project is made possible through a partnership with the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) and the United Nations Population Fund in Namibia (UNFPA).  Just to give you a peek, most of my fans, followers on media who are mostly women, adolescents and young people from vulnerable communities. Stay tune for the upcoming sessions to share information and available services on GBV and Sexual and Reproductive Health in your community. This project is being implemented in collaboration with young people and key stakeholders.