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European Union, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and 'Regain Trust' launch project titled "Survivors Speak up!" - Innovative Approaches to address Gender Based Violence (GBV) in Namibia
On the 5th of July, the European Union Delegation in Namibia, FES, Regain Trust launched the Project "Survivors Speak Up!" , which aims to contribute towards national efforts to address GBV and Learner Pregnancy in Namibia. Gender Based Violence and the number of Learner Pregnancies (LP) are increasing in Namibia. Harmful gender norms and gender inequalities are recognized as key determinants which negatively affect the lives of women and girls. For instance, statistics shared by the GBV investigation unit, between 2013-2015 show that over 2000 cases of domestic violence and over 3000 cases of rape had been recorded in that period. Available data also indicates that learner pregnancies in Namibia had increased from 1843 pregnancies in 2015 to 2233 in 2016. It is against this background that FES and Regain Trust will implement a three year project, co-funded by the European Union, aimed at contributing towards national efforts to prevent, mitigate and address the high rates of GBV and LP. The project is valued at Euro 750,000, of which the EU contributes 80%. The overall goal of the project is to establish new, multi-faceted approaches to curb GBV and LP through holistic preventative measures and enhanced protection of survivors.
In her statement, EU Ambassador to Namibia, Jana Hybaskova stressed that gender equality and empowerment of women and girls are fundamental human rights and that the EU firmly supports gender equality and the empowerment of women worldwide. Furthermore, through the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), the EU provides support contributing towards the development and consolidation of democracy, respect for human rights and the rule of law. Within this framework, the EU Delegation launched a Call for Proposals in 2017 to support civil society organizations working in the area of Human Rights in Namibia, particularly in women's and cultural rights. She also referred to the EU Gender Action Plan (GAP) of the EU, which is an ambitious approach to gender equality, women's and girls' empowerment and the promotion, protection and fulfilment of women's and girls' human rights and concentrates on for example girls' and women's psychological integrity, their economic and social rights and voice and participation. Ms Hybaskova continued that it is important to increase the resilience of women and reduce their vulnerability in the fight against GBV. She similarly stressed the importance of following a holistic approach in combatting GBV, whereby government, NGO's, Development Partners and Survivors come together.
In her address, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Lucia Witbooi thanked the efforts of the EU through the project and said: "It is up to us as Namibians to stop gender based violence in this country". Ms Witbooi said the Gender Ministry strongly condemns violence and the government has zero tolerance for gender based violence and various laws are in place to this effect. She outlined the Ministry's strategies and programmes on this matter and concluded by recommending that: everybody should be involved; the youth should be the drivers of initiatives, pro-active programmes are needed to curb alcohol and drug abuse, active male engagement at grassroots level is required and GBV issues need to be included in the curriculum of schools.
In a moving statement, telling her personal story of how she moved from abuse to empowerment, Ms Liina Nakanduungile, Director of the Khalina Foundation expressed gratitude for all the support she received through Regain Trust, government and other partners to help her overcome her ordeal. She also stressed the importance of the Cybercrime Act and urged government to speed up the implementation of this Act.
For further information please refer to the Press Release.