Gender Champion

Gender Champion

Date: September 12, 2014
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Having worked for the Ministry of Gender Equality since 2002, Victor Shipo can attest to how gender dynamics in Namibia have evolved in the past 12 years. Shipo said that during his tenure as the Director in the Ministry most of the progressive laws Namibia has today, passed through his office. His notable achievements include gender sensitive amendments of the Namibian Constitution and many laws that serve to protect the rights of women.

In 2011 the Ministry of Gender Equality and Gender Links initiated the development a Gender Policy and National Action Plan aligned to the provisions of the SADC Gender Protocol. Shipo said the process of developing the National gender Policy and Plans was predetermined by the situational analysis conducted to map out gender issues. He said although there were so many gaps identified, the new policy only picked a few areas of concern to address at a time. This was followed up by the consultative workshop to validate the information and prioritise these areas.

“Overall, the assessment of achievements of gender equality efforts in Namibia provided a mixed picture of the progress and obstacles encountered during the implementation of the first National Gender policy.” To date, significant progress in the advancement of gender equality has been made in education and training; trade and economic development; decision making and political empowerment; and legal affairs and human rights. Shipo said this is a clear indication of increased recognition of the need to address gender issues in Namibia. “Despite the national effort in rooting out GBV in our society, GBV is increasing.”

Since their adoption, the Gender policy and the Plan of Action have been used as tools to train and capacitate ministerial staff on gender mainstreaming. This has increased the knowledge and awareness on gender issues in various sectors. Gender focal points have also been trained to create awareness in their respective sectors. Information dissemination on gender policy and plans of actions has been intensified at all levels.

The Ministry has funded community income-generating projects covering crop production, small livestock, brick laying and catering services. It has also supported nursery schools, care givers and women’s groups to participate in international Expo.

The Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare use both print and broadcast media to popularise the National Gender Policy; Gender Based Violence Plan of Action, the SADC gender mainstreaming resource Kit, the SADC Gender Protocol and the work on gender equality. These strategies include various programmes hosted by different media houses in different languages, such as Good Morning Namibia, Talk of the Nation and Tutaleni.

The Ministry has conducted various platforms to build capacity in different sectors, such as gender and education; gender based violence including human trafficking; sectorial gender mainstreaming; capacity building in agriculture, education, health and finance on gender responsive budgeting. Other training was offered to politicians focusing on women in decision making and leadership and 50/50 representations in parliament. Capacity building was also given to media houses and traditional leaders. Namibia police officers, particularly those working in Women and Child protection Units have been trained on how to better handle gender based violence cases and how to support survivors.

“We don’t often realise what gender equality is and some people tend to have an emotional understanding of gender. Gender equality is not only about women but both women and men”, said Shipo.

This article is forms part of the September 2014 edition of the Roadmap to Equality Newsletter produced by the SADC Gender Protocol Alliance and the Gender Links News Service.


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