Gobabis Municipality Institutional Profile

Date: July 25, 2013
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True Essence of the East

Gobabis is the capital town of the Omaheke Region in the eastern part of Namibia and also the district capital of Gobabis Electoral constituency. Gobabis is a small town situated on the route from Windhoek to Botswana, some 110km from the Buitepos Border post with Botswana and around 205km from the capital city. The name is Khoi-Khoi for ‘the place of strife’ but interestingly enough a slight misspelling favored by the locals (Gobabis) would change the meaning to ‘a drinking place of elephants’ probably a reference to the nearby Swart-Nossob River. The town has about 14278 residents.

The governance structure of the town consists of seven councillors, five females and two males. The Mayor & Council Chairperson are female.

The council joined the Centres of excellence programme in 2010 and showed great gender awareness from the start. The council had already implemented a Gender Action Plan, even before the intervention of Gender Links, and the council has generally been proactive in issues of gender and development.

Before the Gender Links intervention, the council was using Namibian affirmative action policies which seek to remedy past discrimination. The AA policy is holistic in its approach to development and justice and includes:
1. Disabled Persons,
2. Formerly racially discriminates and
3. Women,

Hence their approach was holistic, including the empowerment of women.

The council supports local economic development projects that benefits women and men equally, e.g. an ongoing Sewing Project.

The council has two market places where, residents, both male and female rent space at a reasonable fee to conduct their businesses from, thus giving the small entrepreneur a chance to benefit from mainstream economy activities. The council provided startup capital for some of the businesses, especially those owned by women.

A recent project to build a library has seen a construction company employing women, due to Gender Links’ intervention on gender mainstreaming.

The Gobabis council tender board is wholly run by females, who are directed by the National Tender procedure. The Tender Regulation is affirmative action oriented, hence everyone is welcome to tender and provide services.

The Climate Change Committee & Environmental Health is chaired by female leaders who are very vocal and active in issues of climate change interventions and environmental campaigns.

The council has a housing scheme in place, and both males and females benefit from it. The shared community water supply points are in place, and are supervised by female leaders. This decision was taken by council.

The council also has Gender Management systems that makes provision for deterring gender based violence or other issues/crimes that are gender related. The systems are:
1. HIV/AIDS campaigns which are led by women; council is also busy renovating a building to convert it into a VCT centre.
2. Gender Aware & responsive recreational facilities; council has a big sports facility (Legare Stadium) which has both a soccer and netball court and separate ablution facilities that caters for both genders.
3. The town has high mass street lights in informal settlements and also in the town itself, thus reducing darkness and incidents such as rape that could have occurred due to darkness because it is not safe.
4. The response and coordination between the community and police is very good. This has seen a lot of females being part of the community policing forums in the town.

The number of females in management in is still low, with a male proportion of 90%. However middle management has a high female proportion. The HR policies of the council are favourable and gender aware, and council has a platform for families of employees to be included in leisure activities.

Gobabis is a hub for the cattle farming communities. Most of the farmers that live in and around Gobabis are highly successful. The area has highly sought after grazing land.







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