Women in Namibia have traditionally suffered discrimination and exclusion from full participation in the political, socio-economic and cultural life of the nation. The root cause for this gender inequality has been the low status of women and girls and negative cultural perceptions of gender roles. Some of the main issues cited are inequitable access to resources, the low participation of women at all levels of decision making and lack of women’s socio-economic empowerment as some of the critical challenges. These issues are augmented by the impacts of HIV/AIDS and gender-based violence and the high levels of food insecurity and income poverty among females, especially in women-headed households.
The UNDP Gender unit provides support to vulnerable communities, promotes advocacy and awareness for the recognition of human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment in Namibia. The Gender unit aims to strengthen the institutional capacity of key service providers and ensure that policies are in place to protect the rights of women, children and other vulnerable groups from gender based violence. The Gender unit also works towards the prevention of violence and abuse while assessing the impact of violence on households and communities, as well as linkages with referral systems for mitigating gender based violence. The unit also focuses on the mainstreaming of gender in national policies, NDP 4 and ensuring gender responsive programming in Namibia.
We have provided technical and financial assistance to the Ministry of Gender Empowerment and Child Welfare to review and revise the National Gender Policy and National Plan of Action of 1997 which has now been approved and endorsed by Cabinet in 2012. Although the Ministry of Gender Equality and its stakeholders have made efforts to address issues related to gender-based violence, incidences related to this problem are still very high and continue to surface. At the beginning of 2011 UNDP also provided the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare to develop the National Plan of Action on Gender Based Violence and an M & E Framework which was finalized in 2012 and launched. The expected outcome of the GBV Plan of Action is to contribute to increased use of GBV prevention and mitigation services. It is also anticipated that the Plan of Action will improve the quality, co-ordination and effectiveness of support services; contribute to holding abusers accountable; and reduce the tolerance of GBV within communities
UNDP will support the Ministry of Gender Empowerement and Child Welfare to strengthen institutional capacity and accelerate implementation of the national GBV Plan of Action, including through stronger civil society engagement.
As part of UNDP awareness raising efforts and promoting advocacy for GBV, in collaboration with UNAIDS, we contributed to the Mountain Brandberg climb the highest mountain in Namibia by artist. This event was spearheaded by a Namibian fashion artist who participated in the Mount Kilimanjaro GBV Climb. UNDP and UNAIDS also supported GBV art exhibition at the National Theater which was aimed at raising public awareness on GBV issues in the country amongst the youth.