World Aids Day 2016: UNIC Windhoek’s hands are up for #HIVPrevention

anthea-wad-camp brad welda nicola julizeEach year, World AIDS Day is commemorated on 1 December, and is an, “opportunity to raise awareness, commemorate those who have passed on, and celebrate victories, such as increased access to treatment and prevention services” (UN International Observances, World AIDS Day).

With about 210,000 people living with HIV in Namibia and a prevalence rate of about 13.3% for adults aged 15 to 49 (UNAIDS, Namibia), the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek’s staff members have joined the Joint United Nations Programme for HIV and AIDS (UNAIDS) in raising their hands up for HIV Prevention on World AIDS Day.

The hands up for #HIVprevention campaign, “explore[d] different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV” (UNAIDS, World AIDS Day 2016).

The UNIC Windhoek staff joined the global community in writing things they thought would improve HIV Prevention on their hands including; ‘education is key’, ‘gender equality’, ‘no stigma’, ‘HIV testing’ and ‘end GBV’. UNIC Windhoek shared the campaign via social media platforms namely facebook, twitter and instagram, to spread the message.

The #HIVPrevention campaign started shortly after the Get on the Fast-Track: the life-cycle approach report was launched on 21 November 2016 in Windhoek, Namibia, by the President of Namibia, H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob and the Executive Director of UNAIDS, Michel Sidibé.

The report finds, “that countries are getting on the Fast-Track, with an additional one million people accessing treatment in just six months (January to June 2016). By June 2016, around 18.2 million [16.1 million–19.0 million] people had access to the life-saving medicines, including 910 000 children, double the number five years earlier. If these efforts are sustained and increased, the world will be on track to achieve the target of 30 million people on treatment by 2020” (UNAIDS, press release).

Although great strides have been made in the fight against AIDS and HIV, it is important to continue investing in methods of HIV prevention. UNIC Windhoek will continue to raise its hands up for #HIVPrevention.

Op -Ed by Executive Director of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) Mr. Yury Fedotov.

From love to death

Across the world tens of thousands of women and girls are being loved to death.

Take a wide angle snapshot of these deaths and violent assaults and they become a recitation of women attacked in desperate circumstances.

Strangulations, often with everyday implements such as rolling pins and dog leads, frightening acid attacks, shootings, burnings, are just some of the ways women are murdered and scarred globally.

Despite only one in five global murders being female, the stories of their deaths are radically different to male murders. Men are most often killed by strangers.

The reverse is disastrously true for women. One of the singularly most dangerous places for a woman is the family home.

A woman’s most dangerous antagonist is not the serial killer, or the criminal opportunist, or the random murderer, but their intimate partner, or another family member.

In 2012, 43,600 women were killed by an intimate partner or a family member. This is an average of some 119 women killed globally every single day of the year or one every 12 minutes. Continue reading

#WednesdayCelebrateWomen: UNIC Windhoek celebrates UN Cares Programme Coordinator Raturua Tjindere

raturua-wcw-updatedIn order to promote women’s empowerment and to generate awareness of the importance of gender equality, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments each Wednesday. For this week’s #WCW #WednesdayCelebrateWomen, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Raturua Tjindere, a UN National Volunteer and UN Cares Programme Coordinator.

Raturua was born and raised in Namibia along with her five siblings. She says that her parents are her biggest motivation in life. “I am a humble and strong person today because of my wonderful mother,” she says.

After attending secondary school at Jan Mohr in Windhoek, Raturua studied at the University of Namibia (UNAM) and graduated with a Diploma in Local Government Studies.

She then started her first job as a credit controller, and she says, “I didn’t know that God had better and bigger plans for my life.”

In 2015, she applied and was selected for a youth volunteer post as a Program Assistant with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). From there, she sought out United Nations Volunteers and was hired to the position where she finds herself today, as a UN National Volunteer and UN Cares Programme Coordinator.

Besides working with the UN System in Namibia, Raturua also currently studies at the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) doing a degree in Public Management.

Check out Raturua’s interview with UNIC Windhoek! Read along as she talks about stigma and discrimination in the workplace, women’s empowerment and gender equality. Continue reading

Trio plan introduction of Model UN at tertiary level

img_0162Today, three former MUNNAM high school delegates met with UNIC Windhoek to engage on collaboration and partnership in establishing a Model UN society at the University of Namibia (UNAM). The Executive team of the envisaged group comprise of Helena Kandjumbwa, Clinton Muinjo and Lifalaza Simata, who are all “products” of UNIC Windhoek’s Model UN Namibia high school programme as of 2012. Since completing high school, the trio have been actively supporting Model UN. The trio spoke at length about the interest of students to continue their Model UN participation at Varsity level.

The new Model United Nations society for the University of Namibia will formally be registered as a UNAM society and will be supported by the United Nations Information Centre (Windhoek).The Centre looks forward to this new partnership with the aforementioned tertiary institution and students from a multitude of nations in 2017. The MUN Club at the University will provide the ideal continuation platform for high school learners, which has been active in the Model UN Namibia programme over the years. This will also streamline the roll out of the programme on the national and regional level. Continue reading

UN Namibia #MondayMenu: 28 November – 4 December

monday-menu-nov-28-dec-4What’s on UN Namibia’s #MondayMenu for 28 November – 4 December? Check it out!

The Namibia National AIDS Conference 2016, run by the Ministry of Health and Social Services (MoHSS) and development partners, kick started today, 28 November in Swakopmund. The Conference is being held under the theme, “Together we are ending AIDS”. Learn more about the conference:

WHO Namibia/AFRO upon invitation of the MoHSS will host a team of external evaluators to determine Namibia’s readiness to prevent, detect, respond and manage major disease outbreaks from 28-2 December 2016, at Windhoek Country Club, Resorts and Casinos. Approximately 11 external evaluators from multiple disciplines will form part of the team. They are from the Academia; US Center for Diseases Control, United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization representing Finland, United States of America, Kenya, Ghana, Sierra Leone, Uganda, Monrovia, South Africa, Italy, Peru, and Ethiopia.

The Joint External Evaluation (JEE) is a voluntary, multi-sectoral process to assess country capacity to prevent, detect, and rapidly respond to public health risks whether occurring naturally or due to deliberate or accidental events. Collectively, these capacities are known as “health security.”

UNESCO will be training education directors from all regions at its Training of Trainers (TOT) Workshop on Media Information Literacy (MIL) from 29 November to 2 December.

In the lead-up to World AIDS Day 2016 (1 December), the hands up for #HIVprevention campaign will explore different aspects of HIV prevention and how they relate to specific groups of people, such as adolescent girls and young women, key populations and people living with HIV. Read more:

Since 1992, the United Nations International Day of Persons with Disabilities (IDPD) has been celebrated annually on 3 December around the world.

The theme for this year’s International Day is “Achieving 17 Goals for the Future We Want”. This theme notes the recent adoption of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the role of these goals in building a more inclusive and equitable world for persons with disabilities. Read more:

#WednesdayCelebrateWomen: UNIC Windhoek celebrates Lesley-Anne van Wyk

lesley-anne-wcwEach Wednesday, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments.  Through her work for the Hanns Seidel Foundation Namibia she is instrumental in coordinating  environmental awareness and climate change projects in Namibia. This week we celebrate, Lesley-Anne Van Wyk.

Check out Lesley-Anne’s interview with UNIC Windhoek! Read along as she talks about climate change and the tips she gives on combating climate change. See what she reckons on gender equality.

 1.) Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your career?

My name is Lesley-Anne van Wyk and I was born and raised in Windhoek. I hold a Bachelors degree in Languages and Journalism from the University of Pretoria and a Masters degree in Globalisation and Development Studies from the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands. I have over 9 years of work experience in diverse roles and dynamic organisations. The last 5 years of my career have been focused in the spheres of environmental sustainability, climate change adaptation, food security and development communications. Currently, I coordinate an environmental awareness and climate change project at the Namibian office of an international foundation.

2.) What is climate change? How is climate change impacting Namibia?

Climate change, in simple terms, can be defined as changes in the average long-term weather patterns of a region for an extended period of time, typically decades or longer. Examples include shifts in wind patterns, the average temperature, or the amount of precipitation. These changes can affect one region, many regions or the whole planet. The Earth’s climate has never been completely static and in the past the planet’s climate has changed due to natural causes (e.g. volcanic eruptions, changes in the sun’s intensity). These effects are spread out around the globe mainly by ocean currents as well as wind and weather patterns to affect the climates of different regions. Human activities like the burning of fossil fuels or industrial production increase the levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This traps more heat in our atmosphere, which drives global warming and climate change.

Namibia is particularly vulnerable because it already has a dry and highly variable climate. The vast majority of the population depends on natural resources for their livelihoods. The population growth of Namibia is expected to put additional pressure on (especially) land and water resources. Poverty, lack of income and lack of employment opportunities increase the vulnerability of households to cope with the impacts of climate change e.g. the shocks of extreme weather events such as droughts and floods.  Continue reading

International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women – 25 November

Joint call by UN Rapporteur on Violence against Women and all other global and regional mechanisms to end femicide and gender-based violence

GENEVA (22 November 2016) – Speaking ahead of the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against women, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on violence against women, its causes and consequences, the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), the Inter- American Special Rapporteur on violence against women, the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Women in Africa, the United Nations Working Group on the issue of discrimination against women in law and in practice, the Committee of Experts of the Follow-up Mechanism to the Belém do Pará  Convention (MESECVI) and the Group of Experts on Action against Violence against Women and Domestic Violence of the Council of Europe (GREVIO), * as key global and regional women’s rights expert mechanisms, jointly call for intensification of international, regional and national efforts  for prevention of femicides and gender based violence.

Violence against women is rooted in inequalities and discrimination against women and its prevention and eradication must be grounded in gender equality and empowerment of women.

Violence against women, as a form of discrimination against women and a human rights violation is prohibited both by the global human rights instruments – such as the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and the Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women – and by the regional treaties, such as the Belém do Pará  Convention, the Protocol to the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights on the Rights of women in Africa (Maputo protocol), and the Istanbul Convention.

Monitoring work at both global and regional levels has shown that:

· Femicides or gender related killings of women, and sexual and other forms of gender based violence against women and girls are widespread and persistent human rights violations.

· There is widespread impunity due to the lack of implementation of the global and regional instruments on women’s rights and violence against women and the failure to turn these into real protection of every woman and girl.

· There are significant gaps and shortcomings in national legislation and prevention systems often combined with  tolerance of such violence, exacerbated by a lack of reliable and disaggregated data, the absence of adequate risk assessments, and concealment and underreporting of gender-related killings, rapes and other forms of gender based violence against women.

All States must, as a matter of urgency and in collaboration with civil society and other stakeholders, step up their efforts to prevent and eradicate femicides, rapes and other forms of gender based violence against women and girls.

All stakeholders are urged to guarantee each and every woman and girl a life free from violence by applying holistic integrated policies on:

· PREVENTION:  fully endorsing, incorporating and implementing global and regional treaties on women’s rights and violence against women (CEDAW and its Optional Protocol, the Belém do Pará Convention, the Maputo Protocol and the Istanbul Convention);

· PROTECTION: providing shelters and safe places, crisis centers, protection orders and services for women and their children survivors of violence  and integrating gender perspective in the work of legal professionals and law enforcements officials dealing with violence against women;

· PROSECUTION, including sanctions of perpetrators and providing redress and reparations for the victims and their families.

The experts also welcome the call of the UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women, to establish a “Gender-Related Killing of Women (Femicide) Watch” and to publish every year on the International Day on the Elimination of Violence against Women (25 November) the number of femicides or gender-related killing of women, disaggregated by age and sex of the perpetrators, the relationship between the perpetrator and the victim(s), as well as information on the perpetrators’ prosecution and punishment.

Establishing a “Femicide watch” to collect, analyse and review data at the national, regional and global level will place a much needed emphasis on prevention. Each femicide should be carefully examined to identify any failure of protection, with a view to improving and further developing preventive measures. In addition, a “Femicide watch” by its mere existence would increase awareness about femicides and other forms of gender-based violence against women and galvanise actions for its prevention. States should increase their efforts to use all available global and regional women’s human rights instruments and experts’ mechanisms to put in place effective systems to prevent and end femicide and gender-based violence against women and girls.**

ENDS Continue reading

UN Namibia #MondayMenu: 21-27 November

monday-menu-november-21-27What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out what’s on the #MondayMenu for 21-27 November 2016.

In recognition of the increasing impact television has on decision-making by bringing world attention to conflicts and threats to peace and security and its potential role in sharpening the focus on other major issues, including economic and social issues, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 21 November as World Television Day in 1996. Learn more at

UNAIDS is launching a new report entitled Get on the Fast-Track: The life-cycle approach to HIV. The report will be launched at an event in Windhoek, Namibia on 21 November with the President of Namibia H.E. Dr. Hage Geingob and the Executive Director of UNAIDS Michel Sidibé. Read more about the launch via UNAIDS:

On 25 November, UNDP will launch the African Human Development Report (AfHDR) together Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (MGECW).

Also on 25 November, MGECW will launch the 16 Days of Activism campaign, at which the Resident Coordinator to Namibia, Ms. Kiki Gbeho will deliver the Secretary General’s remarks. The 16 Days of Activism starts on 25 October, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, and ends on 10 December, Human Rights Day.



UNCG Namibia commits to ‘Communicating as One’ at annual retreat

The United Nations Communication Group (UNCG) in Namibia discussed communication priorities and set the 2017 Work Plan at its annual retreat in Swakopmund, Namibia from 15-16 November 2016.

The annual retreat was led by the Chair of the UNCG and Head of the United Nations Scientific, Educational and Cultural Organization of the United Nations (UNESCO) Dr. Jean Pierre Ilboudo, alongside Ms. Anthea Basson serving on behalf of the UNCG Secretariat. This hands-on event included a two-day programme that covered a wide-range of communication priorities.

The purpose of this retreat was also to allow the team to build a community, to network and to begin enhancing team building and leadership skills.

The benefits in investing in the UN Namibia Communications team was evident in the following:

  • Developing and aligning strategic initiatives,
  • Strengthening skill building,
  • Increase the understanding of communication styles,
  • Increase UNCG morale by managing through relationships, relevance and measurement,
  • Generating synergy and collaboration.

Through lively discussions about the successes and challenges in communicating the work of the UN System in Namibia, the UNCG in Namibia was able to identify areas through which ‘Communicating as One’ can be improved upon.

The retreat started out with evaluations by each thematic group, namely the groups dealing with communication tools, international observances and the communication strategy.

Day One at the retreat started with an in-depth analysis of the UNCG Communication Strategy and aligning it with the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2014-2018. Through a joint effort, key messages were drafted in line with the four pillars of UNPAF, namely institutional environment, health, education and poverty eradication.

On Day Two of the retreat, the UNCG in Namibia identified areas through which its members would like to receive training and subsequently planned internal trainings to commence in February 2017. Each member will provide the training as a way to promote skills development amongst all the members.

This was followed by an analysis of the Terms of Reference (TORs) of the UNCG in Namibia, a discussion about engagement with the youth on the SDGs and an evaluation of the proposed budget for 2017.

Day Two came to a close with a discussion on how the UNCG in Namibia can practically implement ‘Communicating as One’ as well as the use of digital platforms to achieve this goal.

In his closing and thank you remarks, Dr. Jean Pierre Ilboudo encouraged the UNCG in Namibia members to continue with their hard work and positively contributing to communicating the work of the UN System in Namibia.



#WednesdayCelebrateWomen: UNIC Windhoek celebrates Julize Skolnic, with over 20 years experience with the UN System in Namibia

julize-wcwEach Wednesday, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek celebrates women and their accomplishments. In light of her work for the UN System in Namibia for well over 20 years, UNIC Windhoek celebrates Julize Skolnic, a hard working woman who is successfully balancing being working full time and being a mom and wife.

Julize was born in South Africa, Cape Town and grew up in Namibia. Julize reminisces that she was merely four years old when her parents moved to Namibia. “My husband is Namibian and I see Namibia as the country of milk and honey, it is good here as there is peace and stability,” Julize relates proudly.

Julize is married and has two children, one boy and one girl. She started off her career in the private sector as a private secretary to Managing Directors (MDs), a job that is known today as a personal/executive associate. Before joining the UNIC Windhoek Team in 1994, Julize worked for UNICEF Namibia for approximately four years. Julize has been with UNIC Windhoek for well over 20 years.

Skolnic admits that it is challenging balancing work and private life. She says “it’s been about choices in my life, it was either you follow your career or you are a good mom or good wife to your husband… when it comes to my children it is important to me to send out happy and balanced kids into this big world”. She goes on to advise women in similar situations that you have to make a plan and prioritize.

 Furthermore, Julize has a good working relationships with both men and women within the UN System in Namibia. She believes that gender equality is needed in today’s society for both men and women. Julize reckons that “One should not be favored or judged because of one’s gender. One should be defined by one’s personality, moral values and standards.”

Similarly, her motto in life is that “prevention is better than cure”. She explains that sometimes in life it is difficult because life is about right or wrong. She encourages doing right. This is because when doing wrong, it’s sometimes difficult to rectify/revert your actions whereas, it is much easier to do the right thing from the beginning.

 Julize’s advice to young girls pursuing their dreams is to “never give up, work hard and be true to yourself and your opinions. Not everyone might agree with you but the right people will.”