On Monday, 9 March 2015, the Secretariat of the UN Communication Group, UNIC Windhoek brought together the UN Family in supporting and celebrating the significance of International Women’s Day or encouraging unity among UN sisters by embracing the 2015 theme: “ Empowering women – Empowering Humanity: Picture It!”
The UN staff f in Namibia celebrated the women in their lives. They are the cornerstones of their communities who worked tirelessly in making countless differences in their lives and those around them. The staff gathered in spirit and to acknowledge and pay tribute to:
- those in small remote areas and refugee camps;
- those living in huts in urban and rural areas / villages;
- those working with us in the UN House, the poor, the rich, and the unemployed women of our time;
- those in schools, colleges and universities,
- those who are mothers, working women, and those who do both;
- those who are single, married, divorced or widowed;
- those who are young, old or disabled; and
- those known to us and the strangers on the street;
The UN staff united to make the women of the past proud: those who stood up for change and fought for the rights that we live and enjoy today. The staff acknowledged the women of the present: those present, those around the world and the ones who used their voice to help make our world a better place. The staff looks towards the future women: the individuals who will continue to champion women’s voices, break barriers and keep visible women’s achievements and plights.
UN Namibia salutes and made the women of the past proud, inspired the women of the present and provides the women of the future with vision.
We all took a moment to reflect as the National Information Officer of UNIC Windhoek called upon forty volunteers to light a candle of solidarity and to pay tribute to all the women to symbolize our connection with women and with each other.
The well-known, Namibian Ophthalmologist, Dr. Helena Ndume as guest of honour added great value to the commemoration , especially to the young working class women of the country who require the guidance and path-breaking ideas to lead their way to strike out to secure their futures and to contribute to their families, communities and societies. As a successful career women and mother, she shared in-depth knowledge with the UN women on “women work life balance.”
Other speakers were, Ms. Micaela Marques De Sousa, UNICEF Representative who traveled backwards in time and shared with us her personal success story in embracing the 2015 theme and in the same vein answering the following questions: How can women cultivate career success? How did she as a woman manage to progress in her career while also enjoying life outside of work? Basically, sharing the tidbits she have learned over the years in working for the UN, her fears and unbridled possibilities, how she found success and how she sustain in remaining on top. Micaela, motivated the UN women to take responsibility for their own success, be champions of their own ideas and landscapers of their careers. She also acknowledged the men’s role and stressed that women need their support to be successful. The UNICE Representative encouraged men to recognized and nurture female talent. She also touched on the on issues of progress, the MDGs and the Post 2015 Development Agenda.
The WFP Officer-in-Charge, Jennifer Bitonde delivered the UN Secretary –General’s statement, the Acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNAIDS Country Representative Tharcisse Barihuta delivered the closing remarks, followed by the voted of thanks given by Gesine Knolle, member of the UN Communication Group. The welcoming remarks were delivered by UN Communication Chairperson, Emma Mbekele and Anthea Basson represented the UN Secretariat of the UN Communication Group served as Director of Ceremonies.
Most of the staff dressed up in their traditional attire or purple. Why purple? Purple symbolized justice and dignity, two values strongly associated with women’s equality.