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UN Namibia Town Hall on “Greening the Blue”

On Thursday, 27th July 2017, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) with the support of United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) hosted the “Greening the Blue” Staff Town Hall to discuss the latest movement in the journey towards making the United Nations House a more environmentally sustainable place. Following former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s 2007 call upon all UN agencies to “go green”, the solar panel launch on the 26th of July at the UN House was a big step towards the Greening the Blue initiative (GtB).

The “Greening the Blue” initiative is part of the UN’s global drive to fulfil its 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the foundation of the 2030 Agenda. Within the SDGs, Goal 7, “Affordable and Clean Energy“, strives to ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all and Goal 13, “Climate Action“, aims to take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. The GtB initiative strives to create a more mindful UN in order to address environmental sustainability in Namibia and promote the SDGs through exemplary leadership. While the GtB initiative is specifically targeted to reduce carbon footprints in the UN system, its greater aim is to help efforts to design programs and projects in line with international, regional and national aspirations to conserve the environment and limit carbon footprints. Continue reading

Windhoek High School Organize Canned Food Drive ahead of Nelson Mandela Day 2017

Nelson Mandela based his entire life on the principle of uplifting others, addressing critical social issues and most importantly sharing a memory in the promotion of justice and social cohesion.

On 13 July 2017, the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek collaborated with Windhoek High School (WHS) to host the second Nelson Mandela Day Canned Food Drive. The project is part of a greater effort to assist local soup kitchens with food supplies in commemoration of Nelson Mandela International Day on 18 July. Over 650 canned food items were collected from the event and donated to the Okuryangava Feeding Centre, a local soup kitchen in Katutura.

Four high schools in Windhoek pledged their commitment to alleviate hunger in vulnerable communities—a core tenet of Mandela’s legacy. The initiative has seen tremendous success in solidifying partnerships and assisting soup kitchens, thus easing the burden of soup kitchens and aiding them to focus on servicing members of their respective communities.

At the handover ceremony Windhoek High School students, and the UNIC team highlighted the meaning behind the upcoming day that commemorates Nelson Mandela’s exceptional dedication to community service. The Day was established on 18 July 2009 through a United Nations resolution to commemorate the tireless activism of Nelson Mandela. Its foremost principle is to dedicate 67 minutes to community involvement, assisting those in need of support. The UNIC team has made it a priority to see his legacy continued and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) has consistently implemented in the design process of community outreach initiatives. While the canned food drive project strikes at the heart of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, it particularly emphasizes the second goal, “Zero Hunger”, which is geared towards the elimination of world hunger and malnutrition, as well as supporting sustainable food systems. Part of Mandela’s legacy was advocating for the eradication of global hunger and with the SDG’s now permeating UN initiatives  at international and local levels, canned food drives are very much a part of his legacy and the modern strides toward development that the SDG’s aim to achieve.  Continue reading

UNIC Windhoek hosts first UNAM Model United Nations mock conference

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek hosted the first Model United Nations (MUN) UNAM Mock Conference at the United Nations (UN) House in Windhoek on 28 June 2017.

MUN is a global UN youth initiative in which students simulate different organs of the UN, most notably the General Assembly. Participants represent different member states of the UN and confront pressing world issues, through fierce debate, lobbying and drafting UN resolutions.

The programme is focused on enhancing debating skills, critical thinking, public speaking, research and writing skills. It also enhances the youth’s understanding of the UN Structure and contemporary debates relating to current global concerns and possible solutions. The distinguished programme runs at schools and universities across the world and, within Namibia, is spearheaded by UNIC Windhoek, since its introduction to the country in 2011.

Under the guidance of UNIC Windhoek and the UNAM Model UN Society, participants deliberated over the following topic: “The Role of the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the modern world, particularly in regards to Africa.” The topic is a contentious issue that could have serious repercussions on matters pertaining to justice on the African continent.

Even though it was a mock debate, with the official conference to be held later this year, discussions and speeches were compelling from the get-go, as delegates approached the topic from a myriad of different perspectives in order to find common ground.

The debate concluded with an award ceremony acknowledging all participants, with special recognition given to the best speaker, as well as best overall delegate of the session. The winners, along with all other participants, put forward a comprehensive and professional display, emphasizing the training and preparation they have received from MUN UNAM, in addition to the technical support they received form the UNIC team throughout the year.

UNIC Windhoek and UNAM sign Internship Letter of Agreement

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and the University of Namibia (UNAM) signed a joint internship letter of agreement to continue making work integrated learning a reality for tertiary students.

Professor Lazarus Hangula, the Vice Chancellor of UNAM and Anthea Basson, the National Information Officer and Head of UNIC Windhoek, came together on 26 June 2017 at UNAM’s Department of International Relations to sign the letter. Continue reading

UN Namibia #MondayMenu: 26 June –2 July 2017

What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out the #MondayMenu for 26 June –2 July 2017.

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek and the University of Namibia are signing an internship letter of agreement on Monday, 26 June 2017. In line with SDG 17 ‘Partnerships for the Goals’, UNIC Windhoek is partnering with tertiary institutions to empower the future leaders of tomorrow.

UNESCO will be conducting Regional Trainings of Education Officers on the use of the Kopana Community of Practise (this falls under our UNESCO/China Funds-in-Trust (CFIT) Project which aims at “Capacity Development for Quality Teacher Education in Namibia”. Trainings will occur in all regions and will be done alongside NUST, NAMCOL and UNAM and from 26 June-11 Aug. Continue reading

Tertiary students learn about the SDGs

As part of the United Nations Information Center (UNIC) Windhoek’s mission to disseminate information concerning the United Nations (UN) mandate and current UN campaigns and activities, UNIC hosted an SDG workshop for the University of Namibia (UNAM) Model United Nations Society at the UN library on 14 June 2017.

The Sustainable Development Goals will form an important basis for the society’s simulations of UN bodies, it is therefore imperative that the members understand what the SDGs are and why they are key to the world’s development agenda.

The Model UN programme strives to create a transformative and dynamic experience aimed at enhancing participants understanding on current global issues. The program is designed to promote critical thinking, public speaking, writing capabilities, as well enhancing diplomacy and negotiation skills.

13 participants from different faculties including Law, Psychology and Economics to name a few, attended the presentation in order to familiarize themselves with the principles, goals and challenges of the SDGs.

Participants were particularly curious about the global statistical data put forward in order to better comprehend the magnitude of certain issues, especially related to climate change, and the role that Governments of member states can play in order to respond to such crisis without compromising the needs of their nation.

Overall, the discussions were lively and filled with debates revolving around the interrelatedness, impact and possible solutions regarding the of the 17 SDGs. The informative discussion definitely generated healthy momentum towards what is sure to be an inspiring and competitive 2017 Model UN chapter.

High School Practicum students conduct Mentor and Peer Evaluation

On 18 May 2017, the High School Practicum Student’s first task of the programme for Day 9 was dealing with peer and mentor assessment. The students were assessed using set criteria  such as self confidence,  self-direction, communication skills, social and cross cultural skills and critical and creative thinking. The learners received a guideline sheet where the criteria and evaluation aspects were defined in detail. Furthermore they received an evaluation sheet where the learners could choose 3 mentors and team mates who would asses them in the mentioned categories.

The team had a 30 min tea break followed by an exercise where the learners had to write a short statement about their favorite part of the High School Practicum Programme. While reading out their statements afterwards, the favorite topics where collected on a whiteboard and were identified to be: the Work Integrated Learning(WIL) Workshop from the NUST Cooperative Education UNIT, the excursion to the National Library of Namibia, the Paratus Telecom presentation about technology and education, the engagement with the SDGs on the 2nd day of the HSPP, the exhibition to Wernhill park where the team needed to inform the public about the SDGs, the presentation and theoretical performances of day 4 which were educating the team about the importance of accurate information and finally the personal interviews with Anthea. Continue reading

Practicum students discover the importance of accurate information

On Thursday 11 May 2017, the High School Practicum Students reflected on their 4th day of the programme. UNIC’s Anthea Basson welcomed the group back and listened to each person’s reflection and feedback.  This simple exercise provided insight in the value of listening with intent and valuing and appreciating what the next person has to say.  Following a session of taking group pictures, the UNIC team took to the stage and role played a scene.

Mpho  from UNIC Windhoek,set the scene and acted out a play as a political figure delivering a public speech to the community. He was campaigning for a fictional political party (“BBB”) where he was slandering his opponent, the fictional “GGG” party. E.g. he blamed the “GGG” for not keeping their promises to the public. During his speech he didn’t provide the community with valid facts or evidence. He opened the floor for questions where UNIC’s Emma acted as a journalist and attempted to ask him questions such as, “could you provide evidence for your claims against the “GGG” party?” Mpho avoided informative answers and chose to raise his voice and insult the journalist for asking inquisitive questions.

He ended the play by asking the group what was wrong with his speech. Together a discussion  unfolded about the speech and the students concluded that the speech contained sure elements and traits of propaganda. The objective of the role play and discussion was to teach the students how to identify vague, subjective and misleading information presented as accurate facts.This was followed by a presentation by the UNIC team on the importance of accurate information. The presentation detailed the evolution of communication, tracing the timeline of news, new forms of journalist, the digital era as well as the prevalence of “fake news.” Continue reading

High School Practicum programme kicks off in Windhoek

On the 8th of May 2017 the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in Windhoek officially set into motion  the two week High School Practicum Programme  where young selected students from a variety of schools can engage themselves in the world of the United Nations (UN).

The day started off with a meet-and-greet with the UN Resident Coordinator (RC), Ms. Kiki Gbeho. The RC delivered an extremely motivational message inspiring the students to work hard, dare to be different, stand up for themselves and to take  space, i.e. take your seat  at the table, make use  of opportunities. Through her motivational speech she put great emphasis on the  “3 Es”, empowerment, education and employment.

After a brief tea break the participants received an insightful overview of the UN System. They learnt that the UN was started in October 1945 after the Second World War in order to promote peace and never allow such an event to occur again. Currently it has a total of 193 member states out of 196 existing countries. At first the UN did not have a large world membership but as the years passed more and more countries joined the organization, as the young people were  orientated through a timeline. Namibia joined the UN in 1990 on the 23 of April. In order for a country to be a part of the UN they have to agree with “The Charter of the United Nations.” The  students learnt  that the current  Secretary General is Antonia Guterres who replaced Ban Ki Moon at the start of the year 2017. Continue reading

Staff members promise to Communicate as One for the SDGs at UNCG Town Hall

On Wednesday, 19 April 2017, the United Nations Communications Group (UNCG) Namibia hosted a Town Hall for all United Nations (UN) Namibia staff members in order to rally support of the UN’s efforts to Communicate as One for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

The UNCG, which consists of focal points from agencies comprising the UN System in Namibia, is responsible for planning, implementing and reporting on communication-related joint activities in Namibia. These include internal communications (within and amongst different UN entities working in Namibia, including regional and headquarter entities) and external communications (with government, development partners, media and the wider public).

Welcoming UN staff to the UNCG Town Hall, the UN Resident Coordinator (RC) Kiki Gbeho complimented the relentless efforts of the staff members in mobilizing local capacity, and encouraged UN Namibia to double its efforts so as to give the country as many opportunities as possible for accelerating development.

The RC further highlighted the SDGs, as projects, policy proposals, outreach activities, research and all other UN activities all function to achieve these 17 Goals. The SDGs aim to end global poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all.

Following the RC, the Deputy Representative of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) Namibia, Marcus Betts encouraged staff to unite together to achieve the SDGs, reemphasizing the SDGs as the guidelines for UN Namibia’s efforts and attitudes.

In an effort to personalize the SDGs from an abstract framework and re-situate them in everyday life, Betts asked the crowd, “How do we bring the SDGs into our personal lives?” Continue reading