UN Namibia empowers young females to follow #ProsperousPaths

Okahandja, 24 September: The UN System in Namibia (UN Namibia) discussed issues of the girl-child and gender inequality with over 200 learners at Okahandja Secondary School through the Prosperous Paths: Empowering the Namibian Girl-Child programme.

As part of its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the UN is working towards achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls, in line with SDG Goal 5. Through a variety of programmes, including Prosperous Paths, UN Namibia aims to motivate and inspire the youth to follow their dreams and to be empowered and educated in order to be employable tomorrow.

After successfully engaging with over 5,000 girls in Windhoek in 2016, UN Namibia has begun to roll out Prosperous Paths in Namibia’s regions, starting with Okahandja in the Otjozondjupa region. Urging the female learners to use their unique talents and voices to bring about change, the UN Resident Coordinator to Namibia, Kiki Gbeho encouraged the learners to, “Take space, be prepared and dare to be different”.

The motivated group of learners took space at the event, using their voices to suggest solutions for issues impacting their communities, including gender inequality, poverty, teenage pregnancy and sexual violence. Highlighting the importance of education, one learner said that women and vulnerable groups should be empowered through various educational campaigns.

Another learner emphasised that sexual and reproductive health (SRH) education needs to start at home, with open conversations between parents and their children. Likewise, a learner mentioned that conversations about sexual violence and gender equality need to happen with boys and men from an early age.

Gbeho, impressed by the students, encouraged them to follow their dreams and find their #ProsperousPaths. “You all have the potential to make a difference. Success will come from you deciding that you will succeed against all odds,” she said.

Tourists pine for authentic flare of Namibia

World Tourism Day (WTD) 2017, commemorated annually on 27 September, and the International Year of Sustainable Tourism for Development are two observances that raise awareness of how sustainable tourism can contribute to development. These observances are especially relevant in Namibia where tourism is one of the largest contributors to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Sustainable tourism is defined as tourism that takes full account of its current and future economic, social and environmental impacts, addressing the needs of visitors, the industry, the environment and host communities.

Due to its warmer climate, rich cultural history, abundant biodiversity and impressive landscapes, the tourism industry in Namibia has a comparative advantage to other industries. This has allowed for steady growth in the sector, resulting in increased revenue and job creation and subsequently impacting the livelihoods of many Namibians.

Namibia’s cultural tourism is a fairly fresh concept for visitors that have traditionally flocked to the country hoping to embark on an eco-lodge holiday or a coastal expedition to see the endless dunes. Tour companies offer home stays, camping accommodations and the chance to experience traditional craft-making, story-telling, activities and cuisine of local tribes. The overall experience offers a glimpse into the vibrant and ancient traditions of tribal groups in Namibia.

Cultural tourism provides an excellent opportunity to expand Namibia’s tourism sector in a new and distinctive way; however, this form of tourism is not without its drawbacks. Cultural tourism carries a very hefty responsibility—as it does in any country rich in history and diversity. It requires that governments constantly take stock of the advancements happening in its most well-preserved cultural communities and exercise a reflexive self-awareness as these sensitive communities develop and are subsumed into the hustle and bustle of the tourism sector. Continue reading

Messages of Peace from Jakarta to Windhoek

The International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples.The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.”

The theme honours the spirit of TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life. TOGETHER unites the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 Member States of the United Nations, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants. It was initiated during the United Nations Summit for Refugees and Migrants on 19 September 2016.

“In times of insecurity, communities that look different become convenient scapegoats,” said United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres. “We must resist cynical efforts to divide communities and portray neighbours as ‘the other’. Discrimination diminishes us all. It prevents people — and societies — from achieving their full potential.” He added, “Together, let us stand up against bigotry and for human rights. Together, let us build bridges. Together, let us transform fear into hope.”

To commemorate this day, the United Nations Information Centre Windhoek facilitated an innovative #PeacePals programme, where five schools in Windhoek wrote post cards to their peers in Jakarta, sending a message of peace and what it means to them. Today, UNIC Windhoek distibuted the post cards received from Jakarta to the Namibian learners on peace and its fundamental role in our lives.

The UNIC team visited  the participating schools to deliver the messages of Peace  sent from Jakarta.  The first delivery was to the Waldorf Private School. The team also visited the Windhoek Technical High School, Academia Secondary School, Windhoek International School and Jan Mohr Secondary School.

The learners were very excited to read from their Jakarta #PeacePals friends who left their e-mail  and social media handles allowing the students to keep in touch. This serves the main purpose of the #PeacePals project which is to create a platform through which students can connect with students from other countries and share their views on world peace.  

Read Namibia and UN Namibia encourage children to read

The United Nations System in Namibia (UN Namibia) handed over books to children and reiterated the importance of literacy at Read Namibia’s UN Plaza Readathon on 16 September 2017.

Read Namibia, which aims to educate young learners and give them the skills and knowledge needed to become global citizens, is made up of a diverse group of partners including the Association of Diplomatic Spouses (ADS), the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture (MoEAC), the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) and the University of Namibia (UNAM).

Speaking at the Readathon, the UN Resident Coordinator (UNRC) to Namibia, Kiki Gbeho highlighted the importance of reading and attributed her success to literacy. “I am where I am today because of reading,” she stated.

The UNRC further explained what the UN is and its work in Namibia. Literacy and quality education has been on the forefront of the UN’s development agenda globally and in Namibia. Specifically, Goal 4 ‘Quality Education’ of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aims to increase literacy around the globe by 2030 and through the Education and Skills Pillar of the United Nations Partnership Framework (UNPAF) 2014-2018, the UN works with Government to address education challenges.

To get the crowd excited about reading, the UNRC read How the Giraffe Got So Tall by Abby Long to the children.

Maria Hiwilepo, a pilot for Air Namibia, also spoke at the event, encouraging the children to follow their dreams, work hard, stay in school and have the foresight to think ahead towards their future.

Following the speeches, the children read books in groups, wrote their own stories and played word games. The children received donated books as prizes and gifts to take home from UN Namibia, which were the result of a UN Staff book drive held the week before.

Read Namibia collaborates with volunteers from Embassies and High Commissions in Namibia, local libraries, schools and private sector partners to host reading events and donate reading materials to young learners. While inspiring a love of reading in the younger generation, Read Namibia hopes that it can help combat illiteracy and promote quality education in an effort to transform Namibia into a knowledge-based society.

#MondayMenu: 18 – 24 September 2017

UN Namibia: What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out the #MondayMenu for 18 – 24 September 2017.

UNESCO is commemorating World Heritage Week, 18-24 September, in collaboration with several stakeholders across the country. World Heritage Week encourages the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.

Under operative paragraph 17 of the UN General Assembly Resolution 68/268, a Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme was established within the Office of the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to provide technical support to member States. In line with this resolution, the OHCHR Treaty Body Capacity Building Programme, Regional Office for Southern Africa is providing technical assistance to Namibia in the development of a human rights recommendations action plan.

OHCHR is supporting a Training of Trainers on Human Rights Treaty Body Reporting this week, 18-21 September 2017. The training is organised by the Ministry of Justice and is targeting members of the Namibia Inter-Ministerial Committee on Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law.

UNESCO is hosting a Training Workshop for Life Skills Teachers on 19-21 September 2017 in the Zambezi Region.

Each year the International Day of Peace is observed around the world on 21 September. The General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The theme for 2017 is “Together for Peace: Respect, Safety and Dignity for All.” Learn more: http://www.un.org/en/events/peaceday/

World Heritage Week: 18-24 Sept.

UNESCO/Stakeholders

Training of Trainers on Human Rights Treaty Body Reporting: 18-21 Sept.

Ministry of Justice/OHCHR

Training Workshop for Life Skills Teachers: 19-21 Sept.

UNESCO

International Day of Peace: 21 Sept.: UN International Observance

Windhoek International School Children learn about their rights

The United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) in collaboration with UNICEF Namibia, held a presentation at the UN house on 13 September 2017 about the Convention on the Rights of the Child.   Approximately 40 learners aged between eight and ten from Windhoek International school attended the presentation.

The presentation covered the importance of children’s rights which includes empowering children to enjoy and exercise their rights and to respect and uphold the rights of others as they act to promote justice for peace.

Children were briefed on their responsibilities to know their rights. They have the right to quality education, health care, to a name and nationality as well as the right to freedom of expression. The Children displayed extraordinary engagement and interest in learning about the presentation and the rights they are entitled to.

One child stood up and told the audience that she has the right to equality. “To be treated fairly and with respect and also treat others equally and with dignity”. A child has the right to grow up in a family environment, in an atmosphere of happiness, love and understanding. They have the right to food, shelter, clean water and to be able to participate in the society as individuals.

The presentation was based on the Convention on the Rights of the Child which was adopted and opened for signature, ratification and accession recession by General Assembly and is also known as Resolution 44/25 of 20 November 1989. The Government of Namibia adopted it on the 28 September 1990.

The presenters created an atmosphere for the children to engage and participate and ensured that the Children’s Rights are deeply rooted in their minds. Children learned that they have the right to a meaningful life with proper guardians and people who care for them. They learned about how they have the right to, an identity, an official record of who they are, to play, to rest and to have privacy.

The presentation covered the important ways children are protected from abuse and extortion. Emphasis was also placed on children to speak their minds and share their opinions in ways that do not offend or harm others.

At the conclusion of the presentation, learners were presented with scenarios that provided an overview of violations of their rights. They were encouraged to review their rights and discuss ways in which the scenarios violated the Convention on the Rights of the Child. In its totality, the presentation taught the children about their rights, to speak up for themselves and to seek help from their guardians when they think their rights are being violated. The young learner’s engagement showed that they were already very familiar with their rights and well prepared to take on the responsibility of protecting and harboring their rights and those of their peers.

#MondayMenu: 11 – 17 September 2017

UN Namibia: What’s happening at UN Namibia this week? Check out the #MondayMenu for 11 – 17 September 2017.

UNESCO Windhoek Office in collaboration with UNAM will be hosting a Training of Educators on the Supervision of Research Proposals from 11 to 12 September. The training is mainly to capacitate educators to effectively supervise under-graduate educational research projects and the use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) in research.

The World Food Programme (WFP) is facilitating a Training of Trainers for Conducting a Food and Nutrition Security Assessment. The training is taking place in Otjiwarongo from 11 to 15 September 2017.

UNESCO Windhoek Office will also be holding a Training Workshop for Life Skills Teachers from 12 to 14 September in Zambezi Region.

UNIC Windhoek in partnership with UNICEF Namibia will raise awareness on children’s rights and responsibilities with learners ages 9 and 10 from Windhoek International School (WIS) on 13 September 2017. Through a presentation, the students will also learn about the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

UN Namibia is running a book drive this week. Collections will be donated at the Read Namibia UN Plaza Public Event on 16 September. In line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) 4 ‘Quality Education’, the public event aims at raising awareness of the importance of literacy and reading for Namibia’s youth.

Read Namibia launches Readathon activities for 2017

The official launch of Read Namibia’s Readathon activities took place on 6 September where all partners gathered at the National Library of Namibia to kick start this year’s reading campaign. Speakers discussed the importance of reading and nostalgic ties that reading has with childhood. Reflective questions such as do you remember being read to as a child, allowed attendees to relate back to memories of sitting on their parents’ laps with a book, being read to at a local library as well as  the first book they ever read. Memories such as these are often deeply ingrained in our childhoods and, in many ways, shape who we are.

The Readathon campaign is spearheaded by Read Namibia, a broad coalition of businesses, teachers, librarians, booksellers, cultural organizations, and diplomats. Together the coalition are working with the Ministry of Education to promote a culture of reading in Namibia.

At the launch, Mrs. Melinda Burrell from the Association of Diplomatic Spouses (ADS) introduced September’s Read Namibia activities including events being hosted at the UN Plaza where the United Nations Resident Coordinator, Ms. Kiki Ghebo, will speak and read to children at the event. Representing the UN System in Namibia at the launch, Ms. Anthea Basson from the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek added that the UNRC will hand over books on 16 September at the UN Plaza collected during an internal book drive by the UN in Namibia staff. The United Nation’s participation in this year’s readathon events demonstrates the UN’s commitment to the SDGs and highlights the importance of  quality education in Namibia.

Mr. Eli Manga, Acting Director of Namibia’s National Library and Archive Services stated, “Reading is the window to the world for children and as adults we must open that window.” Mr. Manga highlighted the adult responsibility to share reading with everyone. Mr. Steve Kaangundue, Deputy Director of Lifelong Learning and Community Development echoed this sentiment in his statement, “Reading is the foundation of all forms of learning. Books are the doors to knowledge and we all bare the responsibility of sharing reading to all, especially in line with the SDGs and SDG #4, Quality Education for all.” Mr. Kaangundue’s mention of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development goals especially draws attention to the continued UN efforts to ensure everyone has access to the quality education that they deserve.

Read Namibia aims to ensure that all citizens are well poised to take up the challenges of operating within a knowledge economy and are able to compete multi-nationally as Namibia continues to develop and prosper (Read Namibia 2017). “Reading with all its benefits to learners should be encouraged at all levels. As parents, educators and librarians, we all have a crucial role to play to establish a love of reading in our younger generations.” [1]This project aims to create a brighter future for young Namibians through the encouragement of reading and the spread of knowledge.

 

[1] Read Namibia website: https://readnamibia.wordpress.com/

UNIC WINDHOEK LAUNCHES A LIBRARY BLOG

Libraries have always been about change: adding new publications, implementing new databases, incorporating catalogue systems: the list goes on and on. Now, with the rise of technology and the internet, the key is to be in the driver’s seat in terms of utilizing technology to its fullest potential.

The UNIC Windhoek blog is created with the main aim of connecting the library with the public through online publication of world interesting stories, alerting the Namibian public about the phenomenon philosophies and publications of the UN sustainable development goals. The blog is created to encourage  library users to interact with publications in the digital realm and create awareness on the importance of our sustainable development goals.

On the blog, articles, poems, videos, new books and human interesting stories are published and updated daily. The blog is unique and provides a way to alert the Namibian public about new books that have arrived in the library. The blog further features, human interest stories that emphasise people making a positive change in society and library resources which feature educational projects that one may read, download and share.

Through the UNIC library blog, the public’s attention is drawn to interesting topics such as world peace, taking care of the environment, conserving water, list goes on and on. The blog further aims to contribute in creating a good reading culture through the regular articles we update on our blog. Thus, in doing so, the Centre will encourage the public to write and think critically about the problems that are facing the world today.

This online platform provides a sustainable way of interaction between the United Nations Information Centre, the staff members of the UN and the library stakeholders.

The main aim of the blog is to interact digitally with different audience types and to educate the Namibian public about the issues that are facing the world, provide possible solutions and recommendation on how to tackle them. The UNIC Windhoek Library blog also provides a unique platform to increase awareness of and engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals.

Here is the link to the UNIC Windhoek

Library blog: https://unicwindhoeklibrary.wordpress.com/

 

 

#PeacePals project concluded at Windhoek International

The fifth instalment of the #PeacePals project concluded for the year at the Windhoek International School with 110 learners in attendance ranging from grades 9-12.

On the 1st of September 2017 the auditorium set a relaxing atmosphere for our audience, an open-minded and eager group of learners and educators keen to engage in the topic of International Peace. The presentation was conducted by the UNIC team and was fostered by questions and answers during the presentation.

The audience was informed of the role the United Nations plays in the world and how the 17 Sustainable Development Goals were designed to aid in achieving Vision 2030, not just in Namibia, but in the world. The learners were reminded how they contribute to enhancing the Sustainable Development Goals and how people from around the world play their part to ensure that these set goals are obtainable within the 13 years ahead.

In anticipation of the International Day of Peace taking place on the 21st of September; the audience was focused on the refugee crises that has affected the world in the last 4 years. The audience was intrigued to know how they could contribute to the overall objective of SDG 16 known as ‘Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions’. The Peace Pals project which was created to enable learners to have a cross border international communication channel with other learners from Jakarta allowed them to share their views around the topic. The Peace Pals expressed themselves on postcards giving insight on what peace meant to them and how they can try to promote peace in their daily lives and in the lives of those around them.

The 1000 postcards received from the five various schools were sent to the various partner schools in Indonesia. On the 21st of September 2017 the learners of the five participating schools in Windhoek will receive postcards from their fellow peers. Herewith they will have an insight of their counterparts’ views, concerns and solutions on global peace. Continue reading