UNIC Windhoek staff attend in house Women’s Leadership Series

The UNIC Windhoek ladies attended the first Women’s Leadership Series hosted by the Gender Theme Group, UN Namibia.  The aim of the series is to empower women leaders and foster greater gender responsiveness in the workplace. On Friday, 29 June 2018, UN staff members had the chance to engage with UN Resident Coordinator a.i. Rachel Odede and Managing Director of PWC Namibia, Nangula Uaandja.

Highlighting the importance of setting goals and establishing networks of supportive people who can help you attain these goals, Odede said, “You need to have a vision or a goal. If you don’t know where you want to go, you won’t be there.”

Uaandja reminded our female staff members that you have to like what you’re doing to be successful. She explained that there are four different circles – your gifts, passions, burdens (things that irritate you that you want to change) and needs and opportunities around you. She said, “Where all these circles meet, that is your purpose and your career”.

UN staff members had a chance to ask Odede and Uaandja more about their career journeys as well as how they overcame challenges, such as gender inequality, in the workplace.

Through the Sustainable Development Golas (SDGs), specifically Goal 5, the UN aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

Poverty, UN Humanitarian work and Urban development at Deutche Hohrere Privat Schule (DHPS)

On 28 June 2018, The United Nations Information Centre, (UNIC) Windhoek  was invitedd to join other stakeholders and technical experts to deliver presentations to grade ten learners at DHPs.  UNIC Windhoek was invited to present on poverty, humanitarian and urban development in Namibia.

The presentation formed part of the school’s annual two-day  programme,  which includes a field visit to the informal settlements in Katutura. The presentation day on day two provides stakeholders to present to young people on their programmes and mandates. Other presenters included the First Lady of Namibia’s “One Economy,” Physically Active Youth (PAY), Hans Seidel Foundation and many more.

 UNIC Windhoek was pleased to be part of this informative educational programme which afforded an opportunity to highlight the Sustainable Development Goals as well.It is the second year that the Centre has participated in this annual event with grade 10 learners.

The presentation outlined current statistics on the poverty rate in Namibia, coupled with direct or rhetorical questions to learners views on poverty; the different forms of poverty, approaches on how Namibia could maximize on natural resources as well as types of humanitarian responses with emphasis on World Food Programme (WFP) and the government’s school feeding programme. Statistics indicate that 5% of the population control 70 % of the wealth, while the poor only have control over 30% thereof. The United Nations Development Programme notes Namibia as having one of the highest levels of Inequality.

Urban development emphasized on the impacts of urban migration and the significance of constructing sustainable cities for the future. According to the International Organization on Migration (IOM) the urban population in Namibia grew by a staggering 49.7% between 2001 and 2011. IOM indicates that Namibia’s rural areas are expected to shrink between 2011 and 2041, while the urban population points toward a trajectory of 43% to 67% in 2041. The overall presentation was penned around the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) concentrating on no Poverty and Sustainable Cities and Communities. The presentation encouraged learners to engage in a brief discourse pertaining the topic to share their thoughts, comments and opinions.


#UN4U Concludes at Suiderhof Primary

The final  instalment of the UN4U educational outreach programme for the 2018 concluded at Suiderhof Primary School, 600 learners were  in attendance  from grades 4 to 7.

On the 27th of June 2018, UNIC Windhoek team presented “how the United Nations works for you.”  The presentation highlighted the history of the United Nations, the different organs of the United Nations and how the specialized agencies, work in order to advance the goals and mandate of the UN. This was followed by a screening of a short video that summarized the entire presentation. The learners were introduced to the 17 Sustainable Development Goals and lay the foundation on how they can contribute to the achievement of the global goals in Namibia.

The success of this programme, extends and strengthens the existing partnership that already exists between the UNIC Windhoek team and Suiderhof Primary School. The team received a warm welcome from the school’s social science teacher Mrs Rene Linno and the principal of the school Mr Myburgh. During the question and answer session. Learners were rewarded with SDG branded bags, lanyards and pens.

At the end of the session, the school principal expressed his gratitude and appreciation on the presentation that was conducted by the UNIC team. The UNIC Windhoek team reached a total of over 1300 learners for the 2018 programme.

#UN4U Continues at Gammams Primary School

One of the primary  roles of the United Nations information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek is to go into the field and educate young people about the work of the United Nations and ensure the understanding of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

Contributing to the development of the second instalment of the UN4U programme the UNIC team visited Gammams Primary School on 22 June 2018 to deliver another insightful  presentation to over 400 learners, detailing how the “UN works for you”. The programme is presented annually as a precursor to the UN Day celebrations that are set to take place on 24 October 2018. The programme includes an overview of the United Nations, its history, UN peacekeeping, UN organs, UN agencies present in Namibia and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

A warm welcome was extended to the team by the learners  and teachers. The presentation included a brief overview of how the UN came about, the role of the General Assembly, the Security Council, and UN peacekeeping missions and how it responds to security threats. Furthermore, programmes and specialised agencies of the UN were also highlighted to showcase the UNs response in different situations e.g. emergencies, disease outbreak, disasters, etc. This was followed by a short video screening segment in order to summarise the history of the United Nations. Continue reading

#UN4U and the Sustainable Development Goals

The UNIC Windhoek Team reached out to Tobias Hainyeko Primary School, situated in the Okuryangava location in Katutura, to carry out the first instalment of this year’s UN4U programme. A presentation was conducted by the UNIC team to a group of over 400 learners.  UN4U is an educational outreach programme which brings UN officials to speak to students at their schools. The programme is aimed at communicating the fundamentals of the United Nations work with a strong focus on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The programme was tailored in a manner that the students should own the SDGs and come up with possible suggestions in achieving it.

The programme highlights the history of the United Nations, the UN flag and what the flag represents; introduction of the United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres; followed by an in-depth explanation of the organs of the United Nations and how they work. The presentation also provided an overview of the various specialised agencies based in Namibia.

The active participation of students was encouraged by reciting all 17 Sustainable Development Goals out loud to emphasize the importance of each goal and what they could do in order to contribute to achieving the goals. In order to make the goals relevant a strong link was shown by the presenters on how the 2030 goals are incorporated into Namibia’s Harambee Prosperity plan and the fifth National Development Plan (NDP5)

The schools Life skills teacher Ms. Ases expressed the schools gratitude on the presentation that was made by the UNIC team. Additionally the learners choose an SDG which resonates with them.  The following gaols received the most attention: No poverty SDG 1, Zero Hunger SDG2, Good Health and Well Being SDG 3 and Quality education SDG4.

Peer statistics training empowers UNIC Windhoek interns

Training is an important part of the graduate internship programme at the United Nations Information Centre (UNIC) Windhoek. These trainings are delivered not only by staff members but interns as well. It is an opportunity for them to share their knowledge in different fields as well as harness their public speaking and presentation skills.

On Friday, 15 June 2018, our international intern Joseph Bohbot provided training to three national  internson capturing, analysing and using statistics. Joseph, a national of France who has a Masters  degree in Geopolitics and currently completing his Masters in Communications holds vast experience with data collection. Joseph updated UNIC Windhoek’s evaluation forms, which are given out all initiatives. UNIC Windhoek is committed to ensuring the satisfaction of participants that attend our events and outreaches, with the content they receive and in the relation to  the United Nations staff. The updated form has streamlined the questions to ensure that they are targeted, strategic and capture the essence of the event.The forms have been used to gauge satistfacation as well as to analyse the impact, success and challenges of the outreaches from the very young audiences to the older audience.

 Capturing the data post event is very important, and Joseph trained his fellow interns about statistics and how these statistics not only allow us to better understand the impression made on our target audiences but also about how the information is used to improve and grow programmes. Data analysis is an integral component of understanding the expectations of the Namibian society in terms of development and receiving feedback at the grass-root level strengthens programming.

The UNIC Windhoek graduate internship programme aims to harness the skills of interns to build capacity and transfer knowledge among peers. Continuous learning is an integral part of the internship, and interns both, local and international, use their expertise to build their strengths as a team, fostering a sense of camaraderie and partnership.


Tackling our planet’s problems from outer space

In the sixty years since the space age began with the launch of Sputnik-1, the first artificial satellite, humankind has achieved remarkable progress in the exploration and use of outer space. This would not have been possible without international cooperation.

With more and more countries, organizations and companies accessing space and its economic and societal benefits, international cooperation to ensure the safe, secure and sustainable use of outer space now and in the future is more crucial today than ever before. That is why diplomatic efforts at the United Nations to drive forward such cooperation are so vital.

From 18 to 21 June, the world will gather in Vienna for UNISPACE+50, the first United Nations global space summit of the twenty-first century, organized by the United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs (UNOOSA). This will be only the fourth time in history that government representatives join heads of space agencies, policy-makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders at the United Nations on a large scale. Our top priority will be to look for ways to use space to improve lives around the world and protect our planet.

A lot has changed since the first UNISPACE conference was held in 1968. Today, space is big business. Last year the global space sector was estimated to be worth USD $330 billion. Access to space is also growing rapidly. Over 70 United Nations Member States now have established government space agencies. This is complemented by an ever-increasing number of private companies and industry. In 2017, a year in which the world placed over 450 new satellites – a record number – in orbit, commercial entities conducted just under half of all launches. Continue reading

Blue Crane takes action to beat plastic pollution

World Environment Day calls on all of us to be responsible in our conduct in the environment. The onus rests not only on large manufacturing corporations but on small and medium enterprises, communities and most importantly, individuals.

5 June is celebrated as World Environment Day in more than 100 countries across the world, recognising the need to come together to combat one of the great environmental challenges of our time, ‘beating plastic pollution’. By making changes in our everyday lives, we can all reduce the heavy burden of plastic pollution on our natural environment, our wildlife and our own health. While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences.

In Namibia, Blue Crane Safaris Namibia, a tour operator, is contributing to the preservation of the environment. Senior tour consultant and owner, Derek Jacobs explains, “We are a tour operator in Namibia running our tours in a responsible way”.

As the Blue Crane Safaris tour guides take their guests around the beautiful Namibian landscape, they ensure that they keep Namibia clean. They also educate their guests and local Namibians on the importance of reducing plastic usage as well as not littering. Whether out on tour or in the bounds of the city, this remains top of mind for the team.

“We have recently replaced the use of plastic bottles with Blue Crane Safari Aluminium water bottles which our clients receive when they go on tour with us. We refill the bottles for our clients from a water tank installed on each car”, says Derek.

One of the many ways to ‘beat plastic pollution’ is by utilising reusable containers such as the ones Blue Crane have introduced. The result – Blue Crane Safaris is removing approximately 50 plastic bottles per person on a given tour. This is a lot of plastic which will not end up in landfills or in the environment.

This is merely a first step for the tour operator who believes that every little bit will make an impact in the long run. Derek continues, “I believe that educating people on the dangers and risks that plastic and other types of litter pose to the environment is imperative at all levels in society, at work, at school, in the home and at church”. Continue reading

Model UN delegates learn how to walk in the shoes of a diplomat

In preparation for upcoming  Model United Nations Namibia (MUNNAM) High School Conference 2018 set to take place in September, UNIC Windhoek held a two-day training sessions, 30-31 May to familiarize selected delegates on the the UN General Assembly procedures.

The mock sessions gave delegates an opportunity to interact with the facilitators for guidance on how to write position papers and write resolutions during the actual conference. Delegates from schools outside Windhoek such as Coastal High, Reverend Juuso Shikongo Secondary, Etosha Secondary, Rehoboth High School as well as Oshikoto Secondary have been selected to participate in this year’s conference.  Schools from the Khomas region include: DHPS,  Windhoek High, Windhoek Gymnasium, Academia High, David Bezuidenhoud, Immanuel Shifidi, Delta Secondary, Hochland High and St. Paul’s College.

This being the 7th simulation for Model UN, the National Information Officer, Ms Anthea Basson said in her welcome remarks at the training, “the conference it is a great opportunity to learn new things and meet new people.” She further encouraged the delegates to use their time well and apply themselves to report on the 2018 topics.

The September Conference will focus on the  Sustainable development Goals (SDGs).. Thus the training sessions ensure delegates are prepare appropriately to step into their respective  leadership roles.

The training sessions ended with trivial “bragging rights” to anticipate which school would scoop the award for  “best school”, it also allowed the delegates to mingle and find their co- partner as per the assigned member states.

First World Bicycle Day: PAY Namibia & Cycling

World Bicycle day acknowledges the uniqueness, sustainability and the versatility of the bicycle, which has been in use for 2 centuries. The bicycle is seen to be a fit, sustainable and environmentally friendly mode of transportation that fosters environmental presidency and health. [1]

The bicycle as a means of transportation has transcended over 2 centuries and still provides the same amount of utility as it did 2 centuries ago. The use of the bicycle has managed to ensure sustainable mobility for all people. It has for centuries ensured that people who walk long distances have access to a mode of transportation that allows them to conduct their duties in a fast and timely manner. The dedication by the UN, to recognise a day in celebration of the bicycle recognizes the longevity and equalizer the cycling tool has been to some communities.

On the 12th of April 2018 the United Nations general assembly agreed to declare 3 June as world bicycle day. The first world bicycle day was celebrated for the first time on 3 June 2018. Recognising the importance of the bicycle as a sustainable transportation tool that is directly aligned to the attainment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Initiatives were proposed to the General assembly to organise bicycle rides on national and local levels as a means to promote physical and mental health and well being in our societies.

In Namibia, the Physically Active Youth (PAY) is a civil society organisation (CSO) that provides after school quality educational services to children that reside in the Katutura Township. The organisation takes in approximately one hundred learners on an annual basis.PAY is well known for it’s after school academic support to the Namibian child, it includes  tutoring, overseeing homework followed by a structured sports programme. Physical education is a primary role of the organisation. PAY Namibia offers a variety of sporting choices of which cycling is one.  PAY emphasis  three main goals with regards to sport, which are:

  1. ‘To use sport as a tool to keep the youth engaged and off the streets’.
  2. ‘To integrate sport and life skills education in order to promote healthy lifestyle behaviours’
  3. ‘To develop the sport through breeding young talents and bringing opportunities to play for national teams and offer professional development opportunities’[2]

PAY’s cycling team is performing very well in the local mountain bike events happening in Namibia. One of the prestigious mountain bike events which the team have set their eyes on is the internationally recognised Nedbank Desert Dash, a premium cycling event attracting broad participation locally and internationally. The 24 hour mountain bike challenge is 369km ride from Windhoek to Swakopmund, riding through the Namib Desert. PAY’s cycling team would like to participate in this cycling event offering the youngsters the opportunity to compete alongside professional and amateur cyclists from around the world.  The PAY cycling team  are thus seeking assistance from individuals organisations and well-wishers who are able to donate in kind to enable the organisation to purchase additional bicycles for the upcoming Nedbank Desert Dash.

The bicycle is not just a mere transportation tool, through organisations such as PAY, the bicycle is a tool that is empowering young people to become physically fit and active and pursue a sport code which would have been inaccessible to them before. Cycling is helping to transform the lives of the young people at PAY, opening opportunities which previously did not exist, This is the power a bicycle has, when its potential to transform and change lives is harnessed as a tool to empower youth. Continue reading