The European Union (EU) and the Konrad Adenauer Foundation (KAS) have joined forces to fund and launch a new project aimed at empowering civil society organisations (CSOs), women, youth and marginalised communities in Namibia.
The project, ‘Empowering CSOs, Women, Youth, and Marginalised Communities as Equal Partners in Democracy’ was launched in Windhoek yesterday.
According to EU ambassador in Namibia Ana-Beatriz Martins, the project has received total funding of approximately N$15 million and will be co-implemented by KAS and the Women’s Action for Development over the next three years.
Martins said building on previous successes, the project will focus its efforts on the //Kharas, Kunene and Erongo regions, supporting CSOs working to combat gender inequality, youth unemployment and the challenges faced by marginalised communities.
“The overall aim of the project is to help these CSOs strengthen their capacities and advocacy activities, so as to strive for sustainability and impactful community change, in line with Namibia’s Vision 2030,” said Martins.
Martins added that while Namibia has made significant strides in upholding civil rights and promoting gender equality since independence, significant challenges remain.
“Since independence, Namibia has demonstrated a strong commitment to human rights and gender equity.
This is reflected in various laws and policies that address women’s equality and protection, as well as in the National Plan of Action on Gender-Based Violence for 2019-2023, which have specific and measurable goals,” said Martins.
However, she said there is a need for stronger enforcement mechanisms.
“Several factors stand in the way of Namibia’s ambition to make genuine progress: patriarchal structures, harmful gender practices and extremely high levels of gender-based violence.
Societal structures continue to limit women’s access to land, justice, finance, civic participation and decision-making at household and community levels,” said Martins.
Speaking at the event, project manager Charlemaine Husselmann said the project has already received more interest and applications than the 30 organisations that were initially targeted.
Husselmann said, equipping these organisations with the necessary skills and resources, the project aims to foster a more inclusive and participatory democracy in Namibia, where all citizens, regardless of gender, background or age, have a say in shaping their future.
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