Namibians should push for a 50/50 gender balance in parliament in November elections: Colleen Lowe Morna

WINDHOEK: Namibians should push for a 50/50 gender balance in parliament in the November 2014 elections to reach the 2015 target for the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development.

This was the call of the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Gender Links, Colleen Lowe Morna during the launch of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) Gender Protocol 2014 Barometer yesterday.

With less than one year to go until the 2015 landmark year for the SADC region to have reached gender parity in all areas of decision-making, no country has reached that 50 per cent target of women’s representation in parliament, Cabinet or local government.

She cautioned that if not putting efforts now in place for the upcoming elections, Namibia would go backwards like South Africa, which showed a drop in women’s representation in parliament in the May 2014 elections,” she cautioned.

Gender Links co-ordinates the work of the Southern African Gender Protocol Alliance, which produces a barometer each year since 2009 in assessing progress in the countdown to 2015.

SADC Heads of State and Government signed and adopted the SADC Protocol on Gender and Development in August 2008.

The protocol clearly speaks to issues of constitutional and legal rights, governance, education and training, productive resources and employment, gender-based violence, HIV/AIDS and conflict resolution.

WINDHOEK; The Tobias Hainyeko Constituency yesterday handed over business equipment worth N.dollars 155 000 to 18 small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in that constituency.

The projects include barbershops, hair salons, “kapana” (roasted meat) vending, as well as sewing and bricklaying businesses.

Helena Ithana, a student at the Institute of Open Learning, thanked the government on behalf of her mother who received wheat flour, sugar and cooking oil used to make fat cakes as part of her kapana business.

Mariam Mberirua, the chief community liaison officer in the Khomas Regional Council, noted that projects will be monitored on a monthly basis by council officers.

If the projects were not satisfactorily viable, the government has the mandate to dispossess the beneficiaries off the materials and hand it to other productive members of the constituency.

The equipment handover is a joint venture between the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare and the Khomas Regional Council in order to alleviate poverty and reduce unemployment by supporting SMEs annually with materials to sustain their businesses.