Rural development programmes under review in Zambezi

KATIMA MULILO: A five-day workshop reviewing the implementation progress of rural development programmes under the Ministry of Rural and Urban Development for the 2014/2015 financial year, is currently underway here at Zambezi Region.

The workshop which kicked off on 1 June, is set to conclude with the outline work plans for this current financial year, with participants also sharing information on the challenges affecting rural development operations in the country.

The reviewing of the programmes follows the recent creation of ministry’s Annual Plan which is concurrent with strategies for an enhanced budget execution, improved service delivery, land provision and poverty reduction.

Speaking at the official opening of the workshop on Monday, Rural and Urban Development Minister Sophia Shaningwa said the workshop is organized with the view of taking stock of progress in the ministry’s activities, with the aim of making positive impact on rural development in various regions, together as a team.

“It is my hope and trust that this review workshop will be a resounding success, which will generate a list of key national rural development priorities that are inclusive in nature, in the spirit that no region or no one should be left out, thus enabling our rural communities to move forward together as one nation eradicating poverty,” Shaningwa said.

According to Shaningwa, there is serious need for Government and its development partners to continue to provide basic and essential services such as potable water, health, education, sanitary services, access to markets and other services to the Namibian people living in rural areas.

“These will in turn address urbanization and enable the rural dwellers to enjoy similar benefits as their urban counterparts and lift them out of poverty,” said Shaningwa.

She added that the introduction of One Region One Initiative, the Micro-Finance, Food or Cash for Work and Rural Employment programmes must be seen as should be seen as commanding development strategies aimed to fully harness the economic potentials of regions, for job creation and faster poverty reduction.

“I do believe that with our present realities, challenges and priorities, Regional Councils have a critical role to play in entrepreneurial development in order to create a Namibia in which equitable opportunities, transparency, accountability, sustainable environmental management and responsive growth prevails.

“As a coordinating ministry, we must always solicit ideas from our rural communities, and render them technical advice and support to successfully implement their noble ideas, to address their needs.” She said.

Shaningwa also urged the participants to look into fully implementing the Electronic Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting System launched in 2014.

The systems ensures the checks and balances of rural development processes, keep track of the process and provide necessary feedback to inform proper planning, budgeting, policy setting and enhanced coordination of the ministry’s programmes and projects.

“Therefore, it is imperative that we all fully implement this electronic monitoring system. It should be noted that, not only accountability reports will be considered when transferring money to the Regional Councils, but the use of the Electronic Monitoring and Evaluation Reporting System shall also be considered as a precondition to receiving rural development funds.

“If there are capacity challenges, the Ministry stands ready to assist any Regional Council in order to ensure a smooth and effective implementation of this system. It is my firm hope that Regional Councils will heed to this call at a faster pace to enable us to coordinate our programmes fully.” Shaningwa said.