Wad Spearheads 5050 Gender Agenda

The Executive Director of the Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Veronica de Klerk, has urged government to amend the current electoral laws to compel all political parties to adhere to a 5050 gender representation on their party lists.

She said if political party lists are required by law to have a 5050 gender representation it would speed up attainment of the targets of the National Gender Policy and Millennium Development Goals. De Klerk was speaking during a courtesy call at State House on Tuesday.

De Klerk further told President Hifikepunye Pohamba: “Your stance on women’s aancement in society, and more especially your firm stance on the 5050 percent representation of women at all levels of the ruling party, are highly appreciated and has been a great source of encouragement to all women.”

Briefing Pohamba on WAD’s activities, she also invited the first couple to WAD’s 20th anniversary celebrations in July.

De Klerk said the organisation had over the past 20 years trained over 50 000 unemployed women, men and youth to acquire various skills at no fee.

She said valued financial support came from various donors, such as its main donor for the past 20 years, the Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung from Germany, as well as the European Union, the Government of Spain, the Government of Sweden and local partners, such as Biest Namibia, the Old Mutual Group of Companies, and other valued donors to help Namibians establish various income-generating ventures.

De Klerk said the training was done with great dedication for people to find jobs in the labour market, and to impart knowledge on the contents of gender-related laws for women and men to know their rights within those laws. “However, the organisation remains highly concerned about the high unemployment rates among women and youth … which currently stand at 43 percent and 48 percent respectively. We are further concerned that our national unemployment figure has increased by 2 percent from 27.4 percent to 29.4 percent,” she said.

She said given the high unemployment figure for the youth, and given the fact that WAD’s training workshops remain oversubscribed, the organisation was concerned that vocational training subjects are currently not offered to learners who have an aptitude for practical courses in secondary schools. “It is WAD’s view that if learners are categorized in theoretical and practical subjects from the start at schools, learners will at least leave high school with a basic skill to secure a job, and at the same time the school results will no doubt improve dramatically, since learners would have been placed in the study direction for which they have an aptitude,” she stressed.

She said WAD was further concerned that civil society organizations were not being requested by line ministries, regional councils and local authorities to assist in rolling out their numerous development programmes across the country. “Needless to say, if NGOs which are not plagued by bureaucracy were to be given an opportunity to assist ministries to roll out their development programmes, it will give ger impetus to government’s efforts to reduce poverty and unemployment in the country and to avoid monies, which were meant for development programmes for poor communities, to be returned to the state coffers, unused,” she told Pohamba. She said WAD was willing and able to assist in this regard.

Source : New Era