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Youth help to alleviate gender violence

Primary schools can also make a difference. Learners from Nossobville Primary School standing proudly in front of the billboard they drew for the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) Trust Social Engagement against gender violence. Nossobville took the third place with their lively, vibrant creation.

The Omaheke Region has seen its fair share of Gender Violence, and reports from the Women and Child Protection Unit in Gobabis has confirmed this. Therefore, to tackle this problem, the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) Trust in collaboration with the Civil Society Foundation of Namibia and the European Union, embarked on a campaign to sensitize the younger generation. Twelve schools were invited during last year to compete for the first-ever OYO Social Engagement Trophy.

The competition is based on the message-in-art concept. The participating schools had to come up with a series of two billboards with powerful messages that would encourage learners and their parents to sign commitment forms to commit themselves to end gender violence in their region. Izak Buys Junior Secondary School came out the winners. As a school they took a strong stand in the fight against gender violence in their region, and the conviction of their message was powerfully reflected in their billboards. The runner-up was Gustav Kandji Secondary School while the third place went to Nossobville Primary School. Dr Phillipe Talavera, the Director of OYO, said it was fascinating to see the commitment and dedication of both schools and learners. “They really took on the issue seriously, and what touched me the most was that in many schools, boys actually took part in the painting competition.” He added that it is of utmost importance to engage boys in such work and to encourage them not to become the perpetrators of violence. “The Omaheke Region youth are definitively leading by example,” he concluded. OYO will build on the success of this project in 2015 by expanding it to the Erongo Region. This year the competing schools will be ask to portrays a series of life mottos: “I will not abuse the opposite sex verbally or physically, “I will respect other peoples bodies, “I promise not to be involved in any abusive relationship, “I will not deny others their gender rights, “I will report any case of violence to the police and “I promise to be an independent woman who will not depend on a man.

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