WAD grows and grows
Women’s Action for Development (WAD), a local NGO started by the indefatigable Veronica de Klerk, has reached more than 50,000 people who have subsequently become members of WAD carrying forward the drastic efforts to reach less privileged women, young people and the poorest of the poor across the 13 regions of Namibia.
Sketching their 21-year history of commitment, the WAD Executive Director who succeeded de Klerk, Salatiel Shinedima said WAD is a Self-Help organisation which follows a two-pronged programme based on the socio-economic and socio-political empowerment of rural women and men.
“Various training centres were established and promoted the concept of developing women and men to their fullest potential to provide them with skills, through training, with the view to assist them to start their own small businesses and to lead them towards self-reliance” he said.
“The Social economic training programmes include vocational basic training skills, office administration, computer literacy, tourism, needle work and dehydration of fruits and vegetables. The social political training programmes include civic education; paralegal training; contents of gender-related laws; anti-corruption awareness; and Gender Violence.”
The organisation which has mainly been sponsored by the Konrad Adenauer Foundation since its establishment is operational in all 13 regions of the country. Other key donors that are presently working with WAD on the empowerment of rural communities include the European Union; the Spanish Government, the American Ambassador’s Self-Help Program; as well as the organisation’s Black Economic Empowerment partners, Old Mutual Namibia; Nedbank Namibia; Mutual and Federal Namibia and Bidvest Namibia.
Shinedima also spoke about the relevance of WAD 21 years later stating that they also help high school drop-outs which is a major contributor to unemployment. “WAD pushes these young people to go for training to decrease the unemployment rate that currently stands at 28.10 % havingdecreased from 37.6% in 2008” he said.
The organisation will remain relevant until there is a further decrease in unemployment, gender equality and when poverty is no longer an issue said Shinedima.
However WAD is concerned with the slow pace of industrialisation, he said, adding that it may hamper the national vision of the country becoming an industrialised country by the year 2030 Shinedima said “Unless we revisit our industrialisation policy and look at how the process can be sped up through research and by improving electricity generation, Namibia will not attract the investment it needs. “We have to see if we have enough energy and we have to look at our water policy otherwise foreign investors will not be attracted.”
Anther concern he raised is the dependence on imports even for the most basic needs. Shinedima said “The more we import products the more we are creating jobs for other countries instead at looking at ways that we may start producing our own products that will not only create employment but also keep the currency in the county”.