Government has many fragmented policies – Gawanas

Special Advisor of the Ministry of Poverty Eradication, Advocate Bience Gawanas said that different government policies are at odds with each other and fragmented to effectively address poverty.
“Therefore, we need a social policy framework for Namibia to create a micro policy, social environment where social policies speak to one another in a more coordinated and coherent manner,” said Gawanas.
Gawanas, who is also the former Commissioner of Social Affairs of the African Commission of the African Union (AU) spoke at the official launch of a book titled: Social Protection in Namibia- a civil society perspective, written by human rights activist, Uhuru Dempers.
The book is a reader friendly resource for civil society. It’s part of a joint venture between NANGOF Trust and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES).
According to Gawanas, the problem is that there are currently “very many fragmented policies,” within the government. “If you look at the Ministry of Health, they talk about reducing maternal mortality while the Ministry of Education is talking about free education. It is disjointed on all sides,” she explained.
“Once you focus on reducing maternal mortality you have to address poverty by making healthcare accessible to pregnant women by making healthcare free,” she said adding that the lack of integrated policies creates a situation where various ministries work in conflict with each other. She suggests that the only way to overcome this is by advocating for a stronger social policy framework.
She said, because current policies in the various ministries are fragmented, the Ministry of Health does not know, for example what the Ministry of Poverty Eradication does about the same issue of poverty eradication, adding that if for example one puts emphasis on maternal mortality, they first have to find out who are those women who are dying.
Gawanas said the Ministry of Poverty Eradication is ready to work with civil society organisations and whatever they will do together they will engage as true partners to ensure that social protection issues become prominent in national discourse through regular steering committee meetings.
She explained that the ultimate goal of the government and its partners is to provide social protection by ensuring that relevant messages are filtered down to the families who are most vulnerable and often affected.

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