Guest Contributor | Feb 27, 2024 | 0
16 Days of Activism against gender violence launched
The Minister of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare, Hon Doreen Sioka, recently announced the official launch of the commemoration of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence (GBV), which marks a significant international period dedicated to advocating for an end to violence against women and children.
The international campaign begins on 25 November, the International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women, and runs until 10 December, International Human Rights Day. This year, the United Nations observes 16 Days under the theme, “Unite! Invest to prevent violence against women & girls.”
Sioka underscored the need to invest in the prevention of violence against women and girls during the inaugural ceremony of the commemoration of 16 days against GBV last Friday at Mariental in the Hardap region.
“Namibia’s GBV prevalence rate is 33%, driven by unequal power relations, poverty, unemployment, substance abuse, and negative cultural practices. The most common forms of GBV in Namibia include domestic violence and sexual abuse. In 2022, 5356 GBV-related cases were recorded, with 1378 rape cases,” she noted, adding that the theme urges all sectors, including government, civil society, churches, traditional authorities, development partners, and private sectors, to invest in preventing and ending violence against women and girls.
Moreover, Sioka also emphasized that violence against women and girls is a significant human rights violation, disrupting peace, contributing to high healthcare, education, and justice costs, and denying women opportunities for community development.
Several events are planned by members of the national and regional GBV and Human Rights clusters for the 16 days of activism against GBV, including the official launch of the commemoration of 16 days of activism on GBV in all 13 regions by Governors on behalf of the Minister of Gender Equality.
Meanwhile, other planned events include radio talk shows and discussions, engagement with traditional and church leaders, and a men’s conference on 1 December in Hardap and Oshana regions, respectively. “Human Rights Day will also be observed on 10 December in Nkurenkuru, Kavango West region.”
She further affirmed that promoting peace and strengthening GBV watch movements are crucial for effective fighting. The National GBV toll-free numbers are 10111 and 106.
According to the minister, the government allocates funds through the Ministry of Gender Equality to prevent violence against women and girls. It coordinates the implementation of the National Gender Policy and two plans of action, with support from development partners, civil society, churches, and the private sector, she said.
“Furthermore, the A Call to ACTION plan, strengthening the national, regional, and constituency GBV and Human Rights cluster, and strengthening the national media campaign are major GBV prevention strategies. The government and stakeholders also developed training manuals for key service providers and a male engagement programme,” she pointed out.
“I urge all citizens to work together to protect our children as they are tomorrow’s future. In addition to sexual abuse of children, there have been numerous reports of violence between intimate partners, which ends in murder and sometimes followed by suicide of the perpetrator. This is an indication that the human cost of violence against women and girls is immeasurable.”