By William J. Mbangula OSHAKATI The Oshana Regional Council (ORC) will this month record two major concepts in its development efforts. Through its Directorate of Planning and Development Services it is to launch the concepts of Participatory Democracy and Public Participation (PDPP), and the Rural Poverty Reduction Programme (RPRP). The concepts will be launched with the assistance of the National Planning Commission (NPC) in conjunction with a consortium of companies (consulting), namely: Namibia Development Trust (NDT), Nara Training Centre, and the Centre for Public Participation in South Africa (CPPSA). According to the Director of Planning and Development Services Boas Munalye at the Oshana Regional Council, an information session of the RPRP was conducted last month for the Regional Development Coordination Committee (RDCC), the Regional Food Security and Nutrition Technical Committee, chief administrators for settlements areas and constituency offices in preparation for the actual launching. “As for the RPRP event our preparation has to be viewed under the participatory regional development planning perspective which is the hallmark for integrated development. In addition to the regional planners within the regional offices of the line ministries and the regional and town planners in the councils, we engaged other stakeholders such as secretaries of constituencies development committees and the chief administrators of settlements and constituency offices in the participatory regional development planning system,” said Munalye. As from 24 – 28 April, the RPRP participants will be trained in Project Profile Formulation, which will deal with social and economic spheres. Some of the profiles will be on the social and economic spheres of human life that deal with poverty reduction and employment creation. “Poverty is really a nagging situational phenomenon that is persistent in our midst. We should always be mindful about the result of the 1993 Household and Income Expenditure Survey which informed us that the richest 7 000 individual Namibians spend as much as the poorest 800 000 Namibians combined,” Munalye noted. The inception of the RPRP will introduce five components of the programme and will put emphasis on the fifth component, namely the Decentralized Demand Driven Actions (Dada’s) and will also elaborate on who is who in the entire programme that will run for three years (2006-2008). Today the concept of Participatory Democracy and Public Participation would be launched. “The opportunities for the public to participate in community decisions abound, and these are reflected by a number of diverse regional and local committees that work hand in hand with administrative agencies in the process of both socio-economic development planning, service delivery and management of the public sector.” Munalye believes that real political concerns and matters of interest raised now and then by ordinary men and women through the radio call-in shows “Open Line”, “National Chat Show” or “Talk of the Nation”, and newspapers are real-world indicators that there is a sound and substantial supply of participatory democracy in Namibia.
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