Conquering Poverty Lies in One’s Own Hands – WAD

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By Petronella Sibeene RUNDU The current unemployment situation in the country can only be solved if jobless Namibians embrace the power of group work, ingenuity and hard work. So said the Women’s Action for Development (WAD) Executive Director Veronica de Klerk who addressed hundreds of Kavango residents at the first ever Kavango-WAD field day on Monday. The unemployment rate in the country stands at approximately 36 percent and most people depend on government handouts to fight the problem. As a community developer for 12 years, De Klerk says unemployed people in the country should realize that the solution to fighting poverty lies “at the end of their own arms”. She advised: “The secret lies within your own resources, such as a spirit of enterprise; dedication to beat poverty, the power of group work and a strong belief in your God-given talents, ingenuity and hard work.” Considering that poverty can be fought through sheer hard work and the will to empower oneself, WAD urged the unemployed who have a desire to overcome the fuelling problem of poverty to approach the organization for assistance in acquiring skills necessary to beat poverty. Since its establishment in 1994, the organization has empowered thousands of people, specifically the rural poor. In the Hardap Region, WAD has trained 2 300 unemployed people in computer literacy and 65 % of these are currently in job placements. De Klerk also revealed that six semi-literate women received training from the organization and today run a mosquito net production project. They presently have a saving of N$84 000.00. Another achievement made in the Omaheke Region involves four women presently running a butchery project. Facilitated by WAD, they fully repaid their loan of N$97 000 and are today the proud owners of the butchery. Like any other fully-fledged businesswomen, they are self-employed. On Monday, an additional 80 students from the Kavango received certificates after undergoing intensive training in computer literacy, catering and nutrition, effective project management, basic book-keeping, Marula jam and juice production, home based care, saving clubs and household business. The graduates further received training on how to use the female condom femidom. “In those regions where WAD is operational, changes are clearly visible among the many people. These are merely some of the successful projects which are possible, if we put our minds to making a success in life”, she said. The executive director also urged the jobless to realize that their preparation for success goes hand-in-hand with a commitment to perseverance. De Klerk used the same platform to encourage Kavango residents especially the youth to consider exploiting opportunities such as fruit and vegetable production, especially that the region is endowed with an abundance of water resources, ample rains and arable land. She added, “The Kavango and Caprivi have the potential of becoming the breadbasket of Namibia.” According to De Klerk, it is depressing that 16 years after the country’s independence, Namibia still relies on South Africa for vegetables, fruit, cheese, butter and many other commodities. She warned that if Namibians are slow in making use of what is available, foreigners will snatch the opportunities. De Klerk also spoke out strongly against the main liquor company suppliers in the country who according to her have been supplying huge amounts of alcohol to unlicensed shebeens. She called on the Government to institute an investigation into the origins of the vast amounts of liquor confiscated, adding that relevant authorities should institute high fines on companies that supply liquor.

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