By William J. Mbangula Helao Nafidi The First Lady Penehupifo Pohamba commended the Women Action for Development (WAD) for its continuous interventions in training community members in various fields of development. She specifically lauded the Managing Director of WAD, Veronica de Klerk, for her “tireless efforts” aimed at addressing the plight of the rural people. “I believe education is the key to a bright future for our country both socially and economically. Over the years, the Government has made considerable investment in the education sector in order to address poverty, unemployment, illiteracy and lack of access to social amenities. This is reflected by the Government’s allocation of resources to education as a priority area in the development of our people.” The First Lady was speaking here last week at the graduation ceremony of 80 rural people of whom the majority were women. They were trained in the fields of computer literacy, catering, nutrition, marula jam and juice production, home based care and savings clubs. The training was facilitated by WAD with funding provided by the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. Pohamba urged the new graduates to spread and utilize the knowledge and skills acquired for the benefit of the country. On the HIVAids pandemic, she said despite Namibia’s relatively small population, the country ranks among those with the highest infection rates in the world. “I am therefore pleased to learn that all the students to be trained under WAD programmes are also going to be trained in the use of condoms as well as other measures aimed at preventing the spread of HIVAIDS.” Speaking at WAD’s field day, Managing Director De Klerk told the gathering that the event was being held in Ohangwena region for the first time. WAD, which has about 20 000 members throughout the country, has been active in the Omusati region where it has various programmes at Omahenene run by women. They are running, among others, a mosquito net production project after receiving training, and kick-started it with assistance from WAD. Today they are self-employed and have so far saved N$80 000. “WAD is not an organisation to dish out handouts and large sums of money, because that will not solve your poverty problems. Poverty is beaten through sheer hard work and the will to empower yourself. Empowerment in turn happens through training, but it all starts with a genuine change of heart to once and for all shake off the shackles of poverty.” According to De Klerk, it is the policy of her organisation to keep the people right in the middle of their own upliftment. This can be achieved through discovering of their own potential and to regain their pride of human dignity, which is usually eaten away by poverty. ” We want you to feel proud at the end of the day about the manner in which you have lifted yourself up by your own shoe strings – right out of the clutches of misery,” said De Klerk. The occasion at Helao Nafidi was arranged by WAD as a way to foster positive interaction between the community and decision-makers. It brought together community members, the management of various institutions, education officials, health authorities, traditional leaders and spiritual leaders to exchange views on progress made with regard to the implementation of development projects undertaken as well as to explore new initiatives.
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