NDT Intensifies Battle against Poverty

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By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK The Namibia Development Trust (NDT) will next month intensify activities aimed at promoting the significance of quality public service in tackling disease, illiteracy, poverty and hunger. NDT is a civil society organization that spearheads the anti-poverty campaign in Namibia in line with the commitments made by governments towards the Millennium Development Goals (MDG) and the Global Call to Action Against Poverty (GCAP) in 2000. Campaign Coordinator Theo Uvanga said by mid-September 2006, the organization would launch a month-long mobilization campaign, building up to a climax on a global white band day scheduled for October 2006. White band day is a global awareness campaign when millions of people wear a white band on specific days to promote the importance of public services in tackling most social and economic problems such as disease, poverty and illiteracy, among others. “The white band will remain our symbol and expression of solidarity against poverty, we want the white band to become the globally recognized symbol of the fight against poverty,” said Uvanga. The campaign also ensures that leaders are held to their promises on poverty eradication. According to Uvanga, Namibia’s passion for the MDG’s stems from the country’s involvement in presiding over the architects that crafted the said commitment in 2000 where the country served as the President of the United Nations General Assembly during the Millennium Summit in New York. By last year, it was debatable whether during the time under the review (2000 to 2005), Namibia, just as other developing countries, had managed to make any significant inroads in producing desirable outputs hence the need for society to reflect on the shortcomings and come up with strategies to counter the challenges distorting the focus of Government in meeting the minimum standards set by 2015. It is said that 40 per cent of Namibians live below the income poverty line, 79 per cent of rural households do not have proper sanitation, 78 per cent of rural households have no access to electricity, 31 percent of the urban population is unemployed, almost 80 per cent of the rural population and 40 per cent of the urban population have no access to banking services while 20 per cent of the rural population do not have access to safe drinking water, among others. Based on that, Uvanga encourages Namibians to be vocal and actively get involved in this campaign whose focus is to advance the pro-poor status. The campaign will be launched with high-profile awareness raising street action and the climax will see the national coalition handing in its campaign communication to leaders. Since the launch of a national campaign in March 2005, the coalition has managed to give a voice to poor people in Namibia and raise awareness on poverty issues. Recently, the coalition nominated GCAP Ambassadors in Namibia to soon be announced. The nominated two will during the one-month campaign period deliver key GCAP demands and messages on various platforms. Despite all the efforts to convince people that indeed poverty can be made history if the masses were to join hands and add their voices to the campaign, funding remains one of the major challenges facing the coalition.