By Frederick Philander WINDHOEK A former Cabinet Minister will deliver the keynote address on Thursday at a passing-out parade of a Leadership Training Programme ceremony for some 30 NGOs and civil society organizations. Former minister of Correctional Services, Herman Andimba Toivo ya Toivo, will speak at the occasion, it was announced in a press release by the Finnish Embassy in Windhoek. “The embassy of Finland in Windhoek, through its Fund for Local Cooperation, has built a valuable partnership with some 30 NGOs and institutions over time. The objective of the fund is to complement other Finnish development efforts with the overall aim of alleviating widespread poverty in Namibia,” said the release by the embassy’s project officer, Elise Heikkinen. According to Heikkinen, special attention is given to initiatives which strengthen civil society development by enhancing social equality, gender equality, open civil society participation and human rights. “Funds are also directed at projects which strengthen cultural identities and projects targeted at persons with disabilities and their organizations. Additionally, activities that aim at strengthening and diversifying the relations between Finnish and Namibian organizations are being supported,” she said in the notice. Heikkinen stated that her embassy has recognized that the importance to become financially sustainable and increasingly independent from international donors is rising on the strategic-thinking agenda of many civil society organizations. “Therefore, a four-module Leadership Training Programme was offered to all our partner organizations during the period 14 July to 2 September this year in order for such bodies to strengthen their needed organizational capacities. During the training, a unique networking opportunity was realized by many, and this has resulted in a new kind of bond and understanding among some of the country’s leading institutions,” Heikkenin said of the programme, which was attended by 20 of the Finnish Embassy’s partner organizations. Topics covered by the training programme included: leadership and presentation skills, strategic thinking and participatory planning, human resources development and financial management, governance and fund-raising. Participants will receive certificates of attendance at the official residence of the Finnish Embassy in Klein Windhoek on Thursday.