By Petronella Sibeene WINDHOEK Thousands of Namibians are expected to join the rest of the world in setting the first ever Guinness World Record in the biggest mass mobilization against poverty. The event will take place next month at the Sam Nujoma Stadium in Katutura. The Global Call Against Poverty (GCAP) comes after the world leaders in 2000 pledged to eradicate poverty by the year 2015. A minimum of 10 000 people are expected to physically ‘Stand Up Against Poverty’ to help set this record. Every person counts! As the world gears for the main day on October 17, about 40 GCAP ambassadors and media practitioners from Southern African countries met at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe last week to share information on events planned for the GCAP Global Awareness Month within different Southern African countries.ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â Namibian campaign coordinator from the Namibia Development Trust, Theo Uvanga, in an interview with New Era said that the main aim of the gathering was to discuss how best partners in the campaign could work together to ensure that leaders are held accountable to the promises made at the United Nations Millennium Summit in New York in 2000. During the past five years, efforts to tackle poverty and deliver sustainable development have been made at a slow pace by most governments, with global statistics showing that about 50 000 people die every day due to poverty-related illnesses. In addition, 10 million children lose their lives to hunger and preventable diseases and over one billion people live on less than one U$ dollar a day. To be held under the theme ‘Stand Up Against Poverty – Together for Equality’, the three days of mass campaigns will concentrate on the millennium development goals and how each country has performed so far in meeting these challenges. During the meeting at Victoria Falls, participants lamented that despite the pledge by world leaders, issues pertaining to education, health and gender, among others, remain unattended to in most Southern African countries. By last year in Namibia, it was debatable whether during the time under review (2000 to 2005) Namibia 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 for 2015. In Namibia, 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. Uvanga says the planned Stand Up Poverty Barbeque at the Sam Nujoma Stadium, Katutura on Saturday October 14 will allow people to buy goodies such as drinks, a roll and a T-shirt. Entertainment will also form part of the programme. People are expected to pay a dollar at the entrance and for each item purchased. Funds collected will be channelled towards poverty related activities. Every person’s voice has the power to make a difference. Uvanga says the Stand Up campaign is an exciting and innovative challenge in which countries are attempting to set an official Guinness World Record for the most number of people ever to Stand Up Against Poverty on October 14-17. The campaign is a mobilization initiative designed to coincide with global mobilization around the International Day of Poverty Eradication and the White Band Day of the Global Call to Action Against Poverty. This will raise awareness of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and publicly demonstrate the growing global support for the achievement of these goals.
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