By Kuvee Kangueehi Windhoek The Executive Director of the Women’s Action for Development (WAD), Veronica de Klerk, has vowed that her organization would continue to empower people and would not be discouraged by any interference whilst executing their mission. Addressing a press conference yesterday morning in the capital, De Klerk said WAD would apologize if they made mistakes in the process of empowering people, because to make a mistake is only human. De Klerk said this in apparent reference to recent attacks by the National Workers Union of Namibia (NUNW), the Swapo Youth League and Swapo Women Council who blasted her and WAD for discriminating against unmarried pregnant women after it emerged that she had said she would not give bonuses to unmarried women who fell pregnant. De Klerk last week apologized for the stance, but denied that it was WAD’s policy. “WAD and its dedicated training staff are on the development road of no return with passion, commitment and dedication.” She said her organization will not look back and lose their vision, but will stay focused on their mission notwithstanding any obstacles that may be put in their way. “To admit mistakes depicts strength of character rather than weakness.” WAD’s rededication was supported by its biggest donor, the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung’s Resident Representative Anton Bosl, who said his organization would like to see WAD being allowed to focus on its developmental work. Bosl said he believes that nobody in Namibia has the serious intention to deliberately destroy or jeopardize his organization’s efforts and investment in WAD. “When it comes to the welfare of people, and particularly the marginalized women of this wonderful country, personal motives like jealously and distrust must not play a role.” At the media briefing, De Klerk also briefly glanced at her organization’s achievements last year. She said WAD believes that beating poverty by means of training and self-help schemes is an unparalleled ego-booster, which usually fires up people on to higher ground.”The organization has countless experiences of the pride and a new sense of self-discovery and self-respect which individuals enjoy, who lifted themselves up by their own shoestrings, to enjoy the taste of success.” She said WAD had experienced an exceptionally successful 2006 in having trained a total of 2ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 042 ‘students’, which included WAD trainers and Women’s Voice members across the country. She noted that of the 340 trainees, 86 of them were San, which project was commissioned by the deputy Prime Minister’s office. She further announced that all participants are being trained as far as possible in the use of the female condom, Femidom, through two types of pelvic models. “According to our Hardap Training Centre, 3ÃƒÆ’Ã†’Ãƒâ€ ‘ÃƒÆ’ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ã‚Â¬Ãƒ…ÃƒÆ’Ã†”Ã…Â¡ÃƒÆ’Ã¢â‚¬Å¡Ãƒâ€šÃ‚Â 000 students were trained between 2001 and 2006 in computer literacy alone, and 65 percent are presently in job placements.” De Klerk said she also wished to announce that WAD, through its track record, was fortunate to have been included in the largest Black Economic Empowerment deal in the history of Namibia when it concluded a BEE deal with Old Mutual Group worth N$11 million. She added that WAD, when it formed partnerships with the Ministry of Safety and Security, had further commissioned a research into the root causes of violence against women and girls in the country. After nine months of penetrating prisons and conducting interviews with convicted perpetrators, a draft report has been completed. A final report will be made available after the draft is tabled for the attention of line ministries, NGOs and churches, she concluded.
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