NGOs Should Realign Themselves

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By Surihe Gaomas

WINDHOEK

In light of dwindling donor funding flowing into Namibia, many non-governmental organisations (NGOs) are being advised to seek assistance and forge partnerships with the private sector.

Minister of Health and Social Services Dr Richard Kamwi, said this at the opening of the 10th National Council meeting of the Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA) held in Windhoek last week.

Even through government recognises the diminishing donor funding and subsequent withdrawal of some donors, such a situation should not prevent associations like NAPPA from seeking alternative and new sources of funding.

“Although this is profoundly disturbing, we should shift our market from the well-known traditional donor agencies and start targeting our own corporate fraternities within our borders,” said Kamwi.

As a donor-funded organisation founded in 1996, NAPPA has made significant contributions over the years towards promoting sexual and reproductive health and rights, especially among the youth in the country.

Furthermore, as an affiliate of the global body called the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) in the region, NAPPA’s activities complement those of the Ministry of Health and Social Services by providing sexual and reproductive health information, education and services to underserved groups.

In view of this, Kamwi added, NAPPA authorities should deliberate on ways of reaching out to young people who have not yet received such information.

“It is imperative that we keep ourselves focussed and identify those obstacles that have limited our reach to the marginalised communities that we are supposed to assist. NAPPA’s duty is to fulfil its commitment to break the cycle of inequity and the provision of counselling services to those who are in need,” stated Kamwi.

As part of its mission, NAPPA believes that access to information and education on population issues and family planning services constitute a fundamental human right.

Happiness, prosperity and peace come through maintaining a balance between the population, its natural resources and productivity.

“NAPPA’s main focus is to provide the basics of life that allow quality of life.

This means investing resources where there is a dire need, and a place where every Namibian can grow to adulthood in peace, health and dignity,” he explained.

Amongst other activities, the organisation therefore seeks to address the low rates of condom and contraceptive use in the country, the perceived low status of women in society as well as the high incidence of teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted diseases and HIV/AIDS.

It is in this way that the organization can further promote quality health for all young Namibians to develop into productive citizens.

Kamwi also reiterated the need for introducing facility-based services in line with the IPPF African Region association’s objectives.

This encouragement also falls in line with the Special Session of the African Union Conference of Health Ministers organised by the IPPF in Maputo last year. That event was held under the theme: “Ensuring Access to Comprehensive Sexual and Reproductive Health Services in Africa.”

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