President Hage Geingob last week said the war the government has declared against poverty must include a multi-faceted approach from all sectors of society.
“We have a new ministry and we have a new approach. We will soon invite all social organisations to a dialogue so that we can all come together to help [work on] a national roadmap on the way forward,” Geingob told a delegation from the Ecumenical Social Diaconate Action (ESDA) group.
Speaking after the presentation of a roadmap by the ESDA to complement national initiatives, Geingob said he was impressed by what the organisation stood for.
ESDA operates as a welfare organisation under the wings of Friendly Haven, which operates as a shelter where battered women and children seek a place of safety from all sorts of abuse.
The organisation was established in 1995 by Reverend Ngeno Nakamela in response to many women and children being abused and battered.
A steady stream of women and children have passed through the shelter’s doors seeking protection from abuse especially domestic violence and rape.
From 2002 to 2014, an astonishing 1 750 people were taken in of whom 980 were children and 770 women.
The centre is supported by six government ministeries as well as international and local donors.
Geingob praised their work but questioned why there are so many incidents of gender-based violence in the country.
“We are failing at homes, we are failing at churches, that’s why. We have a crisis but we have peace, unity in democracy and freedom,” stressed the president.
Bu there are other crises, Geingob said.
“Other people do not even have food or a place to sleep. Kids are not going to school, guns are making noise. That’s a crisis! Ours is a manageable crisis and if we have the goodwill to come together holding hands, pulling in the same direction, I think we can arrest poverty and eventually lock it up and eliminate it,” he said.
ESDA’s strategic goals for 2015 to 2020 are to strengthen crisis intervention capabilities, the establishment of an integrated multi-disciplinary one-stop shop in the centre of Windhoek and acquiring farmland to establish four healing centres.
“These farmlands will be for setting up multi-purpose healing centres and for crop farming, animal husbandry and conferencing and camping as an income and employment generating effort,” said Lizette Vries during the presentation of the ESDA roadmap.
Geingob said the general society and churches must be united as one in fighting poverty.
“Most crimes are caused by the lack of education, and by hunger and poverty which are among the root causes of gender-based violence. That’s why we are declaring war on poverty. Government is there, civil society, churches must come together. I always say: ‘Ask not always what your government can do for you but rather say, government, we are doing this and that so can our government meet us half way’,” he inspired the group of more than 15 members.
The meeting was also attended by government ministers and high-ranking officials.