The Tamariskia Primary School is the winner of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) 2015 Social Engagement Competition.
The competition was created for schools in the Erongo region by the OYO Trust, in partnership with the Civil Society Organisations (CSO) Foundation of Namibia and the European Union (EU), to tackle the pressing social issue of gender-based violence (GBV).
Schools were asked to create two boards, one looking at GBV and the other at services available to victims. “The idea of the commitment forms was to encourage young people and their parents to take a few minutes to think and write down mantras for their lives,” explains Philippe Talavera, OYO’s Director.
Talavera says 14 schools in the Erongo region took part in OYO’s project and were visited three times; twice by the OYO dance troupe and once by the Keetmanshop Youth Group. The first show focused on the roots of GBV. The second looked more at the role of counsellors, while the last one looked at services available to survivors of violence and how to prevent such violence.
“It is important to visit the schools more than once to reinforce the message, using different angles and repeating the same message again and again, and hopefully have an impact on the lives of our young people,” Talavera says.
As part of their projects schools were asked to include comments such as “I will never let anyone abuse me” or “I will respect my girlfriend or wife”. Talavera says, despite numerous campaigns, GBV is still out of control in Namibia. “Every day we hear about children and women being abused,” he stressed.
Tamariskia Primary School from Swakopmund, received a trophy and a computer. The runner-up, Namib High School, also from Swakopmund, won a trophy. “Young people are the way forward and we hope they will grow up as responsible adults, so that gender-based violence in Namibia can become something from the past,” Talavera concludes.