Programmes aimed at catering for the continued support to orphanages and safe homes for gender-based violence (GBV) victims dominate the budgetary goals of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare’s N$858 million request for 2016/17, it was revealed in the National Assembly.
This amount further includes provision for social welfare grants to orphans and vulnerable children, providing subsidies to residential child care facilities and managing shelters for abused women and children, as well as men.
Also on the list is the management of operations of the Namibian Children’s Home and After School Centre, implementation of policies, standards and guidelines, provision of professional services and monitoring and evaluation of child welfare programmes.
Parliamentarians heard this recently from the Deputy Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Lucia Swartbooi on behalf of gender minister Doreen Sioka during the 2016 Appropriation Bill debate recently.
Swartbooi did not mince words when she said that in the previous financial year the ministry received no budget allocation to address GBV, and thus heavily relied on donor support.
This support is however dwindling and hampers consistency of programming and implementation of gender equality activities in general and GBV in particular.
However, with the current allocation the ministry plans to increase at community level its advocacy and awareness campaigns on gender issues, including GBV, sexual reproductive health and HIV/AIDS.
There are also plans to carry out legal literacy awareness campaigns on existing gender-related laws for people to know and claim their rights.
On children, Swartbooi highlighted that the ministry is taking care of and protecting orphans and vulnerable children under the age of 18 years, as result of HIV/AIDS and general vulnerability.
She said this would assist children to develop into confident and productive citizens as they grow up and realise their full potential to be productive members of the Namibian society.
Swartbooi revealed that 106 930 girls and 97 232 boys received grants last year through the ministry before informing the House that the Child Care and Protection Act provides an enabling environment for the care and protection of children in Namibia.
On GBV, the deputy minister noted that the ministry also revamped the Zero Tolerance Media Campaign for GBV under the theme “Spot it to Stop it”, focusing on radio drama series in English.
She said that in total 18 episodes covering domestic violence and rape were aired on NBC radio and are still continuing.