Michael Mutonga Liswaniso
The Global Humanitarian Organization of the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church, commonly known as Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA), has been showered with praise by the Rundu Urban Constituency Councillor Victoria Kauma for “doing a good job”.
Kauma says ADRA does praiseworthy work in supplementing government programmes in the constituency and the country at large.
Kauma spoke as guest of honour at the Rundu SDA church earlier this week where she was invited to motivate over a hundred youth, mostly learners who are on school holiday, to stop discriminating against those with HIV/AIDS, as well as to urge them to avoid falling prey to teenage pregnancy.
She said the government alone cannot do things on its own, thus it needs a helping hand from different stakeholders, NGO, CBOs and churches in taking a lead.
“When looking at what young people are going through every day I realized that our children are suffering and have become vulnerable. We should speak out to educate our children and say HIV is a disease just like any other disease – it’s no longer a taboo.”
At the same time she was quick to point out that young people should not abuse sex at a young age, but should wait for the right time to enter into marriage.
Kauma, who herself has been married for over three decades, was happy that many young people have chosen a good path by following – and believing in – God and taken an oath in the name of the biblical commandments.
She said government is worried about teenage pregnancies, and policies in the education sector that allow young girls to go back to school after giving birth because, according to her, this has created room for abuse and a high number of teenage pregnancies in schools, instead of the policy being used as a privilege.
“We visited two schools and a clinic – the results we found there were shocking. Imagine a 13-year-old girl being impregnated by a 16-year-old boy? If there were none of these provisions of go and breastfeed and come back to school I don’t know what could have happened, because they are all teenagers who didn’t plan to have a family at that age,” said the councilor.
Kauma repeatedly encouraged the youth to “dream big” and take their schooling seriously.
Charles Makumba of the SDA church, who concluded the proceedings, was very jovial with the councillor’s remarks and requested the audience to repeat after him, “HIV/AIDS stops with me.”
The occasion was also graced by the president of SDA Namibia’s Northern Conferences, Pastor Moses Muyunda.
* Michael Mutonga Liswaniso is an information officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) based in Rundu in Kavango East Region.