WINDHOEK: Five Namibian community-based and non-governmental organisations on Wednesday received funding from the Government of Finland through the Embassy of Finland here.
The beneficiaries are the Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC); Mainstream Foundation; Meat Board of Namibia; Caprivi region-based Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA); and the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The funding agreements were signed between the Charge d’ Affaires of Finland, Anne Saloranta and representatives of the five organisations.
The funding is worth N.dollars 3.9 million, and comes from the Fund for Local Cooperation, which is administered by the Embassy of Finland in Namibia.
This fund supports the overall issues related to the complete eradication of poverty by means of economic, social and ecological sustainability in Namibia.
The IRDNC received a grant of N.dollars 810 044 for a two-year project, which aims at improving livelihood options, advocacy, health and gender equity amongst the marginalised San residents of the Bwabwata National Park.
Accepting the generous assistance, the IRDNC’s Janet Matota said her community-based organisation has gradually assisted hundreds of marginalised San community members towards the attainment of a better future, with these people themselves steering their own development projects.
The IRDNC is a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that started cooperating with the Embassy of Finland in 2011, and its focus is also linked to improved natural resources’ management to rural development and the growth of a strong civil society.
The Mainstream Foundation was granted a total amount of N.dollars 599 193 for a two-year project to enhance the well-being of the vulnerable youth and children living with or without physical disabilities in the Caprivi Region.
Speaking at the event, Sylvia Chinduka of this Foundation said the project seeks to reduce discrimination against children living with disabilities in society by providing improved education, awareness-raising and rehabilitation services to the physically-challenged children, their parents and stakeholders.
The Mainstream Foundation is a welfare organisation that supports, empowers and promotes the rights of children living with disabilities by lobbying for their human rights, and by providing these children an integrated and conducive environment for their physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being.
The Meat Board of Namibia was granted a total amount of N.dollars 710 000 for a one-and-half-year project aimed at improving the development of lucrative markets for meat and meat products originating from Namibia’s Northern Communal Areas (NCAs) in order to uplift the socio-economic status of that area.
Speaking before signing the funding agreement, the General Manager of the Meat Board of Namibia, Paul Strydom stressed that there is a high number of cattle in the NCA.
However, these cattle’s performance is very low, compared to the production and marketing south of the Veterinary Cordon Fence, resulting in a low annual contribution of the agricultural sector to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
The Embassy of Finland began cooperating with the Meat Board of Namibia in 2010 with the aim to contribute towards the strengthening of Namibia’s meat industry, particularly in the north of the country.
The IPPR got a total amount of N.dollars 1 million for a one-year project aimed at promoting the better understanding of the tenets of democracy throughout Namibia.
Graham Hopwood, the IPPR’s director, said the project would also help to encourage public participation in national debates on policy issues through the creation of a variety of forums, and creating a greater awareness and discourse among the general public about the role and functions of the Namibian Parliament.
The IPPR is a long-standing partner of the Embassy of Finland.
WIMSA was granted an amount of N.dollars 804 750 for a two-year project aimed at promoting education for indigenous children in Namibia, as well as strengthening the structures and operations of the Namibian San Council.
WIMSA’s Maria Tharacky Namupala said the goals of her organisation are to contribute towards bridging the ‘policy-to-practice gap’, and to critically examine systems that are intended for inclusive education in Namibia.
WIMSA is a non-governmental organisation that coordinates and represents the interests of the indigenous and highly-marginalised San people throughout southern Africa.
On her part, Saloranta stated that her country, through the Fund for Local Cooperation, has so far supported the work of several community-based and non-governmental organisations towards the promotion and the realisation of human rights, democracy, socio-economic development and culture in Namibia over the past 11 years.