WINDHOEK: One of the rural women Parliamentarians meeting in Windhoek this week has called on Government and the private sector to provide tents to the Omusati regional education directorate for use during the rainy season.
Maria Namulo, one of a number of women from all over Namibia who is attending the Rural Women Parliament session underway in the capital, said children in the Omusati Region stay away from school for up to four months at times due to floods.
Namibia’s rainy season starts in December and ends around April.
Namulo explained that such tents should then be used as accommodation, which would help to maintain learner attendance at schools during the rainy season.
“During the rainy season, pans (or iishana in Oshiwambo) become full and children are not able to pass through them. Children stay away from school, a situation which contributes to failure rates at the end of the year,” she said.
The feeling amongst some of the ‘Parliamentarians’ however, was that although the tents are a good idea, using it comes with a number of challenges.
“Children will need beds and bedding, as at their houses most of them share beds and bedding with their siblings. Children may also need food, amongst other items,” they said, adding that the construction of bridges at certain points such as at the pans may be another option to look at.
Meanwhile, another one of the attendees, Loide Shoongo expressed her displeasure towards how pregnant women are treated in the Omusati Region.
She said mothers in that region are forced to sleep under trees while waiting to go into labour as they live at places situated far away from hospitals.
“These mothers freeze during winter and get wet during the rainy season. This is a terrible situation for them,” Shoongo indicated.
She called on the private sector to meet Government halfway by constructing “waiting rooms” at State hospitals to accommodate such women.
The first-ever Rural Women’s Empowerment Parliament Session is hosted by the National Council Standing Committee on Women Caucus, and is aimed at empowering women on grassroots level with regards to Namibia’s democratic processes.
Two women and one man from each of the country’s 13 regions are attending the Special Parliament session under the theme ‘Promoting Gender Equality in the Democratic Process from the Lens of Grassroots Women’.
Topics that are being debated include child-bearing, maternal and child deaths, as well as issues concerning violence, illegal abortion, baby dumping, passion killing, suicide, among others.
The ‘Parliamentarians’ are also deliberating on issues of economic empowerment, while the Ministry of Trade and Industry was scheduled to explain to the women how the Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) Bank, which is yet to be launched, will operate.
The three-day Rural Women’s Empowerment Parliament Session kicked off on Monday.