WINDHOEK: The launching of the San Support Organisations Association of Namibia (SSOAN) is set to take place here on 31 August this year.
Acting SSOAN Chairperson Dr Ute Dieckmann in an invitation to the event issued on Friday said the organisation consists of non-governmental organisations (NGOs), which include international, national and community-based organisations, multilateral and bilateral donors as well as research and training institutions.
“The aim of SSOAN is to promote the rights of the San people in Namibia, to improve co-ordination of the various San support initiatives and to harmonise the approaches towards San development,” she said.
The idea to form SSOAN started in 2009 when different organisations, working to support the San in Namibia, decided to form a platform to encourage their working together.
Dieckmann explained that the platform offered the opportunity to present ongoing activities in various regions, to share ideas, lessons learnt and best practices, as well as to coordinate activities between organisations. In 2011, the decision was taken to formalise the platform and to establish an association.
The main objectives of SSOAN are to promote and coordinate the various San support initiatives for a better planning, implementation and impact; to promote and facilitate the development of appropriate San related policies and programmes; to ensure that information is shared and disseminated; to serve as a national body of expertise for San related issues and to advocate on San development on behalf of the Association and its members; to liaise and cooperate with the Namibian Government, particularly with the Office of the Prime Minister (OPM), but also with other ministries and government agencies that aim to promote, support and impact on San-related policies and initiatives.
The platform further provides an opportunity to align the work of the different stakeholders with international standards, such as the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples (UNDRIP), according to Dieckmann.
SSOAN has set up three sub-committees focusing on the following issues – human rights; education and health; and land and livelihoods.
These sub-committees meet separately to discuss specific issues. Representatives of the sub-committees are part of the steering committee of the International Labour Organisation (ILO) programme, ‘Promoting and Implementing the Rights of the San Peoples of the Republic of Namibia’.
Founding members are the Centre for Research Information Action in Africa Southern African Development and Consulting (CRIAA SA-DC); the Desert Research Foundation of Namibia (DRFN); Forum for African Women Educationalists in Namibia (FAWENA); HABITAFRICA; the Legal Assistance Centre (LAC); the Namibia Association of Norway (NAMAS); Namibia Red Cross Society (NRCS); the Nyae Nyae Development Foundation of Namibia (NNDFN);Working Group of Indigenous Minorities in Southern Africa (WIMSA) observers; the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID); ILO; Integrated Rural Development and Nature Conservation (IRDNC); and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).