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70 women benefit from self-employment project

by Rodney Pienaar

Up to 70 Namibian women will benefit from equipment donated by the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare as part of the Income Generating Assistance (IGA) programme which is an initiative to empower women in generating their own income.

The donation will enable them to work in fields such as arts and craft, animal food supply and manufacturing, welding, food catering, tailoring and hair salons.

This programme is aimed at encouraging self-employment in women from both rural and urban communities, Gender permanent secretary Valencia Uiras has said.

“The IGA programme promotes gender equality by encouraging more women to participate in the programme and establish their small-scale businesses which has potential to grow into the medium business from which they will earn income. The Ministry provides start-up materials and equipment complemented by training in basic business management skills,” she said. 

They will also conduct training in business management to capacitate and equip IGA beneficiaries with skills so that they manage their projects efficiently and make profits. The ministry firmly believes that if IGA beneficiaries operate their businesses profitably, they will be earning income, improve their livelihoods and alleviate poverty. 

Uiras also reminded the beneficiaries that these materials and equipment should be treated as a means to expand and sustain their businesses to transform them into viable SMEs or National cooperatives.

“This is also the government’s effort in the fight against poverty, and I henceforth, implore you to take good care of this equipment, use them carefully, wisely and guard them jealously against vandalism and theft,” she said. 

Speaking at the occasion the Governor of Khomas region Laura Mcleod-Katjirua has said that a large section of Namibia’s most disadvantaged population is engaged in micro, small and medium scale businesses hence the Government recognise the role these little business play in the country’s socio-economic development. 

“The main objective of the IGAs are to facilitate equitable socio-economic empowerment of women and men and promote self-reliance through the provision of material and equipment, skills training and support Women in Business Association activities,” she said.

She added that these aspects make operating guideline’s an important document because it will foster coordination amongst stakeholders and guide the implementation of economic empowerment interventions at grassroots levels.

Namibia is fast becoming a model of equal gender representation in the workforce, and according to the IGAs support programme operating guidelines, 70 % of all beneficiaries will consist of women.