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By: Justicia Shipena

International relations minister Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said the first anniversary of the Namibia-International Women’s Peace Centre (IWPC) is a moment to represent an opportunity for existing barriers in the future.

Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah said this on the first anniversary of the IPWC.

According to her, there is a definite link between development and the WPS agenda.

“We recognise that gender equality, protection of women’s rights and the importance of their participation and leadership in conflict prevention, resolution and peacebuilding as the critical goal,” she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said at the General Assembly, and she underlined the long-time impact of the targeted act of violence in Namibia.

“I also highlighted the steps Namibia has taken to increase women in leadership positions, including the current 47% of women in parliament,” she said.

She stated that if the health and livelihoods of women are insecure, the efforts made for women’s participation and leadership cannot be maintained.

“The international community should be concerned with the WPS agenda as public health emergencies have a different impact on women and men due to gender roles and gender inequalities, which are intensified in conflict-affected countries.”

She continued by saying that there is a need for increased integration of gender in national planning and budgeting.

“The space for women’s participation in peace processes, including training women mediators and advocating gender equality measures as critical to security policies and practices, should be broadened,” she said.

Nandi-Ndaitwah said that when people talk of women’s participation, it is only focused on older women.

“Young women are a special focus. However, I am happy to inform you that most people working at the centre are young women,” she said.

Due to gender violence issues, the centre has recently entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on developing a mobile application to coordinate responses to combat sexual and gender-based violence in Namibia.

The MoU was signed in partnership with the Change of Lifestyle Welfare Organisation.

Nandi-Ndaitwah encouraged potential partners to join in making the centre accessible and functional for all.

“The first anniversary of the IWPC is also an appreciation of relentless efforts from different relevant partners and stakeholders whose expertise has made the centre to be at the level where it is heading.”

Speaking at the same event, deputy minister of information, communication and technology, Emma Theofelus, said there is an unbiased notion that young people are more prompt to conflict and chaos.

“But I see young people as partners in maintaining peace,” she said.

Theofelus added that although young people have the energy and morale towards dialogues, she thinks young people value peace.

She further said inter-generation dialogues are essential.

“For the past 31 years, we have managed to guard against conflict, and there is still a need for every citizen to participate.”

According to her, the scars that came after the colonial war remain.

“And, we the generation that is born after the conflict still experience the effects of those wounds that have not been healed,” she said.

Vice president Nangolo Mbumba officially opened the centre in Windhoek on the 20th anniversary of the adoption of the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security last year.

This resolution was adopted in October 2000 under the Presidency of Namibia, during the country’s tenure on the UN Security Council.

Justicia Shipena

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