The German Ambassador to Namibia Herbert Beck and Dr Philippe Talavera, Director of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO), signed a funding agreement on OYO’s project ‘Girls in schools’ today. The German Government supports this human rights project with approximately 1,3 million N$ (72.438 Euros).
Girls in schools is a project to encourage girls who enroll in schools in the Kavango East and West regions to fulfill their right to education and complete their school years by addressing obstacles such as child marriage and teenage pregnancy. In the past few years the issue of child marriage – marriage of a person under the age of 18 – has raised great concerns. Poor educational attainment, poor sexual and reproductive health outcomes, physical, emotional and sexual abuse, deprivation of childhood experiences and abandonment by husbands are some of the reported consequences of early marriage. Children who are married do not finish their education.
The situation has worsened in 2020 with the COVID19 pandemic and extensive closure of schools. The Namibian newspaper of 14 January 2021 revealed that 522 girls and in the Kavango West and 520 girls in the Kavango East fell pregnant in 2020, with an additional 4,426 and 2,951 learners dropping out of school. This calls for urgent action and specific support in that region to ensure better results will be obtained in 2021. ‘Educating the girl child is extremely important’, says Dr Talavera. ‘To that end, thanks to support from the German Government, we will implement a series of activities in selected schools in the two regions to make sure we reduce the number of teenage pregnancy and school dropout between April and December 2021. We will also put the issue of child marriage onto the agenda. No girl in Namibia should be married against her will. While traditions and customs are extremely important, harmful cultural practices such as child marriage must be stopped.’
OYO has been launched in March 2003 and aims at using the Arts – both visual and performing – to create awareness on social problems such as domestic violence, rape and the abuse of alcohol and other drugs amongst the youth of Namibia.
OYO’s vision is to develop a society in which there is broad access to information and the Arts. By developing their creative skills, young people empower themselves to make informed choices, and thus become more prosperous, increase their life expectancy and improve the quality of their lives.
The protection and promotion of human rights are key priorities for the Federal Republic of Germany. Article 1 of Germany’s Basic Law describes human rights as the basis of every community, of peace and of justice in the world. The German Government therefore is committed to promoting human dignity and to protecting fundamental freedom not only in Germany but throughout the world.
To this end, the German Federal Foreign Office provides funds for various projects supporting the protection of human rights all over the world.