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Germany supports Namibia with 290 million N$ to fight COVID-19 and cope with its impact on business, jobs, livelihoods and biodiversity

COVID-19 Hygiene and PPE kits were given to Namibian start-ups.

COVID-19 Hygiene and PPE kits were given to Namibian start-ups., © German Embassy Windhoek

02.07.2020 - Article

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Germany supports its Namibian partners in ongoing programs to fight the  pandemic and to mitigate the respective challenges on livelihoods and businesses in Namibia.

Germany supports Namibia in its endeavor to reach the sustainable development goals of the Agenda 2030, building on the principle of “Leaving no one behind”.  Thus, the German Development Cooperation fosters inclusive and sustainable development which means improving livelihoods of people and respecting nature and biological diversity at the same time.

During the global COVID-19 pandemic, Germany has provided 290 million N$ to Namibian partners in ongoing programs to fight the pandemic and to mitigate the respective challenges on livelihoods and businesses in Namibia. Until now, additional resources of about 250 million N$ have been mobilized to support Namibia in mitigating the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic in the conservation and tourism sector, whereas more than 40 million N$ have been dedicated to support respective measures with focus on health and prevention as well as mitigation of the socio-economic impacts.

Capacity building for local COVID-19 testing

Training measures were taken to support the establishment of laboratory diagnostics for COVID-19 in Windhoek
Training measures were taken to support the establishment of laboratory diagnostics for COVID-19 in Windhoek © GIZ

Rapidly identifying infections with the novel corona virus (SARS-CoV-2) is crucial to enable immediate outbreak management and to initiate public health interventions. Building on the established cooperation of the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) with the Namibian Ministry of Health and Social Services in the framework of the Global Health Protection Program (GHPP), experts of the German Epidemic Preparedness Team (EPT), an initiative launched by the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development in cooperation with the Federal Ministry of Health during the Ebola epidemic, travelled to Namibia in the first week of March 2020 to support the establishment of laboratory diagnostics for COVID-19 at the national reference laboratory in Windhoek. The team brought supplies and trained six lab technicians from the National Institute of Pathology (NIP), the University of Namibia (UNAM) and the Central Veterinary Laboratory. Further and ongoing support is provided by RKI and EPT with several shipments of diagnostic reagents, laboratory consumables and technical equipment to ramp up Namibia’s response to COVID-19. This has enabled the NIP to meet the rising demand for testing in Namibia.

Additionally, Germany will reallocate 200,000 € in the framework of the ongoing cooperation of German development bank KfW with UNAM for the enhancement of laboratory capacities to assist in accelerating COVID-19 response measures. This will enable the purchase of screening, testing and laboratory equipment as well as personal protective equipment.

Support to hygienic and prevention measures

Working closely with highly affected target groups in Namibia, the programs of German development cooperation support hygienic and prevention measures to fight the potential spread of the novel corona virus and implement the necessary precautions to allow business continuity and safe livelihoods, for example:

The “Support to Land Reform” project supports awareness raising and construction of handwashing facilities in informal settlements.
The “Support to Land Reform” project supports awareness raising and construction of handwashing facilities in informal settlements. © GIZ

Improving awareness and hygiene in informal settlements

The “Support to Land Reform” project supports awareness raising and construction of handwashing facilities in informal settlements. This support provided via GIZ includes the procurement of construction material as well as a short video-clip demonstrating the set-up of a “tippy tap” and the printing of educational material in various languages. Mobile teams of the NGO “Development Workshop” received protective equipment which enabled them to substantially expand their work even in informal settlements during lockdown. The teams were also supported by an IT expert to monitor, manage and communicate the set-up of handwashing facilities. Funding for an impact survey on the effects of the lockdown on households organized by the National Alliance for Informal Settlement Upgrading was provided as well.

Buses as environmentally friendly and affordable means of transport are an important public service the City of Windhoek provides.
Buses as environmentally friendly and affordable means of transport are an important public service the City of Windhoek provides. © GIZ

Ensuring safe public transport in Windhoek

Buses are a safe, environmentally friendly and affordable means of transport and are therefore an important public service the City of Windhoek provides to her citizens. To support the City of Windhoek, the GIZ project “Transport, Mobility, Logistic”  provides sanitizers for passengers upon boarding, protective masks for bus drivers, continuous disinfection of buses, hand wash liquid and other necessary hygienic supplies.

Creating safe work conditions in the charcoal industry

In the charcoal industry, workers’ safety is crucial. In the framework of the project “Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation”, GIZ supports over 4,000 workers with personal protective equipment as well as general awareness raising material on nutrition and health during the pandemic in English and six vernacular languages(Afrikaans, Oshiwambo, Otjiherero, Timbukushu, Nama/Damara and Rukwangali). These activities are conducted in collaboration with international and local partners, like the Nutrition and Food Security Alliance of Namibia and the German company DHG through the German develoPPP program.

Mobilizing Namibia’s Youth to Fight the Spread of COVID-19

The GIZ “Sport for Development in Africa Regional Project (S4DA)” supported the National Youth Council (NYC) to facilitate a national awareness campaign on COVID-19 by mobilizing the youth. In close cooperation with the Ministry of Health and Social Services, 484 youth volunteers of the NYC in all 14 regions raised awareness about the corona virus and its spread in a door-to-door campaign in the communities. The volunteers were equipped with protective masks and sanitizers and strictly followed social distancing regulations. 

Enhancing capacities for e-Learning in Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET)

German-Namibian development cooperation provides support to develop a national strategy for the implementation of e-Learning at vocational training centers in Namibia
German-Namibian development cooperation provides support to develop a national strategy for the implementation of e-Learning at vocational training centers in Namibia © GIZ

Following the closure of education and training institutions, e-Learning platforms have become critical in ensuring the continuation of training of students also in the TVET sector. German-Namibian development cooperation in the GIZ project “Promotion of Vocational Education and Training” therefore provides support to the National Training Authority to develop a national strategy for the implementation of e-Learning at all vocational training centers in Namibia. During the stage of emergency, GIZ also leverages  respective capacities to build up e-Learning facilities at the Training Hub of three Vocational Training Centers (VTCs) in northern Namibia.  VTCs will be enabled to implement parts of their training countrywide, using the existing online platforms.

Due to strict safety precautions implemented on site, the construction of new workshops continued also during the lockdown at both Valombola and Gobabis VTCs. Thus, progress on establishing new training facilities for three additional workshops has been ensured. With completion, training facilities for up to 150 students will be available.

Addressing challenges and opportunities for start-up businesses and SMEs

The past months have been a tremendous challenge for start-up and small businesses in Namibia. The lockdown implied that businesses were closed and could not generate revenue. As a relief measure, the “StartUp Namibia” program implemented by GIZ in partnership with the Ministry of Industrialization and Trade provided a COVID-19 StartUp Grant Fund. Based on a competitive process, this fund provided grants of up to 15,000 N$ per business and supported 200 selected start-up businesses to continue  operation and secure employment. Melissa Karuses, owner of the start-up company “MK Decor and Events”, gives a testimony on youtube on how the start-up grant supported her (please click here for the video).

COVID-19 Hygiene and PPE kit.
COVID-19 Hygiene and PPE kit. © German Embassy Windhoek

In order to help start-up and small enterprises to reopen safely for business and generate revenue again, the “StartUp Namibia” program also designed the “COVID-19 Hygiene and Personal Protection Equipment Kit”. Through this hygiene support measure, 1,000 kits consisting each of 2L handwash soap, 2L hand sanitizer, 2L disinfectant and 5 face masks are provided to start-up businesses and SMEs countrywide.

SME businesses can also contribute solutions and use opportunities during these exceptional times. In April, “StartUp Namibia” organized the first “NamibiaHacksCOVID-19” hackathon. In this innovation challenge, more than 400 participants in 108 teams countrywide submitted 56 ideas to develop healthcare as well as business continuity solutions.

In addition to this, German development cooperation is responding to the health and economic challenges of the corona crisis by combining demands and solutions on the digital platform www.leverist.de. Namibian companies are represented on a special site for corona-specific business solutions and opportunities at www.leverist.de/Covid19.

In the framework of “Promotion of Business Advisory and Economic Transformation Services (ProBATS)”, GIZ assisted over 30 Namibian cosmetic producers in the process of manufacturing and supplying hand sanitizers to the local market. Matchmaking between GIZ projects and members of the Namibia Network of Cosmetics industry (NANCi) was facilitated to address the desperate need for sanitizing products and ensure mass procurement.

Protecting biodiversity and securing jobs in the conservation and tourism sector

The conservation and tourism sector has been significantly affected by the loss of income from tourism, caused by worldwide lockdown measures and international travel restrictions. Tourism, which is the principal economic force in conservancies, pays for the conservation protection costs. National parks are a vital tool for conserving Nambia´s essential biodiversity. Countrywide employment and vital conservation activities are in jeopardy, risking the survival of local communities, wildlife and protected areas.

Therefore, Germany – in the framework of the Community Based Natural Resource Management (CBNRM) implemented by GIZ - provided  quick technical and financial support to the “Conservation Relief, Recovery and Resilience Facility” (CRRRF) initiated by the Ministry of Environment, Forestry and Tourism (MEFT).  The objective of the facility is to ensure the continuation of anti-poaching activities, monitoring and management of wildlife and other natural resources,  as well as mitigation of Human Wildlife Conflict (HWC).  It is providing immediate relief grants to conservancies affected by HWC and is  also directly covering  operational costs of selected conservancies.

Left to right: Timoteus Mufeti, (Environmental Commissioner for MEFT), Ellen Gölz, (Chargeé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy), Pohamba Shifeta (Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) and Barbara Pirich (Country Director, KfW Office Windhoek).
Left to right: Timoteus Mufeti, (Environmental Commissioner for MEFT), Ellen Gölz, (Chargeé d’Affaires a.i. of the German Embassy), Pohamba Shifeta (Minister of Environment, Forestry and Tourism) and Barbara Pirich (Country Director, KfW Office Windhoek). © German Embassy Windhoek

Furthermore, the German Government mobilized additional resources of 13 million € (appr. 250 million NAD) aimed at supporting Namibia’s efforts to avoid negative ecological impacts to Namibia´s world-class parks and protected areas, and especially to the local communities and the nature-based tourism industry to get through the coming months.

The funds will be provided through the KfW Development Bank to support the efforts of Namibia and the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area (KAZA) similarly impacted by the pandemic, to protect biodiversity, secure ongoing activites in the conservation and tourism sector and to safeguard jobs. Funds for Namibia will be used i.a. to secure ongoing employment of 700 community game guards and rhino rangers, 300 conservancy support staff and  1200  locally hired tourism staff. In addition, human wildlife conflict mitigation and prevention measures will be supported.

Furthermore, support is envisaged for measures aiding National Parks and protected areas to minimize detrimental ecological and economic impacts of COVID-19. Funds will ensure the continuation of anti-poaching and wildlife crime prevention measures as well as ongoing patrols and implementation of park regulations.

Immediate support by the German Embassy

Food parcels as immediate support for the needy.
Food parcels as immediate support for the needy. © German Embassy Windhoek

A total of approximately 270,000 N$ from the micro -project fund of the German Embassy Windhoek was made available to purchase food parcels for needy families in Windhoek, Gobabis, Okahandja and Witvlei. The distributed items include staple foods such as maize meal, flour, pasta, rice, sugar, cooking oil, but also soap and detergents.

Furthermore, two kindergartens of the German Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia have been supported with 177,000 N$.

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