Thursday, January 12, 2006

SKILLSHARE - NAMIBIA : Working Together can mean Working Better

Yesterday I wrote about Skillshare International and how well it partnered with other organizations in the countries where it had operations, and the response has motivated me to write about the various Skillshare Operations. Today, I am going to write about Skillshare International's work in Namibia. But instead of struggling to improve on what Skillshare International has already written about its work in Namabia and its partners there, I am merely going to post the text from their page ( which can be found at Skillshare International - Namibia ) and I will be adding BOLD TEXT as emphasis in order to highlight certain points.

"Skillshare International has been working in Namibia since 1998. We have established partnerships with the Ministry of Local Government to support the strengthening of local authorities, and with non-government organisations (NGOs) such as the AIDS Care Trust, YWCA, Namibian Rural Development Project, NANASO and the Joint Consultative Committee.

In Namibia, Skillshare International works in the following sectors:

Empowerment of Disadvantaged groups
The focus here is on women's groups, children, people with disability and other disadvantaged minority groups. In rural regions women lead the majority of households and are the principal bread winners for the family. However violence against women and children remains a major problem in Namibia. Skillshare works to address the empowerment of these groups.

The spread of HIV/AIDS in Namibia is alaming. About 20% of the 1.8 million population is infected. Skillshare International supports organisations which provide care and counselling for people infected with HIV or living with AIDS. We also assist organisations with HIV/AIDS education and awareness-raising programmes, in an attempt to decrease the infection rate.

Education, Training and Employment
The rate of unemployment in Namibia is officially 33%, with unofficial estimates of 40%. This is partly because 15,000 school-children at Grade 10 level are unable to continue their high school studies because of a lack of places in schools. Skillshare International is assisting in building the capacity of vocational training institutions, enhancing the quality of training through skills development and assisting organisations to provide education and vocational skills training to disadvantaged groups.

Local state - decentralization
The government's National Decentralisation Programme is running concurrently in all 13 regions. Due to unequal levels of development and income distribution, some regions have relatively strong local government with the infrastructure and institutional capacity to take over functions from central goverment. In other regions the process of decentralisation calls for the redevelopment of infrastructure. Skillshare has been assisting the government by providing a project advisor to work closely with regional councils and local authorities to address training needs and so help ensure the successful management of regional development.

Rural Development
Rural development and women's empowerment call for linked strategies because women lead the majority of households in rural areas. Local and international NGOs tend to offer direct support to small-scale income-generating initiatives in rural areas that are relatively easy to set-up. However, commercial ventures of this type can multiply very quickly and may create a competitive environment, raising issues of viability and sustainability within a limited market. Skillshare International has established a partnership with the Namibia Rural Development Project (NRDP), an organisation with good links to rural communities and which plays a major role in their development.

Here are brief descriptions that Skillshare International has provided about some of their Namibian Partner Organisations. I have also found and included links to either those partner Organizations' web sites or to web pages that provide more information about them.

Namibia Association of AIDS Service Organisation (NANASO)
NANASO "operates a non-profit networking organisation which provides network services to various NGOs and community-based organisations that are active in the field of HIV/AIDS. Its primary aim is to strengthen these organisations and enable them to actively address the HIV/AIDS pandemic in Namibia. Skillshare International's inputs include a development worker placement and the LDP."

The Association for Children with Language, Speech and Hearing Impairments of Namibia (CLaSH)
ClaSH "was founded in 1989. This organisation was developed out of a self-help group formed by parents whose children had communication disorders. The parents had linked together with specialists for support and training."

Joint Consultative Committee (JCC)
JCC "is a non-profit, nationwide association of small and micro enterprises (SME). The JCC was created by SME service providers and SME promotion agencies to form an informal network for SMEs. Core activities include:

- Networking between local financial and non-financial service providers;
- Networking with other enterprise development networks across Southern Africa;
- Advocacy for:
1) National small businesses
2) Financial service providers to SME
3) Non-financial service providers to SME
Research on issues related to the SME sector in Namibia;
- Capacity enhancement of service providers;
- Assisting in monitoring and evaluation of organisations;
- Business advisory service;
- Information collection, production, dissemination;
- Operation of Small Business Information Centre; and
- Best practice promotion in the Innovation Entrepreneurs Award."

The Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (NAPPA)
NAPPA "was established in 1996 as a voluntary, non-governmental, non-profit organisation working in the field of sexual and reproductive health. NAPPA subscribes to current government policy on population and reproductive health. The Association plays a complementary role to the Ministry of Health and Social Services by providing information, education and counselling and services on sexual and reproductive health to disadvantaged groups, and young people in particular. NAPPA is committed to contributing to the alleviation of the prevailing social and health problems in the country, such as condom and contraceptive use, high rates of teenage pregnancies, unsafe abortions, sexually transmitted infections including HIV/AIDS and the perceived low status of women in society."

The Urban Trust of Namibia
UTN 's "mission is to promote democratic forms of urban governance to especially address the economic and social needs of very low income Namibians. UTN's goal is to guide, represent and empower community groups in their efforts to become self reliant and alleviate poverty by supporting and facilitating sustainable/participatory and gender inclusive development that is sensitive to the environment."

Namibia Rural Development Project (NRDP)
NRDP 's "mission is to alleviate poverty and suffering by empowering rural and disadvantaged groups to realise their potential and control their own lives within the Namibian socio-economic context. It works with rural households, community-based structures and family units to improve their capacity to use surrounding resources, improve their living conditions and to set them on the path of sustainable human development. This is achieved by:
- Promoting and supporting the development of small-scale enterprises in rural areas
- Supporting peopleto share their wealth of knowledge and experience with each other
- Helping people to identify their own problems and design their solutions
- Skillshare International's inputs have included the placement of development workers, the Leadership Development Programme (LDP) and securing project funding."

Skillshare International's success makes a very cogent argument in favor of developing Quality Partnerships. Take a look at Skillshare International and Skillshare International - Namibia as well as their Partner Organizations in Namibia to see how Working Together can mean Working Better.

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