By Donna Collins
SOME 200 women law enforcement officers made their presence felt during the first annual Namibian Police Force Women’s Network conference for the Erongo Region, held in Walvis Bay last week, where women in uniform were represented across the full spectrum.
The valuable networking conference was responsible for addressing women empowerment gender equality in the force, as well as to strengthen the relationship of law enforcement female offices, whilst highlighting topics such as gender based violence, plus challenges faced by women in law enforcement to mention some.
Represented at the occasion were Erongo-based Nampol and traffic officers, Karibib Air force, correctional services officials, the navy, the army, and Ministries of Fisheries inspectors, who gathered together for the first time in what has been called a ‘movement for women in uniform’.
Guest speaker Commissioner Anna- Marie Nainda (Regional Commander Oshikoto Region and chairperson of Namibian Police Force Women’s Network), did not mince her words when she said, “Women no longer search for a space to be heard because they are slowly creating new spaces, they no longer plead for the right to speak, and no longer walk the beaten path.”
She explained that the ‘Network’ provides a platform and a structure to work towards enhancing cooperation amongst the women, by sharing of best practices, expertise, skills, challenges and solutions on gender issues which aims to empower and uplift female police officers. “Our objectives are to advocate for equitable representation of women in the police at all levels, to encourage training, education, social responsibility and advocate for the implementation of legal instruments relating to Gender Based Violence with a special emphasis on crimes committed against women and children.
“I am mindful of the historic importance of these types of gatherings where years back it was not an obvious and easy thing to do, and it is evident that the Namibian Police Force is an institution that values the role of women in policing,” said Nainda. “As women we should deliberately continue to acknowledge and celebrate the important and sacrificial contributions that policewomen are making on a daily basis, from the lowest to the highest ranks, at all levels both within our country, across borders and internationally.
“We should embrace the support of our authorities and fully utilise all opportunities for self-development and empowerment, whilst not shying away from responsibility and hard work in a disciplined fashion.” A full day’s programme included electing the successful Walvis Bay businesswoman Claudia Lofty-Eaton (Ramos Realtors Namibia), who was appointed as the new patron for Namiban Police Force Women’s Network, Erongo Region. In her acceptance speech she referred to having spent her early childhood years in a refugee camp in Walvis Bay, and encouraged all women to become involved in movements like this, applauding Nampol for their vision. “You are women in uniform who have conquered the male dominated world, so there is no reason why you cannot roll out this success to all facets of your life.”
Motivational speakers namely Nathalia /Goagoses (Chief Regional Officer Erongo Region) and Penelope Martin (councillor Municipality Walvis Bay) both delivered words of encouragement. They were joined by domestic violence survivor Helen Adams, who brought the room to tears with her heartfelt testimony about the life threatening abuse she suffered in the hands of a former boyfriend. Through Nampol fundraising efforts during the year the Namibian Police Women Network identified two special beneficiaries who received N$2 500 each. Both mothers of three-year-old Tuufilwa who suffers from Anal Atresia, and seven-year-old cerebral palsy case Justin Koch, shared their plight in what it took to raise children with such disabilities.
“This is not the first donation, but this is our social responsibility to plough something back into the community,” said Chief Inspector Johanna Van Rooyen (Nampol Erongo Region), and general Police Women Network co-ordinator who confirmed that a three year sponsorship from Ramos Realtors, Conselect Engineering and the Savva family had been secured to continue hosting the conference annually.
The women’s network was established in 2007 and officially launched in 2010 in Windhoek. The organisation is recognised by the Southern African Regional Police Chief Cooperation Organisation (SARPCCO) to achieve gender equality and development of women in the force.
Confidente. Lifting the Lid. Copyright © 2015