By Eliaser Ndeyanale
THE Ministry of Gender and Child Welfare has finally set aside funds for a gender-based violence campaign, two years after the initiative was launched, the Confidente can reveal.
The ministry’s 2017/18 budget allocation shows that the GBV campaign will finally be funded to the tune of N$12 million, after the initiative was put on ice for the previous two financial years.
Another line item, under the heading ‘Gender Responsive Budgeting’, which had not received any funding last year, has now been allocated N$850 000 in the current financial year.
Gender Responsive initiatives seek to improve gender equality and women empowerment in the country. They focus on key economic and social matters.
Asked why the ministry had not budgeted for the GBV campaign during the previous two financial years, Gender and Child Welfare Minister, Doreen Sioka, referred the question to her permanent secretary, Martha Mbombo, who in turn did not respond to numerous calls to her office.
The GBV campaign is aimed at ending violence against women and girls.
Statistics released by the Namibian police last year showed that more than 2 000 cases of GBV were reported countrywide, from January to November.
Rape topped the list of GBV cases, with 1 038 incidents reported.
A further 210 cases of attempted rape were reported during the period, while there were 58 murder cases and 58 cases of attempted murder recorded.
Ironically, budget documents tabled in the National Assembly last month, by Finance Minister Calle Schlettwein, show that the gender ministry spent N$535 000 on entertainment and office refreshments during the 2015/16 and 2016/17 financial years.
The documents also revealed that the ministry had spent N$8.8 million on subsistence and travel (S&T) allowances during the same period.
During the previous financial year, the ministry also failed to budget for women economic empowerment programmes, which it has now planned to give N$3 million in the current financial year.
At a United Nations meeting held in Sweden in 2016, world governments were urged to provide more sustainable funding to combat the scourge of gender-based violence
Violence against women and girls is one of the world’s most widespread human rights violations, with one in every three women experiencing gender-based violence during their lifetime.
Following the adoption of the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, which include targets on ending violence against women; governments were urged to spend more resources on ending the unfolding evil in society.
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