Members of Parliament including staff and experts from stakeholders pose for a group photo
RStory by George Sanzila
Over 20 members of Parliament and staff were gathered in Otjiwarongo for a capacity building training session on issues of sexual reproductive health rights and HIV and AIDS from 28 to 29 October 2016. The Southern African Development Community Parliamentary Forum (SADC-PF) launched a project on sexual reproductive and health rights and HIV and AIDS IN 2014 and Namibia is the latest implementer of the project following other SADC countries such as Zambia, Seychelles, Angola, Tanzania, Lesotho, Mauritius and Zimbabwe. The project will end in 2018.
The project funded by the Norwegian and Swedish embassies culminated from a resolution during an assembly session of the SADC-PF in 2007 in Malawi that has bound Parliaments to address SRHR issues at both national and regional levels. The project seeks to sensitise individuals on choices regarding their sexuality and reproductive health rights despite their age, gender or HIV status.
The Secretary General of SADC-PF, Dr. Esau Chiviya noted that the platform was an opportune time for members of Parliament to talk about issues of common concern such as harmful cultural practices, child marriages, teenage pregnancies, gender based violence and HIV and AIDS that form part of a myriad of SRHR issues.
Echoing similar sentiments, Secretary to the National Assembly, Ms. Lydia Kandetu whose statement was delivered on her behalf by the Director for Legal Affairs, Pietie Husselmann noted that with an increase in gender based violence in Namibia, prioritising SRHR issues would help curtail some of the social ills plaguing the country.
Many presentations were done during the two day session by experts from SADC-PF, Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Ministry of Health, UNAIDS, UNFPA and NAPPA.
An orientation session for civil society organisations on the project would follow from 30 to 31 October 2016.