On 16 November the Oyayone Foundation, with support from Nedbank Namibia, concluded the launch of the 2023 Status of Women in Namibia Report.

Commissioned by the Oyayone Foundation, the report provides a comprehensive overview of key development indicators and progress made along the thematic pillars of poverty and inequality, economic inclusion and empowerment, health and well-being, education, gender-based violence, political inclusion, and empowerment.

“The only way we can create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable society is by ensuring full participation of women in both national and international decision-making processes,” said Chairperson of the Oyayone Foundation Louise Shixwameni.

The Oyayone report plays an important role in highlighting certain key issues, which could result in developing programmes for vulnerable and unemployed women of Namibia.

Convened under the theme “Accelerating women’s economic empowerment towards gender equality”, the event was marked by a strong spirit of unity and commitment and showcased the collective vision of both Nedbank Namibia and the Oyayone Foundation in fostering a more inclusive and empowered society.

Reflecting on the importance of partnerships and collaboration was Nedbank Namibia Managing Director, Martha Murorua, who said: “Supporting this research project shows our belief in the power of collective action and our resolve to supporting initiatives that drive positive change within our communities towards improved levels of financial and economic inclusion.”

The study includes a gap analysis and recommendations that Namibia as a whole could take up to strengthen the empowerment of women and improved economic growth and development.

In 2021 Nedbank Namibia sponsored the execution of the critical research project with an investment of N$150 000. Driven by its commitment to addressing youth unemployment, fostering job creation and alleviating poverty, Nedbank Namibia’s Corporate Social Investment (CSI) Committee supported the Oyayone Foundation’s project.

Earlier this year the bank provided additional support by facilitating a research validation workshop, where key industry stakeholders actively engaged in providing valuable feedback on the research findings.

This collaborative effort has resulted in the integration of workshop insights into the final report. The foundation unveiled the report, a culmination of this significant collaboration, at a stakeholder and media event that took place on Thursday in the capital.

According to Shixwameni, the vision of the President of Namibia, Dr Hage G Geingob, of an ‘inclusive, united and prosperous Namibian House’ is a call for every citizen to identify and provide support to those at risk of being left behind.

“Through full participation, Namibia can harness the potential of every woman to achieve our collective ideals of inclusive growth, shared prosperity and wealth,” she says.

This integrated report brings together a number of gender inequality indices while acknowledging policy impacts, by highlighting active steps taken by the government through the detailed overview of policy and legislative frameworks.

The report also reflects improvements in female representation in parliament and government and how Namibia is leading on this aspect on the continent and among the top 10 nations globally.

Delivering the keynote addess on behalf of Ms Christine //Hoebes, was Deputy Minister in the Ministry of Poverty Eradication, Gender Equality and Social Welfare, Bernadette Jagger, who stated: “I commend the Oyayone Foundation and its partners for documenting the baseline status of this significant demographic segment, so as to inform the design and implementation of evidence-based policies and programmatic interventions.

“The status of women in independent Namibia has improved over the last three decades and this report tells the story of steady progress enabled by strong political will, hope and the promise of a brighter tomorrow. We all have additional work to do and I invite you to use the evidence presented in this report in your field of work, towards addressing some of the key challenges presented.”

The name Oyayone translates to ‘net-caster’ – a net-caster who hunts for those who were lost. The foundation works with and for women – specifically young, underprivileged single mothers – who are at risk of being left behind and seeks to break the cycle of poverty by addressing basic needs and tackling asset poverty.

In the photo: Melissa Porforio; Pastor Esther Onwordi; Nedbank Namibia Managing Director, Martha Murorua; Founder and Director of Oyayone Foundation, Daisry Obal; Deputy Minister of Poverty Eradication, Gender Equality & Social Welfare, Hon. Bernadette Jagger; Louise Shixwameni; Rochelle Januarie; Hinasha Mbudje; and Clara Schnack, at the Oyayone Foundation’s Status of Women in Namibia report launch.