There is no problem that would not be solved if you have your hands as a woman.

This was said by Zelda Swartbooi, a young mother of three who was one of 40 young mothers who participated in a three-week training to promote the sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) of young mothers through livelihood skills training and information sharing on gender-based violence (GBV) and SRHR.

Following graduation through the “Leaving No One Behind” project, the 40 young women were linked with youth-friendly sexual and reproductive health information and services, including contraceptives.

“There is no problem that would not be solved if you have your hands as a woman, and if you have your mind and energy, we can do better things in life,” Swartbooi said.

“Thanks for changing our lives for the better. We now know we can wake up and empower other young ladies.”

Zelda’s heartfelt words underscore the tangible impact that investing in the lives of young mothers can have.

The training not only equipped young mothers with practical skills but also instilled self-confidence, sisterhood, and a sense of independence in these women. The ripple effect of an empowered mother can go beyond individual lives, contributing to the broader goal of creating a more resilient and empowered community in Namibia.

The Leaving No One Behind project is fully funded by the People and Government of Japan. This project aims to address gender-based violence and negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes in Namibia.

It is specifically dedicated to reaching those at risk of being left furthest behind, including vulnerable groups such as in- and out-of-school youth, pregnant and lactating women, women and girls facing multiple vulnerabilities, especially those with disabilities, refugees, and other groups at risk of sexual and gender-based violence.

The project interventions include Livelihood support, Life skills and Mental Health and Psychosocial support, Essential life-saving SRH and GBV response and prevention services.

“This program stands as a testament to the generous support of the Government of Japan and its people through UNFPA.  We express our sincere gratitude to the Government and People of Japan for your commitment to advancing the well-being and empowerment of the people in Namibia,” said UNFPA HIV/Family Planning Programme Specialist Ms. Grace Hidinua, who represented the organisation at the graduation.

UNFPA is the United Nations agency committed to sexual and reproductive health. Collaborating with governments and partners, it strives to eliminate unmet needs for family planning, preventable maternal deaths, gender-based violence, and harmful practices such as child marriage and female genital mutilation. Additionally, it prioritizes the regional goal of ending sexual transmission of HIV by the year 2030.

In the photo: Ambassador H.E. Hisao Nishimaki hands over a certificate to an excited participant alongside Katutura Central Constituency Councillor Honourable Rodman Katjaimo who attended the event alongside other guests.