San get HIV/AIDS training

Two facilitators from Tsumeb Women and Child Protection Unit and Tsumeb Women and Children’s Centre, an organisation supported technically and financially also by DED, conducted the workshop, in which more than 20 participants took part. The workshop was held in Mangetti Dune in the Tsumkwe District of Namibia. In co-operation with the Directorate of Forestry, Dr Karsten Feuerriegel, DED’s development expert, assists the communities of M’kata and M’Para (western Tsumkwe) in the management of valuable forest resources. He provides the necessary logistical, administrative and technical assistance. The goal is to empower communities to protect and preserve their indigenous forests as basis for people’s lives, and for income generation aimed to improve local livelihoods. However, DED’s assistance is not limited only to forestry, but the organisation also helps supported communities in other issues. For example, a series on workshops has been organised in order to provide the people in western Tsumkwe with factual information on HIV/AIDS and domestic violence. The last workshop concentrated on legal issues like, for example, rights of domestic violence victims, access to post-exposure prophylaxis after rape and other solutions guaranteed by law. The participants appreciated the opportunity to share their doubts during an open discussion. Sabine Greschek, DED’s development staffer who prepared the workshop, is responsible within the organisation for all cross-cutting issues connected with HIV/AIDS. “The idea is to mainstream HIV/AIDS subjects in all projects supported by DED. I help my colleagues who do not deal directly with HIV/AIDS to provide actual information to local communities they assist,” Greschek says. “I react on the initiative from other DED projects and offer training, workshops and information materials.” She added: “In this way, we can assure that our work has a positive and sustainable impact. It is especially important in the districts like Tsumkwe, where the infrastructure is weak and many do not have access to the necessary information.” DED started its activities in Namibia after independence and today has about 30 development workers active throughout the country in focal areas of German-Namibian co-operation. They work in different Namibian institutions and organisations and support local staff through on-the-job training. DED works closely with the Ministry of Health and Social Services and has more than 10 experts dealing directly with prevention of HIV/AIDS, among them six physicians at hospitals in Outapi, Eehanana and Katima Mulilo. Together with the Directorate of Forestry, DED assists communities in the Caprivi, Kavango and West-Otjozondjupa to establish their own community forests. With an area of about 86 765 hectares, M’kata is the biggest community forest in Namibia. ‘ Namibia Economist.

May 2006
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