By Andreas Thomas
Windhoek – The United Nations System in Namibia celebrated the 73rd anniversary of the founding of the UN with the local community at an early childhood development centre, elderly persons home, hospital and university under the theme ‘#UnitedwithUNNamibia’.
UN Day is commemorated each year on 24 October. For more than seven decades, the United Nations (UN) has been working to protect human rights for all and ensure peace across the globe, through peacekeeping, peacebuilding, conflict prevention and humanitarian assistance.
Through its specialised agencies, funds and programmes, the UN works to achieve its goals and coordinate efforts for a safer world for future generations.
The UN has a long-standing history in Namibia, having served as a trusted partner dating back to the time of independence in its fight against poverty and along its path towards sustainable development.
Since then, Namibia has made great strides in line with national and international development agendas in ensuring that no one is left behind, although challenges still exist.
Less than a quarter of Namibian children are enrolled in an early childhood development programme, there are concerns about violence against, abuse and maltreatment of older persons and in particular older women in Namibia, there is an increasing burden on the health sector of non-communicable diseases and youth employment stands at close to 40 percent.
UN Resident Coordinator to Namibia Rachel Odede has reiterating the United Nations’ support in addressing challenges.
“Our partnership framework with the Government, the United Nations Partnership Framework 2019-2023, outlines our plan of action to ensure that we eradicate poverty and inequality. The Global Sustainable Development Goals are also clear, we must end poverty, protect the environment and ensure prosperity for all,” Odede said.
To mark the UN, Odede and her staff together with officials from the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture spent the morning with children and teachers at Humble Care Centre, an early childhood development centre in Goreangab on the outskirt of Windhoek.
Aluteni Christian Nangolo, who runs Humble Care Centre with his wife Josephina Tsamases, thanked the UN for the support and said that he hopes to provide the children with knowledge and skills, “We must water [children’s] minds and invest in them now, so that they can grow and have many successes.”
Giving children a solid foundation in the early years is the best investment society can make in ensuring they succeed in life. Hence UN Namibia donated educational materials to help build that foundation, and is committed to ensuring that no child is left behind, as outlined in United Nations Partnership Framework.
The UN also donated a healthy snack, two trees and a water tank, which will be delivered to the centre.
“Trees play an important role in keeping our air clean and reducing pollution. We hope that this tree is a reminder of the importance of protecting our environment,” said the United Nations Development Programme Representative Izumi Morota-Alakija.
Another group of staff members, led by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) Representative, Dennia Gayle and the UN Migration Agency Representative, Jeremias Mendes, spoke with the leaders of tomorrow at the International University of Management (IUM). In Namibia, the youth make up over 66% of the population and are an imperative force in sustainable development.
Farayi Zimudzi, the Food and Agricultural OrganizationRepresentative, along with Ruusa Mushimba, National Programme Coordinator from United Nations Office of Drugs and Crime (UNODC) led the group of staff members which shared a meal with senior citizens at Katutura Old Age Home, taking the time to listen to their stories and reminding them that they are important.
The final group, led by the World Health Organization Representative to Namibia Dr. Sagoe-Moses and the UNAIDS Country Director to Namibia, Dr. Tharcisse Barihuta, visited patients at the Central Hospital Children’s Cancer Ward.
The UN remains committed to upholding dignity and human rights for all people, protecting the planet and eradicating poverty, to ensure that no one is left behind.