OTJIWARONGO - Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Doreen Sioka recently handed over income-generating equipment valued at just over N$311, 000 to 25 needy Namibians from Otjozondjupa Region.
The initiative falls under the Income Generating Activity (IGA) grant in the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare’s Community Empowerment Directorate. The grant supports local entrepreneurs and unemployed Namibians by supporting existing and up and coming business projects.
After a competitive application process, several projects received support, including enterprises in gardening, joinery, baking, upholstery, salon, brick making, weaving and handcrafting.
At the handover, Sioka urged the IGA beneficiaries to manage their businesses successfully to increase their earning potential and improve their livelihoods. She advised them to take care of the items, refrain from selling them, and to guard them against unnecessary vandalism, theft and malicious damage.
“When micro entrepreneurs prosper, we are assured of having made a dent in combating poverty, thus contributing to the spirit of Harambee Prosperity Plan,” said Sioka.
Sara Simeon, 32, who received salon equipment, described the experience as a dream come true.
“I am very happy beyond words. I feel so lucky to be selected among hundreds. What a blessing,” she said.
Otjozondjupa Regional Governor Otto Ipinge commended the ministry for the initiative, describing it as strategic and tailored for effective youth development throughout the region.
“I am confident that these materials and equipment will have the capacity to develop innovative solutions, not only for business purposes but for the greater good of society where they operate,” Ipinge said.
“Go and work hard and create employment. Don’t disappoint us. If you need assistance, we are here to help you. Government is doing its part. You must also do your part,” the governor added.
Ipinge pleaded with the private sector to move in the same direction by doing everything possible to nurture young people and open their prospects for the future.
He expressed his determination to continue establishing and supporting community-based and employment creation projects which specifically target unemployed and vulnerable communities.
“Let us all join hands as partners to support youth entrepreneurship, self-employment, and youth-led businesses,” concluded the governor.
* Rauna Shikomba is an Information Officer at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (MICT) Otjozondjupa Region.