NKURENKURU - Social ills affecting the daily lives of Kavango West communities were laid bare on the table during a recent human rights campaign held in Nkurenkuru.
During a dialogue session held as part of the campaign, a chief social worker from the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare Kavango West regional office, Brenda Mwiya highlighted some of the social ill cases mostly encountered in the region.
“We encounter teenage pregnancy which is very high, we also encounter early and child marriages, rape of minors, domestic violence, gender-based violence, baby dumping and suicide,” Mwiya mentioned as she responded to the question of the state of Kavango West in terms of human rights and social ills.
She also said stigma among HIV infected adolescents in schools also exist hence the victims default from taking their antiretroviral (ARV) medications consistently, more especially when they are hostel boarders.
“We also encounter some few cases of child trafficking and then child labour,” she added.
Mwiya said with dismay that as much as they do their best working hand-in-hand with the Namibian police’s Gender-Based Violence Investigation Unit (GBVIU) attending to cases, they are faced with a few challenges that almost undermines their capacity such as a lack of a one-stop-centre where they can work together with the police attending to cases fast and witnesses not reporting the evil deeds.
She thus urged parents to be involved especially when dealing with teenage pregnancy cases, saying that at times parents also give their girl children the liberty to feel they had grown up when they reach puberty stage.
Mwiya called for communities to stand up and report cases, construction of a one-stop-centre and government shelters for victims.
One panelist, Vilho Mukuve, a student from the International University of Management’s (IUM) Nkurenkuru campus said students resort to alcohol abuse due to depression that results from financial difficulties.
He further mentioned that a lack of recreational places and social education for the youth in the region is also a contributing factor.
Mpasi Haingura, the Director of General Services at the regional council was in total disagreement with Mukuve’s sentiments.
“The excuse of saying there are no entertainment places, it’s fine, we understand it but does the absence of an entertainment place let you now take a decision that you will regret forever in your life?” Haingura rhetorically questioned.
He added that students should have a purpose of living as it is very important and it is better to stay away from bad activities than to regret later.
The police’s gender-based violence sub-division in the region provided statistics reported to the office for this year.
It shows that rape is at 14 cases, there are 15 cases of common assault, 14 cases of assault with intent to cause grievous bodily harm and 12 cases of assault through threatening.
Meanwhile, statistics obtained from the primary health care supervisor’s office for Nankudu district which has 12 health facilities indicates that a total of 302 pregnancies or antenatal visits of people between the ages of 15 to 19 have been recorded from January to the end of July this year.
*Stefanus Nambara is an Information Officer in the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology (Mict) stationed at Nkurenkuru in Kavango West