The Covid-19 pandemic has drastically changed employment situations for workers everywhere. For public servants such as Manfred Katjirijova, the government has not only safeguarded their safety, but also economic security during the crisis.
Katjirijova proffered the argument during an interview with New Era this week. He said job stability within government is relatively stable, compared to profit-based companies which are prone to volatile employment conditions while public sector organisations have the stability of government backing.
“A good example is when there was an economic downfall during the Covid-19 period, government employees were never stressed, as compared to the private and parastatal employees, some of whom were retrenched,” he said.
Katjirijova is an administrative officer in the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication, and Social Welfare under the Directorate Administration and General Services, Sub-Division: Auxiliary Services. He is one of the few male administrative professionals to have found a niche for themselves in the female-dominated field, a career he is said to be passionate about.
According to him, passion is a crucial element in any high-performing organisation, and is common among people who take their work seriously. Pride and passion can unlock discretionary efforts, underpin resilience under pressure, and inspire others to join the civil service.
Katjiriova was born in Windhoek, and grew up in the Epukiro constituency of the Omaheke region. He started primary school at Okovimburu, and completed matric at Eldorado Secondary School in Windhoek.
He joined the public service on 22 September 2008, two years after completing grade 12. Katjiriova said it has been his dream to work in the public service, the reason being the fact that the government provides opportunities for growth for its employees.
“To be honest, I never knew that I would end up spending the biggest part of my life as a dedicated civil servant, and still doing what I love most,” he noted.
As an administrator, Katjirijova’s responsibilities “include stock control, budgeting and handling of financial matters of the sub-division, handling personal matters, and capacity-building, which also includes identifying the training needs of the staff as well as planning and allocating duties to subordinates. My job is to ensure that staff are equipped with the required resources to execute their duties”.
“Administration is about ensuring that there is an efficient performance of all departments in an organisation, as well as connecting links between the central government, seniors and the employees,” he adds.
Katjiriova said what he finds fulfilling about working for this ministry is the direct benefits that they usher to the public.
He points out the successful and effective implementation of programmes of the ministry that are aimed at empowering and improving the living conditions of the most vulnerable members of society such as the poor, the needy, persons with disabilities, marginalised communities, women and children, as some of the enjoyable work.
“It is satisfying to see our ministry looking after the welfare of a Namibian child at those established shelter homes where children are taken care of, as well as offering grants to orphans and vulnerable children countrywide,” adds Katjiriova.
Besides that, he also highlights early child development as well as the capacity-building of educators at kindergartens and day-care centres as some of the victories of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare.
When asked about his take on public perceptions that people working for public institutions are unproductive and inefficient, Katjirijova rubbished the misconception that service delivery in the civil service leaves much to be desired.
“Indeed a misconception. But of course, if your services, duties and resources are thinly spread, one’s effectiveness could easily be misjudged. There is indeed room for improvement for us as civil servants. If we can all just be servants of the people and implement the good programmes of the government, we can indeed attain the country’s common goal of prosperity for all,” he reasoned.
Katjirijova describes himself as an enthusiastic and self-motivated office administrator, who is always keen to provide administrative support to his ministry and its agencies. As if that is not enough, the seemingly energetic workhorse ventures into further education.
“I am busy bettering my career in the teaching profession, and my aim is to improve the lives of the Namibian people by providing quality education to Namibian children at large,” he said.