WINDHOEK - An activist who has had enough of the killings and acts of gender-based violence (GBV) is embarking on a campaign this year focusing on changing the public mindset against all forms of violence and spousal abuse.
The campaign starts this Saturday in Khomas Region, including suburbs, as well as Groot Aub and Rehoboth. The campaign will then be rolled out nation-wide.
The theme of the campaign is, Putting an End to Violence.
The initiator of No to Gender-Based Death and Violence (NO to GBD/V), Zackary Itodo, said the campaign would focus on domestic violence, child abuse, child neglect and alcohol and drug abuse. Itodo is already involved with the community and has been attending to incidences and further referring them to relevant authorities, including the police. The campaign will encourage members of the public to speak out when they notice children being abused by parents, notify authorities when observing the slightest sign of violence, encourage couples to go for counselling especially women who depend on men, and discourage men from perpetrating GBV acts.
During the campaign Itodo will be accompanied by members of the Namibian Police Force, City Police and social workers from the ministries of health and social services and gender equality.
Itodo made the decision to dedicate his time to fight GBV on his birthday last year.
“I want to be a blessing to the society. What really forced me was the death of (Cheryl) Avihe Ujaha. That was the last straw,” he added. Avihe, 9, went missing from her home in Katutura and her violated and dismembered body was found two days later in a riverbed, last year, in a crime that has not yet been solved.
“What prompted me to go into this… I studied the situation and realised there is a need for intervention and not just campaigning after someone is murdered but prevent these crimes from being committed,” stated Itodo.
Itodo noted that GBV in settlements such as Havana was high but it has apparently gone down with his intervention. He adds that they will focus on Okahandja Park informal settlement during the campaign.
Asked if there has been a broader change with his intervention, he responded in the positive. “People have been calling for assistance, people are getting enlightened and there is an improvement.”