SUN donation sheds light on darker issue

Every African child matters
The Students' Union of Namibia spent the Day of the African Child with homeless children on the streets of Katutura.
Irene Van Der Walt
Executives of the Students’ Union of Namibia (SUN) commemorated the Day of the African Child in accordance with the theme of this year’s celebrations – ‘Eliminating Harmful Practices Affecting Children’.

The group took to the streets of Katutura in Windhoek with the union’s national secretary for gender and social welfare Vapanguleni Markus, to engage with homeless children and uncover the root causes that caused them to leave school. They also donated food parcels to the children.

“They said when parents passed away no one supported them; some said they have been bullied because of them being 15 and in grade five; some said they left because they decided to look for work to feed themselves,” SUN president Bernhard Kavau said.

Shining light on staggering statistics

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) noted that Namibia is an upper middle-income country, with an estimated 42.3% of its population being undernourished. This primarily due to a notorious poverty rate.

According to the Namibia Multidimensional Poverty Index report, launched by the Namibia Statistics Agency last year, more than half of Namibians live in multidimensional poverty.

According to the report, children aged between zero and 17 suffer poverty disproportionally to adults, with 51.3% of children living in poverty.

Almost half of the Namibian population lives in multidimensional poverty. The San communities and those from the Kavango and Zambezi regions are the poorest, with very little access to sanitation, electricity, transport, housing and food.

The director general of the National Planning Commission, Obeth Kandjoze, said serious intervention is needed to neutralise this issue in Namibia.

Uplifting people

“These findings open a platform for dialogue with the aim to redirect our planning and spending accordingly. Working in silos will not enable us to achieve our goals. Our ultimate aim is to uplift our people from dehumanising poverty and inequalities,” he said.

In 2019, Namibia ranked 130th of 189 countries on the Human Development Index and in 2020, the country ranked 70th of 107 countries on the Global Hunger Index.

WFP noted in March that over 90% of hospital admissions for severe acute malnutrition are children under the age of five from marginalised backgrounds in the Omaheke Region.

With the majority of the Namibian population dependent on agriculture to make a living, erratic rainfall and frequent flooding as well as severe droughts make for a shaky foundation.

Due to this, Namibia imports roughly 60% of its food, leaving an already poor population vulnerable to external price adjustments.