|21. September 2015
Poverty a social ill - Bishop Kameeta
The minister of poverty eradication and social welfare, Zephania Kameeta, says poverty is a social ill that takes away the dignity of the people and renders them hopeless.
Kameeta made these remarks in a speech that was delivered on his behalf by his deputy, Aino Kapewangolo, at the faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences' 7th annual research conference, organised by the University of Namibia (Unam) and New Era newspaper in Windhoek on Thursday.
The conference was held under the theme 'poverty eradication, citizenship & community empowerment'.
Kameeta said the Basic Income Grant would be an empowerment tool for the poor. This, he said, could lift them out of poverty.
“By giving them a small income, you reintegrate these people back into society. You give them hope, restore their dignity and, most importantly, give them a financial identity,” he said. Justifying the basic income social grant once more, Kameeta said although the grant has been criticised, he does not believe anyone would be complacent with N$100 or N$300, but could only feel empowered and want to do more.
He said people can visit the village of Otjivero for a testimony of empowerment BIG brought to that community.
The minister called on Unam and other institutions of higher learning to join hands with government, conduct research in all government efforts and programmes geared towards poverty eradication, identify gaps and propose workable solutions for sustainable poverty eradication strategies. “It is through platforms like these, that we share ideas on how best we can coordinate and implement these programmes to make a meaningful and tangible difference in the lives of the poor,” Kameeta said.
He also defended the idea of food banks that are also allegedly instilling laziness amongst the poor. The minister believes that while they are working on a solution, 'no one should go hungry or worse let to die from hunger”. United Nations resident coordinator and UNDP resident representative in Namibia Kiki Gbeho said although Namibia has a good story to tell, there are still many challenges that need to be addressed.
Gbeho pointed out that the country is still fighting inequality with one in every three people unemployed and youth unemployment standing at 52%. “Hunger and malnutrition remain a serious concern. Twenty four percent of children under the age of five are stunted as a result of vulnerability of people to drought and other climate-related shocks,” she said. Gbeho also challenged academic institutions in Namibia to continue focusing energy on building evidence-based, action-oriented research and analysis that will generate ideas to uplift poor people, and drive the agenda on poverty eradication. She also noted that many challenges are part of poverty, which she said breeds violence.
Twenty-three research papers were presented at the conference. These papers will be used as guiding documents for further research and will be made available to various stakeholders to use as a lead to alleviate poverty. The conference ends today. (The Namibian, Windhoek) A fresh interview with Minister Kameeta is to be found on this website, see INDABA, Indaba, Das letzte Heft