Minister encourages young women and girls

The Minister of Gender Equality and Child Welfare, Doreen Sioka has called upon young women to start small to medium enterprises (SMEs), given the country’s current dire economic situation.

27 February 2018 | Education

Staff reporter

Sioka made the call during the handover ceremony of certificates to 90 SME owners who completed courses in business, financial literacy, customer care and food hygiene through Women’s Action for Development (WAD) in the capital last week.

“Those who sell kapana and vetkoek are seen as insignificant, but SMEs are the backbone of our economy and during such tough economic times, we depend on them as they add value,” Sioka said.

Sioka emphasised that according to her if more women are financially independent, it will reduce Gender Based Violence (GBV) in the country as GBV in most cases is caused by women depending on men financially.

Referring to the 2016 Labour Force Survey, Sioka said unemployment in Namibia affects women more than men as female unemployment stood at 38,8 per cent compared to men at 29,8 per cent.

One of the beneficiaries, Aina Niiwale has been selling traditional food and soft drinks at Single Quarters Open Market for the past 18 years without any skill development in bookkeeping and budgeting.

“The initiative is very helpful as now I know how to keep records, deal with customers professionally and how to create a conducive environment for my four employees,” said Niiwale. She noted that often people mock those in small business despite such businesses uplifting the living standard of families.

The three-day training was sponsored by the Coca Cola Namibia Bottling Company through their initiative called 5by20 which is the company’s global commitment to enable economic empowerment of five million women entrepreneurs across its value chain by 2020.

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