GENDER RESEARCH & ADVOCACY PROJECT
GR&AP regularly conducts research to assess the effectiveness of existing laws and to make suggestions for future law reform. GR&AP has produced major research reports on the following issues (see publications page):
- Marital property
- Child maintenance
- Affirmative action for women in government
- Domestic workers
- Recognition of customary marriage
- Domestic violence
- Child and vulnerable witnesses
- Widows and communal land reform
- Commercial sex work
2. LAW REFORM
GR&AP has been involved in the actual drafting of the following pieces of legislation:
- Combating of Rape Act 8 of 2000
- Combating of Domestic Violence Act 4 of 2003
- Maintenance Act 9 of 2003
- Criminal Procedure Amendment Act 24 of 2003 (to assist vulnerable witnesses)
- Children’s Status Act 6 of 2006
- draft Child Care and Protection Act (expected to go to Parliament in 2011)
- draft Divorce Act
- draft Marital Property Reform Act
GR&AP has provided influential input on specific aspects of the following pieces of legislation:
- Social Security Act 34 of 1994
- Married Person Equality Act 1 of 1996
- Affirmative Action (Employment) Act 29 of 1998
- Communal Land Reform Act 5 of 2002
- Labour Act 11 of 2007
- draft Recognition of Customary Marriage Bill
Read articles from our archive (1999): Gender and law reform in Namibia; (2003): Domestic violence and maintenance - two big problems and two new laws.
New gender-equitable laws are not useful unless they are properly understood and implemented. GR&AP is committed to empowering women by educating them about their legal rights and responsibilities.
GR&AP also trains service providers (such as magistrates, prosecutors, social workers and police) on new laws, and also organises workshops to train trainers so that they can inform their communities about these laws. In addition, GR&AP conducts advocacy training in order to empower communities to advocate for their own rights.
In 2009 1789 people attended workshops, conferences or presentations conducted by GR&AP at 68 different events. This is an average of 5.5 events per month.
4. PUBLICATIONS AND AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
The GR&AP has produced a large number of educational materials to assist and increase public understanding, including:
- Summaries of laws in simple-language
- Newspaper and magazine articles
- Television 'commercials'
- A television documentary
- Several short films
- Feature-length films
- Radio "soap operas"
- School murals
- A website
In 2009 GR&AP distributed over 174 000 publications. A total of 63 articles submitted by GR&AP or written about GR&AP project were in the media. This is an average of 5 pieces of coverage per month.
GR&AP staff have a good working relationships with the NGO community in Namibia, and often work on lobbying and advocacy campaigns alongside a range of other groups.
One aspect of our work is to explain proposed laws in accessible language, and to assist civil society to make an effective input into such proposals. We work or have worked with many organisations in Namibia including the Multi-Media Campaign on Violence Against Women and Children (an umbrella group for a range of organisations working in the field of violence, now defunct), the Namibian Women’s Manifesto Network (now defunct), Sister Namibia, Women’s Action for Development, Ombetje Yehinge Organisation, Women’s Solidarity, the University of Namibia and the NANGOF Gender Sector (an umbrella body for NGOs working in the field of gender).
We also regularly work in partnership with government on specific projects. We have a particularly close working relationship with the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Gender Equality and Child Welfare (previously the Ministry of Women Affairs and Child Welfare), the Law Reform and Development Commission and the Woman & Child Protection Units (police stations which specialise in violence against women and children). We have served on several working committees of the Law Reform and Development Commission, and we are members of the Cabinet-mandated High-level Strategic Committee on Domestic Violence and Violence in General.
Second Millennium Development Goals Report: Namibia 2008
By the National Planning Commission
The following quote is reported in the mid-term review of Namibia’s progress to meet the millennium development goals:
“Several gender-related non-governmental organisations can be found in Namibia. To name a few, Namibia National Women’s Organisation (NANAWO) is working on gender issues. The Legal Assistance Centre is a driving force behind gender-specific law reforms. Sister Namibia is an organisation focusing on women’s rights, and has as its mandate to eliminate patriarchy and to encourage gender equality. Namibian Men for Change was the first male-driven initiative addressing gender issues in Namibia. Since then other organisations such as the White Ribbon Campaign Namibia has followed. The White Ribbon Campaign Namibia is a men’s organisation that is working to end men’s violence against women and children through education, discussions and actions.”