Legal Assistance Centre
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cover of comic alternatives to corporal punishment 1 cover of comic on alternatives to corporal punishment 2 cover of comic on how to claim maintenance cover of comic what to do if someone stops claiming maintenance cover of comic on withdrawing a rape case
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comic date rape
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comic gbv hivmental health comicSpeaking up comiclearner pregnancy policy comiccomic gbv hiv
comic school health school feeding programme and textbooks comic comic making school affordable take responsibility for your school comic comic social security benefits

Each comic is pre-tested. This involves holding workshops with community members to discuss with them their opinions about a rough draft of the cartoon. Changes are then made to the draft comic based on the comments we receive. The workshops provide excellent feedback for the development of the comics and are another means of providing education and awareness about the issues discussed in the comics.

Each comic is placed in the newspaper - the English and Oshiwambo versions in The Namibian, and the Afrikaans version in Die Republikein. The largest coverage is achieved through placement in The Nambian - the newspaper estimates that it has a readership of 320 000 on weekdays and 400 000 on a Friday. To place our publications as inserts means that we have instant national impact to almost one quarter of the population.

Placing the comics in the newspaper is an important means of dissemination. Namibia is a large country covering approximately 824 000 square kilometres and has a low population density of just two people per square kilometre. Practically, this means that getting information to the general population can be extremely problematic. Furthermore, a lack of resources in the country means that traditional places where one might access information such as a local library or other resource centres are few and far between. Neither is there an effective distribution network that the Legal Assistance Centre can use to channel its information. Therefore, the Legal Assistance Centre is mainly reliant on distributing its materials through workshops and delivery to centres such as police stations or regional Ministry offices when we travel. To have funds to disseminate materials through the newspaper is a major bonus.

The comic on What To Do If Someone Stops Paying Maintenance was distributed as an insert in The Namibian newspaper on Thursday 22 April 2010. A total of 31 500 comics were inserted. It is estimated that on a Thursday The Namibian has a readership of 315 000 people – this is nearly one quarter of the population of Namibia. In addition, the comic was discussed on the Namibian Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) breakfast television programme Good Morning Namibia by a member of GR&AP and briefly discussed later that afternoon on the NBC National radio programme Young and Cool.

The impact of our comic was quickly seen. We had given sms, email, fax and post contact details on the comic and as soon as the office opened we received feedback through all of these means. The comments ranged from a simple thank you to requests for more information.

This is a very beautiful story, we do have many many girls who are just suffering from their children while fathers are nowhere to be found, It must be advertised on all newspaper, on TV, to let all poor girls to know this, then no children will suffer anymore!

Many people also asked for reassurance that they could apply for maintenance in their specific situation. The sms line was most effective in communicating with the public. This was the first time we had used an sms line and in just one day we received 160 text messages from 103 people. We received text messages from 8am in the morning to 11pm at night. We received questions from people who need to claim maintenance and from people wanting to know if they should be paying maintenance

The most positive story of the day was a person who text at 11am in the morning to ask how to claim for maintenance. We briefly explained that she should go to the Magistrate’s Court. Later in the afternoon we received news that she had done just that. It is just one response, but it shows that the materials we produce and the support that we provide has direct impact on people’s lives.

A sample of some of the positive comments we received is shown below (spelling corrected where needed for clarity):

  • Educating young men and woman in this way really grabs my imagination, well done.
  • The comic is very educative and informative. The information is simple and to the point. Well done.
  • I would like to thank you for bringing out such an educational comic, this is very needed in our community.
  • I think the comic strip is an excellent way of getting vital information to the public! Congratulations on a message well presented! I appreciated the respectful manner in which all the parties were portrayed while still emphasizing their rights and responsibilities.