“It is rare for a private company to make its corporate social responsibility focus a Civil Society Organisation” said Linekela Paul Nanyeni, the Executive National Director of the Namibian National Association of the Deaf (NNAD), This he said when sharing about his organisations relationship with long-term private sector partner, Omualu Fishing Company based in Walvisbay.
“ Omualu has been a constant support for our work and we appreciate and value their continued support through their CSR strategy.
An optimistic Nanyeni views private sector- civil society relations as a way to ensure that CSOs become sustainable and believes that it demonstrates that Namibians are taking charge of their issues and are cooperating to solve them together.
“Omualu has outdone themselves as they employ some of our members as well.
I would like to encourage others in the private sector to follow suit to alleviate or minimize unemployment amongst the deaf in our society”.
According to Nanyeni, besides Omualu, a handful of private companies as well government and foreign agencies, have also partnered with his organisation, albeit short term, however they are most appreciated as well.
Nanyeni was amongst the guests at a lunch for development partners organised by the Finnish Embassy on the 30th January in Windhoek.
Finnish Ambassador Pirrko-Liisa Kyöstilä informed her guests that “the space for development work is shifting and taking new forms.
Resources are increasingly directed towards economic development, shifting activities from aid to trade”.
Responding to the question on the sustainability of CSOs in Namibia, it was agreed that it requires multifaceted efforts. An obvious thorn in the flesh for CSOs, is the country’s status as an upper middle-income country, which is not reflective of the wealth inequality many Namibians are familiar with.
However the greatest injury consequent of this status is that donors are redirecting funding from aid to trade, which since 2017 resulted in a decline of CSO sustainability in Namibia as motivated by a paper published by the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR).
The Ambassador further highlighted the need for anti-corruption efforts within Civil Society. She motivated that considering that President Hage Geingob has declared 2019 as the year of accountability, it is equally timely to discuss corruption in the context of Civil Society in Namibia.
To that effect, corruption expert Dr Johannes Coetzee motivated that “NGOs fulfil an extremely critical role in developing Namibia”.
He also stated that access to information is essential for the work of NGOs to enable them to influence and steer national debate.
Hence, denial of access to information is in essence a form of corruption since the work of CSOs span across sectors and often where government efforts fall short, civil society fills the gap.