OYO’s fight against GBV

By Shallot Mohutege

AS a beneficiary of the MTC knock-out project, the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) dance troupe performed its repertoire on Gender-Based Violence (GBV) from January to mid-March across the //Kharas region.
The OYO team which received N$200 000, took to schools in //Kharas to conduct a survey-based research on issues surrounding GBV.
OYO director, Phillipe Talavera said, “We did a lot with the knockout funds in the //Kharas region. We started well in January to mid-March with interventions in schools; however, with the closure of the schools mid-March due toCovid-19, we had to change our approach mid-way and started developing educational videos which aired 91 times – thanks to NBC-between April and July.
“Before the pandemic OYO had started to utilise some of its funds to assist the //Kharas region in responding to Gender Based Violence cases and further trained 13 youths across the region to assist with the cases.

Confidente understands that the organisation assisted 379 schools and collaborated with Debmarine Namibia and Namdeb Foundation to produce five short films to teach learners on issues relating to GBV.
Talavera said OYO carried out a survey with 13 schools to confirm statistics on GVB matters in the towns within the region and found that five percent were of an extreme nature, but victims opted to keep quiet as they would either be too scared or ashamed to seek for help.
“People are afraid of speaking out because of the stigma surrounding GBV,” stated Talavera.

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From information received during its survey, OYO found that 22 percent of females in the town of Luderitz are closely related to victims of GBV as compared to 15 percent of males and around 40 percent of the young respondents directly affected by GBV.
The organisation also revealed that another challenge some
//Kharas residents are currently facing is abusive fathers who force their children to look for money through sex. The issue of sexual exploitation is at a high rate and the alleged perpetrators include members of the defence force, police officers and teachers who are referred to as “sugar daddies”.

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Talavera said this would not have been possible without the funding from the MTC knockout project.

“We are glad we got that money, it came a little late but we are grateful, now that our research is done, we look forward to post Covid-19, where we can do so much more.”
He added that he is hoping that things go back to normal so that OYO can continue with their face to face interactions with learners, and also carry on with their repertoires and informative discussions and hopefully get solutions from the learners themselves regarding this topical matter.
The MTC Knockout project which was held last year was aimed at funding four organisations that advocate for GBV. Besides OYO, the other beneficiaries were Monica Gender Violence Solution (MGVS), Ecumenical Social Diaconate Action (ESDA), and Namibia Rural Women Assembly (NRWA).