9 October 2012

Namibia: Poverty in Namibia Wears a Woman's Face

Windhoek — Poverty in Namibia wears a woman's face, says the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, Magdalena Sepúlveda, who completed her eight-day visit yesterday.

She visited communities in the Khomas, Kavango and Karas regions to gather first hand information on the situation of people living in extreme poverty. Her visit also served to familiarize herself with and understand initiatives by the authorities to improve the living conditions of people living in 'extreme poverty'.

Sharing her observations with journalists and members of civil society yesterday, Sepúlveda said in the Kavango Region she witnessed the fierce struggle of poor women to feed their children. In Windhoek, she visited the Havana informal settlement, where women also shared their stories.

"Women shared with me their sense of disillusionment. While they try hard to overcome poverty, they feel that the system is constantly working against them," she said.

In Keetmanshoop, she met with indigenous people and a landless community of mainly female-headed households.

Furthermore, the UN Special Rapporteur noted that unemployment is more severe in rural areas compared to urban areas. "The percentage of poverty in rural areas is almost three times higher than in urban areas. This is leading to increased internal migration to urban areas and it is changing the fabric of the Namibian society," she said.

Sepúlveda will submit a detailed report to U.N. Human Rights Council in June next year.

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