Namibia Economist (Windhoek)

1 February 2013

Namibia: Young Mothers Do Not Despair - There Are Alternatives to Dumping

The Namibian Police handles around 19 cases of concealment of birth each year. Cases are also reported as murder or attempted murder, or some other offence depending on the situation while many of these cases go unreported.

The Legal Assistance Centre (LAC) with support from the British High Commission has launched a new initiative to help create awareness and help prevent baby dumping. The LAC has created a series of posters with information about alternatives to baby dumping.

According to Rachel Coomer, Public Outreach Manager for the Gender Research and Advocacy Project at the LAC, the objective of this campaign is to create awareness because baby dumping has become a problem. The message they want to bring across with this baby dumping campaign is basic "Do not do it".

"One radio station used to call me every time there was baby dumping wanting me to comment and I realised that I was saying the same things. I thought what is it that I really want to say to the public and I realised that it was basic. Don't do it. That is why we have the title "do not dump him" and "do not dump her". That is what we want to hammer home," she said.

She said, there is a lot of buzz around the initiative and that the public is very interested in the process but although the LAC would like to print as many posters as possible, this is a low budget initiative and funds are limited.

"We are hoping that maybe people would sponsor this project, people can join in. The whole purpose behind this project is the involvement of everybody. Although it is a LAC initiative, to make it work, we need people's baby photos or we would have my baby's photo and that is it," she said

"I also need community members to send me their photos. We are making another series of posters with high profile people showing them as a baby to encourage people to see a baby has potential. When this baby was born you did not know he would become a minister or an editor of a newspaper, so that is also coming out. Its about getting the message out there," she added.

She also told The Economist, that the response from the general public since the initiative was launched last week Thursday, has been great.

British High Commissioner, HE Marianne Young said: "I am delighted to support this striking campaign which I hope will raise awareness of what is a heartbreaking local problem and help provide desperate young mothers with more options available to avoid an unnecessary tragic end to unwanted pregnancies."

The idea of the project is that the LAC sends an electronic version of the poster to the parents who then circulate it amongst their friends and family to spread the message throughout Namibia in a way that standard mechanisms of communication cannot achieve.

Each poster is accompanied by a Facebook banner to increase the exposure of the message. See the LAC Facebook page. The LAC will also print hard copies of some of the posters for public distribution.

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