Face of Namibia expo launched

The Face of Namibia was created for small and large businesses to sell their goods, but also to educate and help the community with the social evils they are faced with.

18 February 2019 | Events

Mary Ankonga, Face of Namibia founder: It’s not about the money; it’s about assisting the community.

Leandrea Louw- The fourth annual Face of Namibia expo is set to take place from 27 to 30 March in front of the Kuisebmond Stadium in Walvis Bay.

Mary Ankonga founded the Face of Namibia beauty pageant and re-branded it as an expo in 2016 with the aim on empowering women and upcoming entrepreneurs and as a means to fight against poverty.

About 200 exhibitors have already registered to participate in the expo.

“This year we are donating ten stalls to exhibitors to display their products free of charge. Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are more than welcome to join the expo. I am here to help and not make a profit.”

The Namibia Planned Parenthood Association (Nappa) will once again join the expo, along with social workers that will provide professional counselling. Emphasis will again be placed on providing counselling to men and women who are victims of gender-based violence.

“We need to understand gender-based violence and not only talk about it only when women are hurt. Let’s engage so that we can better fight it and not just turn it into data, numbers, memorials, court cases or another funeral.”

“The PrEp pill, used to prevent HIV infection, will be available at the expo along with free HIV testing. There will also be a nurse at the expo to educate on prenatal care and do check-ups for pregnant ladies. Through the expo we also want to teach women to access formal education. The government has adult literacy programmes in place at no charge. Through these programmes our women can empower themselves and later on further their education at Namcol, IUM, Unam and even Nust.”

Ankongo called on the coastal community to support the local exhibitors at the expo.

“It’s not about the money; it’s about the community and for a good cause.”

Speaking at the launch Jordan Kamati, a Grade 12 learner at Kuisebmond Secondary School, said men who abuse women do so only to exert power.

“A year ago, I sat down with my little sister and I told her to never let a man make her feel any less of a human being. You are a rock and as a young woman you have courage. Believe in yourself and stand up for yourself. If women can stand up for themselves,as well as the men suffering in silence, we can kick gender-based violence to the curb. Empower yourself, educate yourself, and make use of platforms such as these expos.”

Hilly Shamulele, a volunteer at Face of Namibia, said when it comes to gender-based violence society tends to only focus on the victims and not the perpetrators.

“There was recently a group established called the Namibian Men for Gender Justice in partnership with the Women’s for Action Development and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung to join efforts by key stakeholders in the fight against gender-based violence . We tend to only focus on the girl-child and never the boy-child. Men are always considered the perpetrators of gender based violence, but no one asks what causes this behavior. Men are also victims of gender-based violence and through this group we are encouraging them to speak up."

“We need both public and private enterprises involved in this organisation to fight against gender-based violence. We need the churches, the pastors even the shebeen owners to be involved. Especially now, in the tough economic climate, our men are losing their jobs due to retrenchments and cut-backs and this frustrates them that they are not able to support their families. Let us join hands, and fight gender-based violence on all fronts.”

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