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MEDIA STATEMENT

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WHEN INMATES LEAD THE PATH 20/07/2019  For several years now the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) has been working with offenders in various correctional facilities in the country. Dr Philippe Talavera, OYO’s director, explained ‘the aim of the ‘in and out’ project is to address issues around HIV with offenders. It is actually a difficult topic. Since sodomy is still classified as a crime in Namibia, we don’t have condoms in correctional facilities. Yet we have many young men imprisoned for several years. Most are at an age when they are sexually active. How can we deal with needs and wants in this case? How can we make sure people make informed choices? How can we ultimately promote the rights to sexual and reproductive health to all Namibians, including those behind bars? Those are some of the questions behind this project.’ As part of the project, OYO organizes regularly one-week Arts workshops...
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OYO becomes a Recognized Partner of GlobalGiving

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Ombetja Yehinga Organisation announced today that they have graduated from the GlobalGiving Accelerator program, gaining entry into the GlobalGiving marketplace and becoming a recognized partner of GlobalGiving. As part of the Accelerator, Ombetja Yehinga Organisation successfully raised $7,624 from 57 unique individual donors to support their project, "Educate 5,000 Namibian teenagers on HIV using Arts." "We're thrilled to have Ombetja Yehinga Organisation as part of our community. Ombetja Yehinga Organisation has met our rigorous vetting standards for trust and community support, and we're committed to providing tools, training, and support as they learn, grow and become more effective," said Alix Guerrier, CEO of GlobalGiving. "GlobalGiving donors value the opportunity to support nonprofits like Ombetja Yehinga Organisation, knowing that they'll get regular updates about how their donations are put to work." "Namibia is one of the countries most affected by the HIV pandemic. We have put massive efforts to curb the impact....
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The OYO dance troupe tour Otjozondjupa region

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As part of our ‘San Matter’ project, funded by the Embassy of Germany, the OYO dance troupe had the opportunity to visit 12 schools in the Otjozondjupa region, performing to 5,206 people (of which 2,649 were San learners). The troupe performed three pieces: ‘Bin Boy’, created in 2017, looking at cultural discrimination ‘I am hungry’, created in 2018, looking at how the lack of food in some San homesteads impact choices young teenagers make when in school ‘I have a choice’, also created in 2018, looks at how child marriage and pressure put on San girls to start child bearing soon after they start menstruate impacts on their education All pieces were well received and allowed the schools to start discussion around those topics. Most San children enroll in schools but don’t remain in school. In this particular region, many San children think that they only need to get to grade...
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OYO is crowdfunding

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We all know the situation in Namibia is getting harder. On the one hand Namibia has been classified as upper-middle income country, which means that much less donor funding if coming to the country. On the other hand Namibia is in fully recession, which means that local funding is not available either. Fundraising, in particular for NGOs, is therefore extremely difficult. In an effort to diversify its source of funding, OYO is trying crowdfunding. It has registered with GlobalGiving, a reputable crowdfunding platform. It took upon the challenge to try and fundraise US$5000 between 10 and 28 June: this is actually a criteria from GlobalGiving to become permanent member. Of course it will be very difficult to achieve, but OYO has faith its support system will step in. We therefore call on all OYO supporters and friends to help either by making a donation or by putting in a good word...
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Karasburg Youth Group goes on tour

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The Karasburg Youth Group has been trained thanks to support from the Horizon Trust. Fifteen young people just toured the Karas region to give a strong message to learners in the region. Their show focuses on the importance of education. They performed to eleven schools and for two communities, including their own. They reached 3,847 people of which 3,606 are learners. In Karasburg, the group also had the chance to interact with the local police station. Together with police officers, they took part in an evening patrol to check that local bars were not selling alcohol to under-aged children. During the community show, parents took the opportunity to thank OYO for coming to their far away and often neglected village and teach valuable lessons to their youth. Schools found that the information shared by the youth was most relevant. The lifeskills teacher from Karasburg Combined School, Mrs Shikongo, reported that ‘all...
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‘Well Wish Ya’ Trailer

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On 27 March 2019, the OYO Dance Troupe premiered ‘Well Wish Ya’ at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN), featuring the work of Internationally Acclaimed visual artist Kevork Mourad. Elliott Augustine, UK-based dancer, together with Nikhita Winkler, West Uarije, Daniel Kuhlmann and LeClue Job, joined the OYO Dance Troupe. Thirteen students of the Nikhita Winkler Dance Theatre project complete the cast.
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Learning from inmates

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In April 2019 the OYO dance troupe had a chance to perform to inmates in six correctional facilities (Windhoek, Luderitz, Hardap, Walvis Bay, Oluno and E. Shikongo) as part of its ‘In and Out’ project, funded by OSISA. OYO took this chance to ask 122 male inmates for their opinion/ experience when it comes to HIV. A questionnaire was distributed after the performance of the dance troupe to inmates in the presence of and under the supervision of the various facilities’ officers. The survey shows that The Ministry of Safety and Security is clearly doing very well in areas such as testing and counselling as reported by inmates themselves. However more work still needs to be done to ensure inmates living with HIV can keep their status confidential and choose when and to whom to disclose their status. Finally more work can be done to ensure our correctional facilities are safe...
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Small successes that Matter

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The ‘San Matter’ is a project of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO Trust). The objective of the project is to encourage San children who enroll in schools to remain in school. There’s little data to go by as baseline surveys. The OSISA Group report “Rethinking Indigenous Education,” may be a bit outdated, but stated that ‘only 67 percent of San children in the country enroll in school. And only 1 percent of those children complete secondary school.’ The ‘San Matter’ project ran in two regions (Ohangwena and Omaheke) from 2016 to 2018 thanks to support from the Embassy of Finland. Twelve schools per region were invited to take part in a series of comprehensive interventions. We found that 93,5% of the San girls part of the project in the Omaheke region and 88,1% in the Ohangwena region re-enrolled in school in 2019. Furthermore 86,2% of the San girls part of the...
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‘Well Wish Ya’ premieres at the National Theatre of Namibia

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The 10-member dance troupe of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) premiered on 27 March 2019 ‘Well Wish Ya’ at the National Theatre of Namibia (NTN). In 2008 OYO had its first dance project at the NTN, titled ‘the Namibia Odysseus’. Following the success of that production, OYO got an opportunity to establish the OYO dance troupe in 2009. For ten years now OYO has trained and nurtured young dancers. OYO is the first, and currently only, troupe in Namibia with dancers on its payroll. To celebrate its tenth anniversary, OYO decided to come back to the NTN, where everything had started. ‘Well Wish Ya’ features the work of Internationally Acclaimed visual artist Kevork Mourad. Kevork is a visual artist of Syrian/Armenian heritage currently living in the States. He has exhibited in the US, Canada, Syria, Japan, France, Qatar, Dubai and Germany. He is currently discussing opportunities to exhibit his work at...
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Young people and social media

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OYO took the chance of its tour of the dance troupe to the Karas region, as part of its ‘growing strong in the Karas region’ program, to find out more about social media and young people. A one-pager was subsequently prepared, featuring some interesting data.
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OYO dance troupe presents its program at the Warehouse Theatre

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The 12-member dance troupe of the Ombetja Yehinga Organisation (OYO) premiered on Wednesday 13 February 2019 ‘A different me’ at the warehouse theatre. It was a chance for the dance troupe to also present its 2019 program. Dr Philippe Talavera, OYO director and choreographer, explained ‘the dance troupe is turning 10 years old this year. For ten years, we have been able to sustain having dancers on our payroll. To celebrate, we will have an exciting international collaboration at the National Theatre of Namibia in March. We will work alongside renown Syrian visual artist Kevork Mourad and invite guest dancers such as Nikhita Winkler and West Uarije.’ The OYO dance troupe is well-known for the work it does in schools to create social awareness. This year, the troupe was asked to address the issue of social media dating ‘more and more young people have access to social media’, explains Talavera ‘but...
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Salute is touring the South

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OYO’s DVD ’Salute’ will be touring the South of the country. Based on those testimonies from inmates, and written in collaboration with inmates at the Windhoek Correctional Facility, OYO produced ‘Salute’. The film was premiered last year in Windhoek and got many people talking. Carlito (Adriano Visagie, winner best male actor in a Theatre Play, NTFA[1] 2017) is a young Namibian man who is sentenced to five years imprisonment because of fraud. Nothing can prepare him for his new life in custody. Naïve, he gets lured in the group of the General (Monray Garoeb), a dangerous criminal who rules over his cell. The gang culture in jail was born in South Africa. It reached Namibia as far back as in the 1980s. While some elements are common between Namibia and South Africa, this film is a Namibian story, written with Namibians for Namibians. This year the DVD will be presented during...
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OYO celebrates UHC Day

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Each year the Universal Health Coverage Day is celebrated on 12 December. This year, OYO celebrated in Windhoek Informal Settlement with a performance from the OYO dance troupe, a speech by the WHO acting representative and various activities. The Walvis Bay Corridor Group was present to offer free HIV testing. Interviews were conducted with audiences to understand what they think about our health services in Namibia.   Download PDF File Here
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567 Hits

OYO celebrates World AIDS Day

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Thanks to support from UNAIDS, UNICEF and UNESCO, OYO could undertake various activities around the 2018 World AIDS Day. In the Khomas region, it had campaigns in Windhoek Informal Settlements. Both the OYO dance troupe and the Windhoek youth group performed, NAPPA clinic was present to offer free HIV testing, various activities were organised. In the Kunene region, a tour was organised and OYO celebrated the 01st of December in Opuwo, during a ceremony with Dr Thomas Shapumba, Chief Medical Officer, Ms Tapuwa Mutseyekwa, UNICEF and His Workship the Mayor of Opuwo, Mr Albert Tjiuma.   
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Child Marriage in Namibia: A case study of the Kavango East and Zambesi regions

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How can we stop child marriage in Namibia? Get involved in the discussion with OYO. Let us know in particular what you think about the fact that 12% of the boys interviewed in the Kavango East and Zambesi regions believe it is right for parents to force their daughters (in other words their sisters) to marry? What can we do to change that? Thank you to CFLI for supporting this project.         Download PDF File Here
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