USAID began its assistance in the democracy and governance (DG) sector in 1995, working with the Namibian Parliament. The overarching objective of this partnership was to “increase the accountability of the Parliament to all Namibian citizens” with focus on the following goals:
- To enhance the skills of parliamentarians as legislators and representatives of citizens;
- To increase opportunities for citizen participation in the legislative process; and
- To increase public advocacy by NGOs and civic groups in national and/or media fora.
From 2004 to 2012, the USAID DG program sharpened its focus on the interface between Namibian citizens and their elected representatives, in order to improve citizens’ understanding of their rights as well as government’s responsiveness and accountability.
Today, USAID supports efforts to improve the rule of law in Namibia through its Southern Africa regional programs.
Civil Society and Media
Facilitated the activities of the Women’s Network Manifesto Movement, an umbrella organization representing 30 women’s organizations, which drafted the first legislation submitted to Parliament from a non-executive branch source.
Provided technical assistance, training, and grants to civic groups and community- based media organizations to improve their effectiveness in local issues advocacy.
Supported the Namibian branch of the Media Institute for Southern Africa to organize a conference on access to information in order to create demand for good governance.
Supported a series of trainings on investigative journalism to enable young Namibians to develop their own stories on corruption and transparency in their communities.
Supported establishment of the autonomous, multi-partner Namibia Democracy Support Center (NDSC) to serve as a permanent body for coordinating the participation of civic organizations in the legislative process and in regional decision-making.
- Established a child witness protection program in Namibia with assistance from USAID’s Regional Rule of Law project, that support the legal community’s ability to promote and protect human rights and the rule of law.
- Supported the Southern African Litigation Centre, which argued before the Namibian High Court that forced sterilization of HIV-positive women in Namibia is a violation of the constitution.
- Provided training to the Legal Assistance Centre in Namibia on customary law approaches, contributing to the successful defense of local communities from demolition of their homes.
Governance and Rule of Law
- Fostered the development of Parliament through skills training and manuals for Members of Parliament (MPs) and staff on analyzing bills, reviewing the national budget and conducting research.
- Assisted Parliament in establishing functioning legislative review committees, which did not exist before 1996, as well as standing rules and orders to efficiently govern the business of the chamber and committees. The committee system also increased opportunities for citizen participation in the legislative process, and 87 percent of bills tabled in 2002 were subjected to public comment.
- Assisted the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) to improve investigations into corruption through support for investigative techniques such as cell phone mapping. Supported the “Zero Tolerance for Corruption Campaign” to help raise the profile and effectiveness of the body.
- Assisted in providing government and civil society a blueprint for future action on corruption and governance in Namibia, through dialogue to create demand for improvements based on evidence-based information.
Last updated: May 10, 2013