Sister Namibia tackles conflict

The month of May has been a busy one for Sister Namibia. Apart from preparing for our 25 birthday celebrations in June we have made great strides in advocating with the Namibian youth.

On Saturday the 24th we had the great pleasure of visiting PAY (Physically Active Youth) to host a conflict management workshop in Katutura. The workshop worked around the concept of good listening and communication skills as effective tools to avoid and resolve conflict. Our participants ranged from the ages of 16 to 22 and were delightful mix of male and female students.

Sister Namibia (Vida de Voss) with PAY students, Saturday 24 May 2014.

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Eager to participate, the students shared their experiences with conflict as well as how they dealt with anger and misunderstandings.

Sister Namibia’s director, Vida de Voss, who facilitated the workshop, walked the students through several practical exercises, including an active listening training. The room as divided into two groups. The second group was asked to step outside. While separated Vida encouraged the first group to listen to their returning partners stories with a twist. Whenever their partner spoke the first group would not maintain eye contact and would raise their arms and chew their nails in a distracting manner. The point of this exercise was to illustrate how important body language is when it comes to communication.

Another exercise that was performed was how to define how they dealt with conflict. Posters with the words Assertive, Passive, Passive Aggressive and Aggressive where put up on the four walls of the room. Students were then told to stand in the corner that they best felt described their conflict personalities. When asked to qualify their decision to see themselves as one of the four groups we discussed why they felt that way and what steps could be taken to break that chain of behaviour if it was negative.

Overall it was a very fulfilling experience and the students took to the material exceptionally well. Therefore we would like to thank them for their enthusiasm and for making it a fun filled afternoon for us all.

On May 31 we hosted a second workshop with the Young Achievers Empowerment Programme at the Katutura Multi-purpose centre. The workshop followed the same curriculum as the forum we had previously done with PAY. Young Achievers is a very focused and formidable youth group that focuses on granting young Namibians educational and professional opportunities. It was interesting and inspiring to see that they opened their meetings answering the question “What is the one thing I would change about Namibia?” The answers were fantastic to hear as they are a group of young people who really want to make difference in our country.

Sister Namibia is always involved when it comes to any social injustice and therefore we also participated in the “Bring our Girls Back” campaign.The march took place in Zoo Park in Windhoek. And although they were not as many participants in attendance as we would have liked, those in attendance were very passionate about the cause. A petition was signed and taken to the Nigerian High Commission in Windhoek. The petition called for Namibian and Nigerian governments to ensure the immediate and safe return of the kidnapped girls.

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