Opinion – Unam, the FES partnership produces an inspiring book on social protection

When the University of Namibia and the Fredrich-Ebert Stiftung launched the Social Protection Expert Forum in 2017, the stage was set for monthly public lectures by local and international practitioners, researchers and scholars from the social protection.

I remember very well that we started small – Kenandei ‘Kapara’ Tjivikua (social protection expert), Hienne Neumann (FES), Inge Neunda (FES), Dr Tom Fox (Unam) and myself (Unam) – and from the start, we held a vision to collect selected articles into a book, after peer reviewing them to separate publishable and unpublishable material.

This dream came true last week when social protection practitioners, academics and members of the public gathered at the offices of Fredrick Ebert-Stiftung in Windhoek to attend the launch of the book “Perspectives on Social Protection in Namibia, 2017-2020”, a compilation of sixteen papers presented at the public lectures at the University of Namibia during the period indicated. The book was compiled and edited by Professor Trywell Kalusopa, a leading academic at the University of Namibia, and Olga Katjiuongua, a senior social protection expert and researcher.

Endorsing the book “Perspectives on Social Protection in Namibia, 2017-2020”, guest of honour, Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Dr Peya Mushelenga, said that this book comes at the right time. moment because social protection is one of the issues that has not received adequate coverage in academic publications. He underlined that social protection should be appropriately aimed at tackling unacceptable levels of social deprivation and poverty, thereby ensuring access to education, healthcare, food security, income security and decent living conditions.

“This book provides a historical perspective of social protection in Namibia and how it relates to the history of social protection around the world. Historical perspectives are important not only as narratives to provide information about the past and contribute to the literature on history, but also to provide a better contextual understanding of evolution to provide patterns, issues, and circumstances development,” Mushelenga said, adding that the efforts of Unam and Fredrich Ebert-Stiftung are commendable for this “groundbreaking study.

It is equally important that the book investigates the sociological aspect of social care from a socio-cultural perspective and contemporary circumstances, including the plethora of challenges caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. There are also discussions about the fate of young people and women in society, and about the social protection schemes that would suit them in their generally difficult situation.

It was fitting that the book launch was also honored by Dr. Alfons Mosimane, Executive Dean of the Faculty of Education and Humanities at the University of Namibia, under which the Department of Social Sciences falls. This department is responsible for organizing public lectures in collaboration with Fredrich Ebert-Stiftung.

Mosimane paid tribute to the authors of the various chapters who have meticulously studied social protection issues and put their facts and arguments to paper in a scholarly manner. “There is no doubt that under the topic of this nature, social protection, researchers have had to wade through enormous amounts of quantitative and qualitative data to support their argument. Likewise, the work of the editors of this volume must be acknowledged as they meticulously took up the task of organizing the chapters according to these significant themes: social protection and national development; Social Protection and Informality; social protection and labour/employment; and finally social protection and the regional/continental/global dimension,” Mosimane remarked.

This thematic approach makes the deconstruction and understanding of social protection in Namibia effortless and easily accessible. What makes this publication so rich is that the contributors come from diverse backgrounds. This means that there are different but complementary social protection perspectives that have been explored, hence the title of the book ‘Perspectives on Social Protection in Namibia’.

In other words, the chapters of the book form a collective community of welfare discourse, that is, this project has held a scholarly community together, and it is envisioned that this community will stay together and propose or produce another book project on social protection.

For the reader, part of the blurb of the book reads: “This publication is useful to policy makers as it assesses them on possible interventions that could be adopted to extend and strengthen social protection schemes. Benchmarking with trends on the global stage enables academics, researchers and policy makers to understand not only the feasibility of the programs but also the design of the model suitable for Namibia. .. This is essential reading for anyone who cares about social welfare in Namibia”.

Overall, this is one of the most successful collaborations that Fredrich Ebert-Stiftung has undertaken with a local higher education institution. The book is available on request from the offices of Fredrich Ebert-Stiftung in Windhoek. Government departments, non-governmental organizations, institutions, schools, policy makers, scholars and researchers can order copies from FES.

2021-10-22 Prof Jairos Kangira


Joel C. Hicks