Strong early childhood development is critical to repairing a broken society and as a country we cannot have a functional society if the children are broken.
This concern was expressed by First Lady Monica Geingos at the official unveiling of the life size Africa’s Fearless Thinker and Lion Bench in front of the First National Bank’s headquarters in the Capital on Wednesday.
‘’We cannot have a functioning society if our children are broken; unfortunately, the victims of
our broken homes are women and girls, as broken boys and men are to blame. We also need to talk to young boys and men about fatherhood, because a woman can only have one child in nine months, whereas a man can impregnate multiple women in that time.’’
Thus, she said the conversation of responsible parenting and teenage pregnancies need to be relooked at and not only focus on the girl child.
The Bench is a beacon of hope to young women in Africa to encourage them to lead in their own authentic way.
Additionally, according to RMB Namibia, it is a symbol that gender equality is imperative in creating environments where women feel they are empowered to achieve their individual career goals.
‘’So this statue is inspirational in the sense that it inspires us to do better in protecting our adolescent young girls from harm, which is what we are attempting to do at the One Economy Foundation, where we have difficult conversations with young people, parents, and families about issues that not only protect young women but also young boys, because a broken boy is a broken man, and there is nothing more destructive than a broken man,’’ Geingos said.
Geingos further shared her contempt for the recent national spike in pregnancy cases, claiming that ‘’too many young people are trading books for babies.’’
‘’Statistically, the leading cause of death for girls aged 16 to 19 years old is child-related maternal issues. We cannot have statistics like we do in our national newspapers because 13 000 pregnancies occur each year among girls aged 16 to 19. Imagine a Namibia 16 years from now, with 16-year-olds who were raised by unemployed, impoverished young girls aged 16 to 19,’’ she grieved.
She stated that these are the people who will work in the private and public sectors and thus there is a need to defend the future of the country.
‘’We must defend this country. The statue is significant not only for reminding us of the potential for gender equality, but also for the work that must be done to protect young girls in order for them to become fearless leaders who walk alongside lions,’’ she said.
The First Lady also adviced young people on which battles to fight and which ones not to entertain.
‘’Everyone has a lion, I’m married to a politician so that’s the lion, but I think I’m a fearless, think but you need to constantly ensure that this lion does not eat you and each of you has a lion, it could be a colleague, your parents, your boss, HR etc. Know the importance of speaking fearlessly not being eaten, so this is the balance that this statue speaks to as you need to be a fearless thinker, but yet you need to be strategic to make sure you don’t get eaten,’’ she said.
She said there are times where one needs to let certain issues slide and there are others where one needs to fight with their life.