On 11th to the 12th February 2015, the National Federation of People with Disabilities in Namibia (NFPDN) organized a National Congress held at Keetmanshoop which elected eight new Board Members of NFPDN.
With financial and technical support from the Ministry of Health and the Office of the Prime Minister, the Congress was an outcome of the unwavering efforts by the disability movement in the country in their effort to revive the NFPDN after years inactivity.
At the time when the federation was still active, SNFPDN had been involved in a number of activities geared at uplifting the rights and welfare of Persons with Disabilities in Namibia through its affiliated Disability Peoples Organisations (DPOs).
From 2003 – 2005, NFPDN had been working actively in the implementation of the Awareness Building Campaign (ABC) in partnership with SAFOD and FFO. During that period, NFPDN led several successful events which brought together stakeholders to discuss disability issues within the Namibian context. The ABC contributed an important ideological contribution to change the understanding and attitudes of people with disabilities – going from charity to independence. ABC also gave local activities on disability issues a nation-wide perspective.
NFPDN had bought many assets. Some of them were still new and in very good condition. However, as of February 2015, (i.e. prior to the Congress), most of its office items, including vehicles and computers were sold without the federation’s knowledge when its offices closed down. NFPDN therefore had to almost start from scratch shortly after the Congress, embarking on journey of rebuilding.
Due to a number of institutional challenges ranging to leadership and management problems, the federation scaled down its activities for several years, and its secretariat shut down. Before experiencing the downturn, the federation was being funded by the European Union (EU) for four years. Funding from the EU enabled it to establish offices in Opuwo, Oshakati, Rundu and Windhoek. After it ran out of funds all its operations ended.
The “death” of NFPDN proved to be a huge blow to the disability movement and advocacy in the country as there was no longer a credible structure to coordinate the activities of DPOs as well as provide direction and capacity-building of DPOs in advocacy for disability rights, mainstreaming and overall inclusive development.
Besides the elections of Board Members, the National Congress also sought to explore and strategize on how the federation could be strengthened and enhance programs for people with disabilities as part of the revival process after years of institutional decline. And the new Board was mandated to deliberate on how it would go about reviving the federation.
The National Congress, which was attended by people with disabilities from different regions and DPOs, therefore elected the following names of individuals who will run the federation in the next four years:
Daniel Trum (NFVI)
Sylvia Chindunka (Parent)
Gabriel Shikwaya (Albino Trust/Youth)
Julian Samuel (NFVI)
Elia Shapwa (NNAD)
Seblon Nakakuwa (NOYD)
Anguezell Lottering (NOYD)