Remarks by Ambassador Thomas F. Daughton Self-Help Program Workshop and Award Ceremony Wednesday, October 19, 2016 Avani Hotel
Good morning and welcome to the Ambassador’s Special Self-Help Program Workshop honoring our 2016 grant recipients. We have four impressive new grantees this year who provide a tangible example of what can be achieved when people at the community level resolve to improve their lives and the lives of those around them.
I am also delighted to have two of our past grant recipients here. Kathy Hampe and Shoki Kandjimi can provide testimonials about the positive impact of this program and pass along some of the lessons they learned in operating their projects.
Since 1990, the U.S. government has awarded more than N$30 million in Self-Help grants to small development projects across Namibia. The Self-Help program is unique because it gives us at the American Embassy an opportunity to respond directly to the needs of local communities at the grassroots level. Quite simply, it allows us to help Namibians implement Namibian solutions to Namibian challenges.
This year, four Self-Help grantees will share a total of about N$700,000 for community development projects in three regions of Namibia. Three of the projects selected this year focus specifically on youth. The fourth aims to improve the socio-economic condition of disabled persons and indigenous minorities.
I want to congratulate all this year’s awardees for making it through what I admit is in involved process. Congratulations go to both the inspiring project leaders and the community groups they represent. Some of you have traveled long distances to be here, and I know that every day you work to improve the lives of people in your communities. Your commitment and devotion are qualities that the Self-Help program seeks to reward and encourage.
Through Self-Help grants this year, we are providing funding to a diverse set of high-impact projects. I think you’ll see that the four projects reflect a distinct focus on initiatives that promote self-reliance and increase the capacity of communities to foster their own development. For example, with Self-Help Program assistance, one project will use renewable energy to grow an enterprise to employ hundreds of skilled women from across Namibia. Another will give youth the opportunity to develop expertise in welding and joinery, providing them invaluable technical and vocational skills that will help them achieve their maximum potential.
A project in the Omusati Region town of Oshikuku will irrigate an enormous garden, using the proceeds to assist orphans and vulnerable children by providing food security, school supplies, and other support services. And in Rehoboth, a project will allow young learners to become computer literate – a vital skill as our world becomes more digitally interconnected every day.
Today’s workshop will focus on the financial and progress reporting requirements of the Self-Help program. This information will be critical to the successful completion of your grant. We’re hoping that this workshop will also be an opportunity for new and former grantees to share best practices, exchange ideas, and discuss lessons learned. Take full advantage of your time here together. Don’t be shy. Ask questions. Seek answers. And feel free to bug Shivon while you have her here in front of you today.
Speaking of Shivon, please join me in recognizing the hard work she has put in over the last year to review the many applications we received, visit your sites, bring you all here today and, most importantly, ensure you received the funds to get your projects up and running. Thank you, Shivon.
I commend all of you for seeking to make a difference in your communities. We receive hundreds of applications each year, and it is always difficult to choose among so many deserving projects. The selection of these four grantees is a clear indication of their hard work and dedication. I hope that you will all continue your work and inspire others in your communities to strive to play a similar leadership role. I also look forward to seeing for myself the results of your hard work.