The Focused Workshop (FW)
in Namibia

Visit the Focused Workshop page for a general description of the FW intervention.

In Namibia 14 sites have received the FW intervention: 7 are urban and 7 are rural. We began to implement the FW intervention during 2010. A central team of trained female facilitators undertook initial skills workshops for young women, aged 18-24, in each of the FW sites.

We introduced FW in all communities through the regional government. We sent a letter to each relevant governor and the governor’s office distributed this letter to the regional and constituency councillors. The constituency councillors informed communities about the FW intervention through announcements on local radio and at community meetings. Community leaders were active: they held meetings to introduce the intervention and the CIET teams and to encourage community members to participate.

A FW group in Namibia running a hair salon

We recruited young women for the FW intervention through radio announcements, word of mouth and house visits. Potential young women participants attended a meeting to hear about the FW and to register for a group. The initial skills workshop for each group lasted 3 or 4 days, depending on progress. There were between 7 and 20 participants in the workshops.

During each workshop the young women developed business ideas, and found innovative ways of raising capital. Sometimes young women contributed tools for starting up from their households. In some places, community members actively supported the young women, providing mentorship, donations in cash or kind, and buying or making use of the enterprise produce. We made great efforts to raise community awareness about the young women’s activities. CIET coordinators and the young women themselves provided regular updates to community leaders.

Dancing during a community feast in Namibia

The young women themselves looked for sources of capital. For example, they applied for vendor permits, applied grants from government and other donors. In some cases, CIET helped by lending capital equipment or by matching funds the young women had raised themselves. We provided additional training as necessary, including basic business skills, conflict resolution, baking, making ornaments, and card making. Some groups succeeded in setting up small enterprises such as hair salons, butcheries, bakeries, and take away stalls. In other places, the young women went back to school or found formal employment. This was encouraged as was consistent with the aim of the intervention. Many participants described how the intervention had changed their lives, even when they had not formed or sustained an enterprise as a group.

One group of young women did very well with their enterprise (a butchery) and hosted, with support from the FW programme, a large community feast to present their work to the leaders and members of their community. To learn more, read a report on their community feast.