Dispatch from the United Nations Development Programme in Namibia: Kelsey Goodman’s fourth blog from the field

By Kelsey Goodman

Happy New Year everyone!

Wait, rephrase…

Happy New Year to everyone but the person(s) who attempted to break into my apartment last night.

I was awoken around 3:30 by my roommate who had heard a loud thump followed by the sound of heavy boots running away. We called our complex security officer to come investigate. At the time he did not find anything amiss, so I got a few more hours of sleep with the peaceful assumption that the sound was a dream, or perhaps a neighbour. However, in the morning light we were able to spot boot prints on the exterior wall. Someone had scaled the wall to find that the entrance is protected by a heavy metal gate and presumably got spooked. While it is a fortunate ending, it doesn’t do much to quell my anxieties. The incident is part of a disturbing trend of break-ins and robberies in our neighbourhood. Thankfully, security is increasing its vigilance and our landlord plans on installing more motion sensors when she returns next week.

This will be my last blog for the Dispatch series, so I will try to forecast the rest of my time at UNDP Namibia. Firstly, I am supporting the completion of the 2018 National Human Development Report (NHDR), a project that started long before I arrived. While the UNDP has been producing Human Development Reports (HDRs) for the last 26 years, this national report will delve into deeper analysis at geographic, socio-economic and ethnic group-levels specific to Namibia. This is also Namibia’s first NHDR to focus on inequality.

The report’s formal title is “Addressing Inequality and Disparities: Towards a New Dignified Life for All Namibians.” It is being completed in partnership with the University of Namibia. The main output of the report is a multi-dimensional inequality index that aims to determine the key drivers of inequality and their interrelations. This includes, but is not limited to, inequality from such perspectives as economic/income, gender, health, and land ownership. The index will capture the incidence and intensity of multidimensional inequality. Initial general findings have already proved interesting. For instance, men in Namibia are overall more deprived in education, while women are more deprived on standard of living. Uncovering such information can help shape future policy.

The report will conclude with key recommendations for inequality reduction in Namibia. These recommendations range from fiscal policy changes, like tax reform, to recommendations related to data and reporting, like increasing the socio-economic and cultural elements on the national census. The latter is an unsurprising conclusion, as a lack of reliable data is a common issue for UN and government projects in Namibia.

As for the status of the report, it is currently under review by key stakeholders in government ministries. We will be incorporating their feedback and liaising with the consultant team for a delivery of the final copy in mid-February. I am certainly pleased to be supporting our country’s Economic Advisor on this task.

Additionally, I am assisting with the development of the UNDP’s Annual Work Plan (AWP) for 2019, in collaboration with the National Planning Commission of Namibia. It’s an important exercise since we will be held accountable for reaching the targets stipulated in this document by the end of the year. In relation, I am developing the 2019 plan for Monitoring and Evaluation. This includes scheduling project reporting deadlines and Project Quality Assurance (PQA). The PQA consists of requisite UN evaluations that are graded by an online algorithm during the design, implementation, and closure phases of projects.
Clearly, January is a time of planning, so it is difficult to say exactly what my tasks will be until this stage is complete. I presume there will be more field visits, evaluations, and workshops until my contract ends in late March. My supervisor is now gone for maternity leave, so I am technically the only M&E Staff in office. Here’s hoping I am prepared for what’s to come.

2019-04-18T10:48:58-04:002019, Dispatches, News|