LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia is a registered Welfare Organisation and NGO with the purpose to support ‘safer, healthier, more resilient children, families and communities in Namibia’.
Our organisation operates a national counselling centre in Windhoek. The centre handles telephone calls, sms’s and online counselling services for the whole of Namibia. It also conducts face-to-face counselling services in Windhoek, which includes voluntary testing and counselling, as well as counsellor training.
LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia currently runs the only national helpline-based counselling service in Namibia, manned by a group of dedicated and well-trained volunteers. This busy centre operates 14 hours per day, 365 days per year, and handles around 3 000 calls and 1 000 sms’s per month, the majority of which are from children on our 116 Child Helpline.
In addition to the help lines and face-to-face counselling, the centre also offers school outreach programmes. Furthermore, counselling services are complemented with community-based activities to promote Social Behavioural Change and Child Protection.
LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia is supported in these tasks with funding from international donor agencies and local entities, as well as through our own fundraising and income generation efforts.
Our help lines include:
• 116 Child Helpline (on which sms counselling is also provided), operational since 2010. The 116 Child Helpline provides a toll-free service, focusing mainly on assisting children with problems ranging from emotional distress, abuse (all types), school-related (educational) problems, behavioural problems and family problems.
• 106 Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Helpline, operational since 2015. The 106 Gender-Based Violence Helpline aims to assist those who are in need of help when found in a GBV-related situation. This is also a toll-free service and is available across Namibia. In partnership with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), this line will also be utilised as a key point for reporting Human Trafficking in the near future.
• Crisis Line (061 232221), which was set up in 1980, is still in operation today and continues to provide help and comfort to people in need.
Uitani ChildLine Radio
Uitani ChildLine Radio is the only radio show produced for children, by children in Namibia. This radio service is another unique initiative of LifeLine/ChildLine and has been in existence since 2005.
On a weekly basis, up to 20 children come to the little studio on the upper level of LifeLine/ChildLine Namibia’s Head Office in Windhoek, to discuss and record issues that concern children all over the country.
This popular children’s radio program broadcasts on Saturdays and Sundays on different national, commercial and community radio stations, which includes NBC, Omulunga Radio, Base FM and Fresh FM. The programme puts children and teenagers at the forefront of advocating for their peers, and is based on the principles of child participation, children’s rights and child protection. The uniqueness of this endeavour cannot be overlooked, especially the immeasurable impact it has on reaching communities in otherwise difficult to reach locations.
• NBC National Radio (91.7 FM)
Saturdays, 09h00 – 10h00
• Base FM (106.2 FM)
Saturdays, 09h00 – 10h00
• Omulunga Radio (100.9 FM)
Sundays, 12h00 – 13h00
• Fresh FM (102.9 FM)
Sundays, 15h00 – 16h00
Social Media: Friend or Foe?
By Brendan Ihmig
I started exploring social media from an early stage. I joined Facebook in the beginning of 2007 and Twitter towards the end of that year. I began using these platforms, along with others like YouTube, Google+, Pinterest and Instagram, mainly for branding and marketing purposes for clients from my digital agency. Being connected to social media gave me the opportunity to see these platforms develop, evolve and change, as it grew to the massive networks of today.
As these platforms grew in popularity, it also influenced the way people interact online.
Good or Bad?
I have asked myself this question many times, and have similarly been asked by many, especially parents and those working with children.
But first, a reality check. The saying goes: The more things change, the more they stay the same. Social media, at its very core, is not really anything new. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat, along with a host of other social platforms, are simply places where people are being social, albeit in a digital space.
Much like the campfires our ancestors gathered around to tell stories, share life experiences, give helpful advice and debate the meaning of life, so are social media networks.
True, the ability to instantly connect with any number of people from anywhere in the world is unique to social media. As is being able to share photos and videos seconds after capturing it. Truth is, the technological advances that have created social media platforms have developed at very much the same pace as human interaction and communication – the basic content of our communications have not really changed that much at all.
What have changed however, are society’s values, morals, convictions and beliefs. These changes have directly influenced the content of our social interactions, along with those who have access to these social engagements.
And herein lies the conundrum.
Social media, like other media platforms and entertainment mediums, showcases societal declines. But, just as we don’t stop going to the movies because of a few ‘bad’ films, we also don’t stop using social platforms.
Social media platforms are a delicate balance of both friend and foe elements, and it is up to the user to determine what these platforms will ultimately become. The same moral judgement calls and value filters we use for screening movies, magazines or TV shows, should be applied to social media platforms – by the entire family.
Below are some guidelines to consider when selecting social media networks, especially for use by your children.*
The following considerations are generalisations based on personal morals, values and ethics. As each person determines their own convictions and beliefs, my recommendations should be considered in as broad a sense as possible.
THE GOOD, THE BAD AND THE UGLY
To simplify social media activities, I have grouped it into three broad categories: the good, the bad and the ugly.
Social media platforms are a great way to connect with family and friends, to stay up to date with current events and expand on general knowledge. It showcases bountiful expressions of creativity and can improve communication skills. It offers access to content which gives inspiration, encouragement and guidance. Social media can emphasise social responsibility and civil contributions and bring awareness to important socio-economic issues and themes.
Social media platforms have opened the door to cyberstalking, the exposure and glorification of various substance abuses, and a disregard for the law. Conflicting worldviews pertaining to values, morals, convictions and beliefs are part of social media networks, given its social and open nature. Content showing violence and cruelty also finds a way to social media platforms from time to time.
Sadly, cyber bullying is on the rise on popular social media platforms, as is body shaming. Pornography always seems to rear its ugly head wherever scores of people gather online. The fact that illegal activities are encouraged by some users of social networks, is another real concern.
SIFTING THROUGH THE JUNK
Social media platforms can be ‘friendly’ or safe to use, if you understand the basics of online activities and stay up to date with changes and developments. Following the specified community guidelines on a particular social media network is essential. Above all, using common sense as a guide is always the best way to stay safe.
Nothing will turn a social media platform faster into a ‘foe’ or a danger zone than ignorance and a wilful disregard for site specifics. A lack of control and not understanding privacy settings are sure ways of letting social media platforms become danger zones. Overconfidence and blind acceptance of connections are common bad-practices, which often put people into difficult situations.
A HELPING HAND
There are means to keep social media networks safer for families and children, and an enjoyable way of socialising and connecting online.
For parents with children accessing the internet and social media platforms on a desktop at home, keep the desktop in an open area where everyone can be seen and activities can be monitored. It is also recommended to consider installing monitoring and filtering software to have better control over access to online content and networks.
It is essential to respect your children’s privacy, especially when accessing social media on mobile devices, but equally important to be aware of online activities. Establishing clear user boundaries and access time is a good start, as is encouraging open and transparent usage behaviour.
Parents wanting more comprehensive monitoring of their children’s social activities on mobile devices, can consider installing monitoring apps. These allow for a range of functionality restrictions of the mobile device. Apps to consider are TeenSafe, KuuKla Parental Control, Norton Family Premier and ESET Parental Control.
by Coen Welsh
Choosing the right career is probably one of the most difficult decisions you and your child will ever make. There are several elements that need to be taken into consideration prior to embarking on the path that will gain you happiness and prosperity.
The three main areas I consider to be the most crucial are the following:
• Career Needs
Most psychological guidance tests and career counsellors consider this area as one of the most crucial when embarking on career guidance. It is a good start, as our interests drive our behaviour and we are more likely to continue doing something difficult if we are interested in it. On the other hand, if we are not interested in doing something, we will give up as soon as it becomes too complicated.
Interests have been widely researched and most practitioners agree to eight broad career attraction fields. These are: Artistic, Scientific, Logical, Managerial, Administrative, Persuasive, Practical and Nurturing. Each one of these point to the area where the individual is most likely to persevere and persist.
Interests are not the only area worth considering when embarking on a journey of choosing a career. Work needs describe the personal qualities and styles of the individual. It helps in identifying career options that cater to different personalities and ways of working.
As an example, think of someone who works in a logical field, like finance or accounting. On the one hand, you may find someone who is extroverted and needs the company of others, and on the other, someone who is introverted and prefers his own company. Combining work needs with personal interests makes the choice more suitable to you as an individual.
In terms of work needs, the following areas need to be considered (most of these are loosely based on individual personality traits):
• Introverted vs Extroverted – How much interaction do you need in your job?
• Conventional vs Open to Possibilities – How much routine do you need in your job? If you want variety in your job, for example through consulting, you would lean towards the open to possibilities side of the spectrum. This is opposed to a more conventional job such as that of an auditor, where tasks have to be done in a similar way every time.
• Doubting vs Trusting – Some jobs require you to be more naturally suspicious, such as that of a police detective. In comparison, a psychologist has to be more trusting of his/her clients.
• Spontaneous vs Conscientious – This work need deals with the amount of task variety someone has to deal with. A graphic designer, for example, can change a design or a plan when inspiration hits, which can strike at any moment, even in the middle of the night. A more conscientious and detailed-oriented quantity surveyor has very specific tasks and routines that need to be followed.
• Intrinsically Motivated vs Extrinsically Motivated – This deals with individual need and motivation for the financial reward a job offers. An intrinsically motivated person does the job for the love of it, such as a social worker, but an extrinsically motivated person need to be financially rewarded in order to remain motivated. Sales jobs fall into the second category.
• Doubting vs Optimistic – Some people see the world through rose-tinted glasses, while others experience it in more realistic terms. If you are one of the more optimistic ones, you can face a fair amount of setbacks, and a position in sales where you are bound to face more rejection may be more suitable. If you tend to lean towards the more doubting side of the scale, you may need a job where you won’t face as many setbacks, such as that of an interior designer.
Ability tests assess your capacity to perceive logical patterns of relationships and deduce the logical consequences. It assesses your ability to understand and solve novel problems with speed and accuracy.
There are three measures of abilities that are generally relevant to vocational success: Verbal Reasoning, Numerical Reasoning and Abstract Reasoning.
These measures are also referred to as tests of general reasoning ability.
This area tends to be where most people get stuck, as they find themselves not adequate to go to university or college, and thus be successful.
The wonderful variety we have in the working sector allows people of all ability levels to participate and contribute to the economy. Consider an ear, nose and throat specialist. This is a medical doctor who has completed six years of study, plus a number of internship years, before embarking on another four years to specialise in the field. The academic challenges of achieving this level of work is not possible for everyone, however there are occupations, such as that of a speech therapist or an audiologist, which falls in the same field and does not require such rigorous training. In addition, there are audio technicians who service and fix the machines used by these professionals, and who need very little formal academic training.
Point being, even if your general mental ability does not meet the specified requirements for a chosen career, you do not necessarily have to give up on your aspiration of working in that particular field. You may just have to be more creative in finding your dream job. If you can find a job where your interests, work needs and abilities are matched, you are much more likely to be successful in the training required to be qualified in that field.
Three final thoughts need to be mentioned:
• Firstly, there are professionals who can assist with a career search. Use them.
• Secondly, the world of work is changing at such a rapid rate that the skills required today may be irrelevant in ten years’ time, so don’t become fixated on one particular job or career. It is quite likely that the school leavers of today will have several ‘careers’ by the time they retire.
• That brings us to the third and final point – when choosing a career, always keep in mind that you may need to become self-employed at some stage. The volatility of the world and economic situations around Africa and the rest of the globe mean that in future most people may need to get out of the ‘corporate rat race’ and start their own business. Consider this when choosing a career.
Remember: “If you choose a job you love, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.”