Hizetjitwa Indigenous Peoples' Organization
The HIZETJITWA Indigenous Peoples Organisation (HIPO) is a non-governmental organisation operating in Namibia and Angola dedicated to the improvement of the living conditions of indigenous people. HIZETJITWA is an acronym made up of the first letters of the names of the indigenous tribes that are the focus of the organisation: Himba people, Zemba people, Tjimba people and Twa people. These native, semi nomadic people live in the mountainous and semi deserted areas of North West Kunene in Namibia and Angola. Individuals belonging to the Herero people in northern Kunene and from the Omusati Region (Ruacana area), are also members of HIPO. The executive director is Tjinezuma Kavari.
HIPO was launched by the local people in 2007 and had by 2012 established committees in 85 communities, and an estimated membership of between 1,500 and 3,000. Around 40% of the members and 33% of the local committees are female, a good result in an otherwise male-dominated culture. Realising that continuing to be illiterate was detrimental to their culture and way of life, a special focus of the organisation is education.
HIPO works on 5-year plans, annual plans and 3-month plans as approved by the board. For 2010 the budget is N$980,000, including 80,000 for efforts in establishing a HIPO organization in Angola. The annual accounts are audited by an internationally recognized Namibian auditor. The Namibia Association of Norway” (NAMAS) is the main funding source, with major contributions from the Norwegian government (Norad). NAMAS had previously supported the establishment of 40 schools for the native members in Northern Kunene, during the period from 1997 to 2007.
From a skeleton staff in 2008, the current HIPO administration now consists of an Executive Director, a Finance and Administration Officer and a Full Time Field Officer. In addition to this, there are 10 Field Officers who have been recruited from society members. An adviser funded by NAMAS has also been recruited.
The board members are elected in the annual meeting, to join the board for a 3-year period. The current board was elected in August 2010. The board consists of members from the different tribes, and from the different geographical areas in Northern Kunene.
Development, Dignity, Unity.
Unconditionally committed to uplifting the living standard and the protection of the human dignity and rights of the native people, characterized by their self-determination, in order to preserve, develop and transmit their ancestral territories and their ethnic identity to future generations.
Basic aims and objectives of organization
- To educate and train indigenous communities about their human rights as enshrined in the constitution of the Republic of Namibia and the protection of these rights.
- To ensure a proper education for children by providing for their basic educational needs (financially and otherwise).
- To empower adults through literacy programmes, advocacy on the rights and needs and by creating income generating opportunities.
- To improve the general well being of indigenous people by advocating and lobbying for improvement of general sanitation, water, shelter, communication, road network, health facilities and employment opportunities for these people.
- To promote and safeguard the cultural and traditional heritages, values, morals, and beliefs, centred on unity and diversity.
- To encourage and promote female empowerment activities of native people through self-help programmes.
- To promote HIV/AIDS awareness by engaging in awareness campaigns.
- To identify and address social challenges and needs in the communities by establishing a task force to handle these challenges and needs to refer people for professional services.
- To network with local and international organizations with similar objectives for indigenous people for the mutual benefit.
- To solicit funds in order to fulfil the objectives of the organisation.
- Olivier, Francios (19 April 2011). "Finnish back LAC and marginalised people". Namibian Sun.
- "Evaluation of: The HIZETJITWA Indigenous Peoples Organization (HIPO) Namibia". Nordic Consulting Group via Government of Norway. December 2012. p. 4.
- Xoagub, Francis (22 August 2011). "Hizetjitwa festival a success". New Era.
- CONSTITUTION OF HIZETJITWA (Ovahimba, Ovazemba, Ovatjimba, Ovatwa) INDIGENOUS PEOPLE ORGANISATION (HIPO) (As amended by the HIPO Annual Meeting in Etoto 21 and 22 August 2009)