Out Rights Namibia (ORN) is Namibian LGBTI, MSM and WSW human rights based organisation that was formed in March 2010 by self identified LGBTI, MSM and WSW activists and officially registered in November 2010 as a Trust. ORN advocates as the voice for Lesbian Women/ Gay men/ Bisexuals, Transgender and Intersex people in Namibia to further address, redress and arrest the amount of homophobia rhetoric in the country.
Notable efforts were made in the liberation struggle of the LGBTI movement in Namibia and numerous achievements registered in the establishment meeting whereby the ever growing needs of marginalized sexual diverse persons were echoed. A Community Steering Committee comprising of the different sexual identities was established with a clear terms of reference and timelines to facilitate and ensure the new organisation adopt a consultative process and report back to the LGBTI community through a National Congress.
The community meeting took a principled decision not to reinvent the wheel or to ignore the achievements of ORN’s predecessor, but to consolidate the learning’s and evaluate the failures in developing strategic long term community driven responses around LGBTI programming.
Appointment of Board:
After receiving the mandate from the community meeting to facilitate the establishment of a new organisation, the steering committee was faced the challenge of establishing a legal identity for the organisation and therefore the movement; and the committee opted for registration as a Trust which enjoys simple and speedy registration processes and has clear accountability lines.
ORN is mindful of the fact that proper establishment of the organization would take some time and that donor and partner confidence would need to be re-building in the LGBTI movement in Namibia. It is also important to note that there is currently no resources, infrastructure and financial management capacity exists, and would take a while to establish.
It is against this background that ORN decided to be hosted by a credible and sympathetic Namibian NGO, for a 12 – 18month period. Positive Vibes Trust Fund (PV) subsequently emerged as the best possible host for ORN. PV would provide strategic leadership support, and will be responsible for financial control and management to ORN funds. A clear and well defined memorandum of understanding has been developed to guide this partnership. It is important to note that ORN will remain in control of strategic visioning, planning and implementation of all activities under the guidance of PV.
ORN although registered as a Trust under the control and direction of the Board of Trustees, appreciates that its intervention which is aimed at creating an enabling environment for LGBTI people in Namibia; should at all times be strategically guided by the LGBTI community of Namibia. It is with this background that during the Annual General Meeting the establishment of the National Executive Committee will be formed and its leadership would be members Board of Trustee. Subsequently the National Executive Committee will be governed by a constitution.
ORN has a five year strategic plan framework to its disposal that determines its organisational strategic themes under the following pillars:
- Emancipation and Movement Building
- Human Rights, Health and Legal Reform
- Institutional Strengthening and Capacity Building
It is foreseen that discussions around this framework would be a critical part of the national consultative meeting/national congress. This will provide the Trustees the opportunity to share this strategic framework with the national LGBTI community and get guidance and direction on the relevance of proposed interventions.
ORN operations and management will also be guided by the values of the organisation. Simplified to IIPEPI
ORN intend to reach all 13 regions of Namibia based on existing regional networks established over the years. Strong networks exists in the Khomas, Erongo, Oshana, Oshikoto, Otjozondjupa and Karas regions; whilst regions such as Caprivi, Kavango, Omusati, Ohangwena, Omaheke, Kunene, and Hardap would require double efforts in getting visible LGBTI networks off the ground.
Reaching out to all 13 regions in Namibia would further legitimise the mandate of ORN to advocate of behalf of the Namibian LGBTI movement as a nationally representative organisation.
We are of the strongest conviction that the arrival of ORN on the national, regional and international scene would facilitate and ensure the survival of a stronger Namibian LGBTI movement, and enhance community driven LGBTI programme interventions.