BY FRIEDA NDASHIWA AYEHEAANTU IYAMBO
Are you privileged?
On the 24 February 2017, societal privileges where demonstrated through thought provoking statements. The Hanns Seidel Foundation Environmental Awareness and Climate Change Project together with Progress Namibia, the National Youth Council (NYC), the Namibia Youth Coalition on Climate Change (NYCCC) and the Namibia University of Science and Technology (NUST) hosted the first Game for Sustainability or Games for the SDGs at the House of Democracy in Windhoek West. The Games for Sustainability target youth of all ages and will be held every Friday of the month.
The game in February was focused on unpacking what is privilege and was facilitated by Dr. Justine Braby from Progress Namibia. Privilege is defined as a special right, advantage, or immunity granted or available only to a particular group or person. Participants were first briefed by Reinhold Mangundu from Progress Namibia on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and what they seek to achieve. He also ensured that the participants understood how the SDGs can be collectively be integrated to transform lives and societies across the world.
Participants visualise their new roles and hold hands before starting the Privilege Walk
Game participants responding to the questions by stepping forward or remaining in their positions according to their roles in the roleplay
Participants were each given a role to play reflective of our Namibian society, its diversity and disparities. The roles given to each highlighted the economic and social gaps that exist between, for example, a 50-year old homeless man standing on the side of the road looking for work or a CEO of a successful property company. A role-play followed as participants answered a series of questions about their day to day experiences, challenges and progress or hindrances in life based on their access to services, rights and resources. As participants continued in the simulation, it became clear that certain members of the Namibian and any society have or do not have privilege based on numerous predetermining factors.
The simulation was followed by an open dialogue and participants spoke about how they felt and what could have possibly invoked such feelings and emotions within them. Issues such as violation of privacy, violation of rights, lack of proper housing and sanitation, lack of solidarity and empathy from fellow citizens, vulnerability, uncertainty, racial inequality, unemployment, lack of opportunities and the widening gap between the rich and the poor, fear, poverty, and discrimination were interpreted by the participants in their roles.
Participants talking about how they felt during the game and and how the socio-economic inequalities of the role play affected them
Participants discussing the SDGs and sharing ideas on which SDGs they felt were important to address societal inequalities in order to transform societies
During the course of the exercise, participants tackled how the SDGs seek to systemically correct these deeply entrenched challenges in society. It was revealed that to answer the question of whether one is privileged requires recognition of those around one and the contrasting lives lived just a few kilometers apart. There was consensus that each goal is essential and no goal should be applied in isolation of the others as they are all connected. Participants agreed that every individual has a role to play for the realization of all the SDGs. Important self-reflexive questions were posed about what Namibians and young people can do in our own personal capacity for the realization of the goals and what opportunities exist for collective action to create an inclusive economy and society.
Come join the next Game for Sustainability on 28 March 2017 at the House of Democracy (70-72 Frans Indongo street, Windhoek West) to learn, share and contribute to Sustainability.
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