Her Excellency, Penehupifo Pohamba, Former First Lady of the Republic of Namibia.
Her Excellency, Madame Penehupifo Pohamba has been First Lady of the Republic of Namibia since her husband, President Hifikepunye Pohamba, took office in March 2005. Madame Pohamba, is a mother of five (5), two (2) boys and three girls. She has nineteen (19) grand children and three (3) great grant children.
An active mentor, speaker on women issues and participant of Organization of the African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS in Africa (OAFLA) annual meetings, she consistently advocates for the empowerment of women to enable them to make a meaningful contribution to the development of society. In highlighting along with other African First Ladies the importance of paediatric care, strengthening of partnerships and ensuring that AIDS is a strong component in the post-2015 development agenda, she restated in the January Addis Ababa 14th General Assembly of the Organization of Africa First Ladies Against HIV/AIDS (OAFLA) how much Africa needs women, women who are healthy and peaceful, to achieve sustainable socioeconomic development. She urged the OAFLA be more aggressive in working alongside African governments to bring women on board.
Madame Penehupifo Pohamba has also been active in supporting maternal and child health-care. In July 2006, Penehupifo Pohamba was elected Vice-President for the Southern Africa Development Committee (SADC).On Heroes’ Day 2014 she was conferred the Most Brilliant Order of the Sun, First Class. Mrs. Pohamba was trained in midwifery both in Tanzania and Jamaica and practiced as a midwife and as a registered nurse up until she became First Lady.
Madame Pohamba has a passion of helping others, especially the vulnerable people. She sacrifices her time and effort to improve the lives of other people. Madame Pohamba is a retired professional nurse and midwife. Being an experienced nurse, who was used to working eight official hours for eight days a week, when she became First Lady she could not sit back and become a housewife. That was the reason why, after she became First Lady she continued to practice nursing (free of charge) at one of the local clinics for a period of three years (2006 – 2008) until she reached retirement age.
Madame Penehupifo Pohamba is engaged in the following: The Organization of the Empowerment of Widows/Widowers and Orphans of HIV/AIDS in Namibia (OEWONA); In November 2005, she and a few other fellow nurses initiated to establish OEWONA. Therefore, she is the Founder and Patron of the Organization. The aim of the Organization is to initiate programmes targeting Widows, Widowers, Orphans and other vulnerable people to provide them with community based care and support services; build capacity and mechanisms to facilitate the provision of education, social, financial and spiritual support to beneficiaries in an effort to address their problems and needs; develop effective and efficient management systems and structures that will support HIV/AIDS programmes and be responsive to changing situations and environments.
The Organization of the African First Ladies against HIV/AIDS in Africa (OAFLA), which she joined as a member in 2005. In July 2006 to July 2008 she served as Vice President and as President of the Organization from July 2011 to July 2013. During her tenure of office as President, she strengthened the Organization in many aspects, such as establishing new partnerships; improvement of communication systems, membership and attendance of meetings.
Patron of the Maternal and Child Health National Agenda: the promotion of the Programme of the Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission of HIV infection (PMTCT): by running a campaign focusing on male involvement and exclusive breast feeding; the promotion of the Campaign for Accelerated Reduction of Maternal and Child Mortality in Africa (CARMMA); the promotion of timely utilization of Maternal and Child Health care services by pregnant mothers, their babies and partners: She is engaged in a project of constructing Maternal Shelters in the Health Districts around Namibia. The Shelters are used to accommodate identifies pregnant mothers for a certain period of time, to be closer to health facilities, while waiting to deliver; community advocacy meetings: She leads campaigns and dialogues with various community, traditional and spiritual leaders throughout the country addressing issues such as, gender-based violence, teenage pregnancy, alcohol and drug abuse, child upbringing, and many more.
Patron of many other Organizations: She is also a Patron of many non-government Organizations in Namibia.