The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES) is the oldest of Germany's 'political foundations' and committed to the basic values of social democracy and the labour movement.
As a private, non-profit educational institution, ‘think tank’ and platform for political dialogue, its mission is to promote democracy, development, social justice and peace through capacity-building, policy research, public dialogue and international exchange.
FES carries out its international activities through a network of currently about 100 offices world-wide. These work in close cooperation with the headquarters in Berlin and Bonn/Germany and local and international partners.
The FES office in Namibia was established in 1989 on the eve of t Namibian Independence. At present it is staffed with one expatriate and six local full-time employees.
Before 1989, i.e. during South African apartheid rule in what was then known as South West Africa, the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung had already in various ways supported the struggle against white minority rule and for an independent and democratic Namibia. The subsequent establishment of an office was merely a logical step - based on requests by our political partners. This step was firstly motivated by the desire to support transition to a non-racial multiparty-democracy. Secondly, the aim was to contribute to the transformation of the Namibian society into a prosperous and just society with equal rights, equal opportunities and a decent living standard for all.
On the whole, political and administrative institutions in Namibia function reasonably well more than a decade and a half after independence, which has been described as one of the most exemplary political transitions in history.
Namibia can pride itself on its political freedom and political stability, its modest, but steady economic growth. Nevertheless, huge challenges remain, or rather become more visible as racial oppression is no longer the determining factor of the individual and collective destiny of Namibians. These challenges are of concern to the political, economic and social arenas alike.
The Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftungs's Academy for Social Democracy explains: social democracy. This is Juliane. She is a politics student. Together with her flatmate, Marco, she is talking about "social democracy". Marco only had a rough idea about it until now.