Rev. Dr. Claudia Haarmann &
Rev. Dr. Dirk Haarmann
Since April 2010, we are in the process of building up the The Theological Institute for Advocacy and Research in Africa (TARA), together with Bishop Dr. Z. Kameeta as patron and as an initiative of the Lutheran Communion in Southern Africa (LUCSA), supported by the Evangelical Lutheran Mission in Lower Saxony (ELM) and the Church Development Service/Germany (EED). TARA aims at empowering churches in Africa to acquire the necessary skills to act prophetically and professionally in their context, taking ownership of local social development agendas. The intention is three-fold: Firstly, to train and build capacity locally in Africa and to network among the churches. Secondly, to provide expertise to assist and professionally support research, analysis and advocacy work amongst local churches, thus fostering expertise in social development and concrete involvement of churches in the development of the African continent. Thirdly, to render sound information and regional strategic positions on development in a globalized world.
Our tasks is therefore to offer capacity building in the form of intensive 4 to 6 week courses for small groups of church leaders and committed laity in the field of social development and participatory research methodology, including to compile quantitative and qualitative research agendas and to publish findings. Based on this, prophetic action and advocacy should be promoted by local research and advocacy teams, the churches and the Institute itself. Furthermore, TARA will engage in biblical and systematic theological analysis of and for the development agenda. This will help to define and guide the public role of churches as well as to develop material for development work within the churches.
During our time at the Desk for Social Development, from 2003 to 2010, the research focus was Poverty, HIV/AIDS and Theology in Namibia. A particular focus was put on income security. Our responsibilities included training in participatory research methodology and building of local research teams in the regions. Since the establishment of the BIG Coalition in April 2005, we co-ordinated the work of the Coalition in Namibia, and implemented the world-wide first BIG Pilot Project in Otjivero. The coordination of the BIG campaign included the administration, fund-raising, and running of the publicity campaign. Together with the Labour Resource and Research Institute (LaRRI), we conducted the research for the Basic Income Grant Pilot Project which entailed extensive qualitative and quantitative research (household panel surveys, case studies, key-informed interviews, clinic and police data, photo library) documenting and analysing the outcome of the pilot project. The research was accompanied by an international advisory committee, including international experts in the field of economic security, HIV and AIDS and development issues. Together, we have compiled and published numerous publications and the project has received broad media coverage locally and internationally.
Besides the work on the BIG, we engaged in the following several activities:
During the first year, we embarked on a fact-finding mission on the poverty situation within the ELCRN area. WE conducted semi-structured interviews in 26 congregations within all six ELCRN circuits. The results were discussed and evaluated on a monthly basis within the Evangelical Lutheran Church Reference Group for Social Development (ELCROS) and culminated in the DfSD Strategic Plan.
Together with staff from ELCAP and the Project Office, we completed a 'Feasibility Study ELCRN Hostels' focusing on the church's support for children from disadvantaged backgrounds with a focus on OVCs. The Feasibility Study made use of participatory research methodology with all relevant stake holders (children, parents, principals, clinic, police, traditional leaders and congregational leaders) in order to focus to serve the vulnerable and disadvantaged according to their needs. The Feasibility study provided the basis for the restructuring process of the Hostel Department of the ELCRN.
We led an ELCROS exposure visit to the Jesuit Centre for Theological Reflection (JCTR) in Lusaka. The results are summarized as lessons for the various ELCROS departments: 'A report and resource booklet - ELCROS exposure visit Zambia 2003'.
In collaboration with the Institute for Public Policy Research, we conducted a study for the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Child Welfare: 'Review of Social Grants in Namibia 2003'.
In workshops with ELCAP national and regional office staff, Project Office and volunteers from the congregations, several research teams were trained in participatory research methodology. We developed a 'Research Methodology Manual ELCRN'.
We developed together with the ELCAP Regional Offices a practical Social Security Manual 'for ELCRN Congregations' on how to access Government Grants. This manual is also used by government, NGOs and other faith based organisations to assist people to access the currently available grants.
We taught students at the ELCRN's theological seminar – Paulinum - in the Social Development approach and participatory research methodology as part of the fourth years' Ethics course.
The DfSD had been the local implementing partner for the ILO’s Socio-Economic Security Programme conducting the Namibia People’s Security Survey (NPSS). This national survey was chaired by the Ministry of Labour and the National Planning Commission and co-funded by the ILO and the UNDP. The NPSS was conducted in 5 regions focusing on: Household composition, Basic Needs and Health Security, HIV and Aids, Mortality, Labour Market Security, Employment Security, Job Security, Skill Security, Work Security, Income Security, Representation Security, Social Justice.
From 1995 to 2002, while studying at the Institute for Social Development (ISD) at the University of the Western Cape (UWC), our main research work looked at the link between poverty and social policy in South Africa. This focus was part of our work for the Parliamentary Committee of Social Development, the South African Government Committee on the restructuring of social security for children (Lund Committee), the South African Government Committee of Inquiry into a Comprehensive Social Security System (Taylor Committee), the Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (COSATU), the South African Council of Churches (SACC), the Economic and Policy Research Institute (EPRI), and various NGOs (1995-2001).
The research used qualitative and quantitative analysis, and applied the microsimulation methodology for generating social policy options. Microsimulation uses national household surveys to model the effect of social policy change in terms of the social and economic effects. This enables to test the impact of social policies on household level and hence the impact on poverty as well as costing on a national level. In 1996 to 1998, the focus was on the introduction of the Child Support Grant in South Africa (see Publications). From 1997 to 2001, the focus has been the development of options for a comprehensive social security system for South Africa, in particular a Basic Income Grant for South Africa.
On a voluntary basis, we, inter alia, engaged in development and fund raising work for projects in “Five Rand” squatter camp Okahandja (Namibia) and the old age home in “Nau Aib” Okahandja (Namibia).
Since 1990, we are active members of the Arbeitskreis Südliches Afrika (AKSA) Ombili Group, which is a partner group of the Omundaungilo congregation (Evangelical Lutheran Church in Namibia, ELCIN) in northern Namibia. In 1993, we organised and co-led a youth work camp in Omundaungilo.
Since 1995, we are members of the Mainzer Arbeitskreis Südafrika (MAKSA) which is a member organisation of the Kirchliche Arbeitsstelle Südliches Afrika (KASA).
Since 2010, we are members of the Basic Income Grant Earth Network (BIEN).
© 2012, Claudia & Dirk Haarmann