NGSIP MEDIA RELEASE
Learners and community of Eiseb Block Primary School, a remote settlement close to the Namibia/ Botswana borders, receive much-needed new educational infrastructure, thanks to the Namibian-German Special Programme (NGSIP), the Catherin Bullen Foundation and partners. This is part of NGSIP's social responsibility initiative to improve the quality of infrastructure and the quality of education, especially in rural schools across the country. The NGSIP and Catherin Bullen Foundation jointly supported the construction of a 40-bed hostel for girls at the Eiseb Block Primary School, while the NGSIP supplied mattresses and beds. In addition, NGSIP built and equipped two 16-bed hostels for boys and girls and rehabilitated, another 40-bed hostel to the combined value of N$1, 6 million.
"School infrastructure remains a critical issue on the social agenda of Namibia for a number of reasons," stated the Acting Chief: National Development Advice, Department: Monitoring, Evaluation and Development Partners Coordination, National Planning Commission (NPC), Ned Shibeya who officiated at the event. The event was the joint hand over of completed school infrastructure by the NGSIP and the Catherin Bullen Foundation at Eiseb Block 10 Primary School in the Otjombinde Constituency of the Omaheke Region last week. “With the high rate of youth unemployment I believe that the only solution is investment in the education of the young ones still in schools,” he added. He said motivating them to undertake this initiative was their continued belief that Namibian youth would only be best empowered when they are provided with access to opportunities, proper school infrastructure along with the necessary support, to empower themselves. “With the high rate of youth unemployment I believe that the only solution is investment in the education of the young ones still in schools,” he added.
Sibeya went on to emphasise that it has been proven that there is a good correlation between earnings in terms of well-paying jobs and education levels. Therefore, learners should be encouraged to grab the opportunity to be in school. "We need to invest more in our education system. Resolving the current challenges at schools requires a concerted effort from government, the private sector and community," said Sibeya. He said the partnership is in line with President Hage Geingob’s Harambee Prosperity Plan (HPP) which states: “During the Harambee period the Government will ensure that schools' infrastructure delivery across the country will be accelerated.”
Speaking on behalf the Catherin Bullen Foundation, Roger Bullen said that the new kitchen will provide a hygienic and safe environment for the preparation and consumption of meals. “It will mean that staff will no longer have to work with open fires anymore, which are the cause of respiratory problems due to inhalation of smoke,” Bullen said. “It will mean that staff will no longer have to work with open fires anymore, which are the causes of respiratory problems due to inhalation of smoke,” he said. Bullen also urged the learners and the community, not to vandalise the new facilities, but to ensure that buildings are kept in good condition. “Linda and I will be returning every six months to carry out inspections and we hope to find everything to be working and in place,” he promised.
On her part Her Excellency, Jo Lomas, the British High Commissioner to Namibia, expressed her excitement about the joint initiative, saying “Educational standards need to improve if increased economic growth is to be realised in Namibia.” She, however, cautioned that achieving that will not be a walk in the park. “But there are great challenges to doing that and coming to Eiseb highlights the difficulties of catering to children in remote areas. The facilities here today are a small contribution to that challenge-having decent surroundings, nutrition, hygiene and care are essential to helping children to learn,” she said.
The rural school does not only lack classrooms, but also faces the problem of electricity supply. The Special Advisor to Omaheke Regional Governor, Pio Nganate, however, assured the gathering and the community that the regional authorities are addressing this particular shortage as electricity supply will soon reach the Eiseb Block 10 Primary School.
A female teacher at the school, Katuna Njarakana welcomed the new infrastructure, saying the new facilities will have a positive impact on the school’s performance levels and teachers’ morale. Njarakana is a product of this school as did her primary education here. She and her fellow young teachers say the new facilities have re-energized them to work even harder to impart the requisite knowledge to their learners so that they too can become somebody who will make a difference in their respective communities. "We are really very happy and are more than ready to work even harder as the environment has now become more conducive for teaching and learning. We are now encouraged to come back to the school after classes and do extra work in preparation for lessons for the next day, unlike before when everything you looked at here was so discouraging and demoralising. I am really, really happy and look forward to more improvements to our school."
Notes for Editors
1. In the summer of 2002, the daughter of Mr and Mrs Bullen, Catherine, a fifth year medical student at Bristol University travelled with a fellow student to Namibia. Two days into the safari, she became seriously ill with a virulent strain of gastro enteritis. Despite valiant efforts to save her, she died in Oshivelo near the Etosha National Park on 23 August 2002 at the age of 22 years. There was a feeling that something positive must emerge from this appalling tragedy and with a matter of days, the Catherine Bullen Memorial Fund was launched.
2. Debmarine Namdeb Foundation donated N$150, 000 towards the project