Chatting to people about the Village Schools project we found some questions, that were commonly asked. Therefore we have listed some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the Village Schools with honest answers.
Why 5 schools?
The Nyae Nyae Conservancy is 9000sq km, with 38 villages. It is therefore not possible to have a school at every village. Equally one large school negates community involvement. The family is the context in which young Ju/’hoan children begin their first learning experiences. Home-school relationships and the integration of Ju/’hoan parents into the school environment is important to improving lower primary education.
The conservancy is therefore divided into 5 regions and the most appropriate village in each region becomes a host to one school. Each school has a local catchment area and learners board at the school.
Why can’t the Ministry of Education pay for new schools?
It is important to state that the Namibian government, like many African governments, are still overburdened with capacity building, and the educational and language needs of the Ju/’hoansi Bushmen are among a myriad of demands placed on its resources. The intention is not to replace or undermine the Ministry of Education activities to date, but to provide needed assistance and augmentation from outside, with the full knowledge and agreement of the Ministry. The Ju/’hoansi Development Fund is therefore working in partnership with the Ministry of Education.
What happens after the Village School Project of 5 year is over?
Once the schools are built and initiatives implemented, the JDF will hand over responsibilities to the Ministry of Education, school principals, teachers, School Board and local community. After 5 years the buildings, school bus and principals vehicle will be handed to the Ministry of Education.
The aim is for the projects to run themselves after a maximum period of 5 years. This does not mean that the JDF will walk away from the Village Schools completely, but our roll will be a supportive one.
When will the project start?
A year ago we initiated the Village Schools Project and started fundraising, when will the building of the schools start? The short of it is: as soon as possible. As yet we do not have an exact date. We would love to start tomorrow, or even better, we should have started 20 years ago, but we need to make sure we have enough money for the whole project – or at least funds for building 3 schools. Given the locations of the schools, we do not want waste funds regarding the use the money as efficient as possible.
The crowdfunding we started a year ago -and we are still continuing- gave us a good starting capital, but now we need to find a couple more big sponsors. The Board of Directors is working hard on the further fundraising.
With any large project it does takes time to get the ball rolling, and we feel that the ball is rolling. We have approached some of the largest companies in Namibia. Equally international organisation have approached the Ju/’hoansi Development Fund. We are currently in discussions with Pupkerwiz Toyota, who have donated cost price vehicles to the project.
Can I do anything else except giving money?
Yes, you can. The more people get involved the better.
The best thing you can do, is getting others to donate. Make them aware of this unique project using our website and Facebook. Do you have other ideas for fundraising, or would you like to organise a fundraising event, contact us for more information.
Do you have good writing skills and would you like to help us with blogs and other social media, please contact us.
Would you like to collect “things” rather than money? It is possible, but don’t forget that the Nyae Nyae Conservancy is ‘far away from everywhere’, so transport is always an important issue to consider. In most cases it will be easier to donate money and let us buy materials as close by as possible.
Can I come over and help?
All sponsors are welcome to come and visit the Nyae Nyae area and visit the Villages Schools. Once the project starts this will be easy to arrange via the project managers with help from local Ju/’hoan guides. But this would be a cultural exchange, rather than volunteer work. Unless you have exceptional skills in certain areas (installing solar panels, being a doctor or dentist) it is better to use local people (Ju/’hoansi where possible, otherwise Namibian). Also, The Namibian government a very sensitive on this matter.
Is my donation spent on the non-profit’s mission, not overhead?
Of course there a some overhead expenses to run our non-profit organisation and to comply with Namibian law, but the Ju/’hoansi Development Fund does a good job at keeping these as low as possible. The JDF does not have an office and no paid staff. For any purchase we have to make, we try to get sponsoring or discount. Our expenses are for administrative matters, audit costs, bank costs, and transport costs for Board meeting. The JDF books are audited every year by independent auditors and yearly financial reports are made public (we are currently working to make these documents directly available via this website).