Nyae Nyae Village Schools Project: Enhancing Education and Empowering Communities

Nyae Nyae Village Schools Project: Enhancing Education and Empowering Communities

The Nyae Nyae Village Schools Project is making a significant impact in the region by supporting six existing lower primary (grade 1-3) village schools in Nyae Nyae. With a strong focus on mother tongue education and sensitivity to local culture, the project aims to create a nourishing environment that promotes learning and growth. Working closely with the Ju/’hoansi Traditional Authority, the Nyae Nyae Conservancy, and the Ministry of Education, the project ensures a collaborative approach towards its objectives.

One of the key aspects of the project is the construction of new buildings to replace tents or dilapidated structures that hinder the learning process. Last year, the first school was opened at Den/ui, and the next school is being built at N#ama. Additional schools are planned, pending funding availability. Alongside infrastructure development, the project provides essential resources such as furniture, stationery, and teaching materials, enhancing the overall learning experience for students.

Another crucial aspect is the training and mentoring of teachers, particularly since qualified Ju/’hoansi teachers for mother tongue education were not readily available. The project supports these teachers in obtaining their teaching qualifications at the University of Namibia. The ultimate goal is to improve their skills, knowledge, and confidence, transforming them into competent, motivated, and creative educators. Additionally, an after-school activities program has been piloted at two schools, offering games, storytelling, traditional skills, and English conversation practice. Talented and passionate volunteers involved in these programs are identified and trained to become future teachers.

Recognizing the importance of nutrition in education, the project goes beyond academic support. It supplements the government’s maize meal program with additional nutritious food, aiming to improve school attendance and enhance children’s ability to learn. Furthermore, the project establishes food gardens, serving as educational tools for students to learn about nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

The active involvement of the local communities is integral to the project’s sustainability. Regular meetings are held to engage parents and community members, involving them in decision-making and school management. Motivational efforts and information sharing are facilitated through radio broadcasts. Parent committees are established, and community members are selected as matrons and groundsmen, ensuring their ownership of the project. Additionally, the project team actively seeks out school dropouts, working closely with them and their parents to find pathways for their reintegration into the education system.

The Nyae Nyae Village Schools Project is an inspiring initiative that not only supports education but also empowers communities. By addressing infrastructure, teacher training, nutrition, and community involvement, the project creates a holistic approach to education that is aligned with the unique needs of the region. Through these efforts, the project is making a significant impact in preserving the millennia-old culture of the Ju/’hoan people while providing a brighter future for the children of Nyae Nyae.

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