The Namibian Experience:Soulful
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Enriching Lives

01.11.2013 / Drought schooling fund (IN PROGRESS)

There is a major problem developing in the communal areas of north-western parts of Namibia as a result of the drought that has hit the country this year. Children are being removed from schools by their parents to come home and assist them with the herding of their cattle during these tough times. As a result, many classrooms are empty. Namibia generally receives rain early in the year but the water starts to dry up towards the end of the year. The country also goes through drought cycles and in some years it receives very little rain at all. When this happens, there is limited available water for livestock and very little grazing so herders have to move their animals ever greater distances to find these. This has a major impact on the lives of communal subsistence farmers, and it then also affects their children who are brought back to look after the livestock and assist with these lengthy journeys to find grazing and water. The Government has put in a major effort to get traditional communities to send their children to school and get a decent education so being taken out of school to help look after livestock is a backwards step. Government has developed mobile and rural schools which are fairly basic but they do assist with getting education out to the public in places where it is not accessible otherwise. These are the schools that are been hit the hardest and where teachers have been left with no children to teach. That in turn means that another limited and valuable resource is also going to waste. The Tou Trust will make funds available to pay unemployed adults from the local community to look after the livestock on behalf of the owners and thus allow their children to return to school. We would go into the communal conservancy areas where this problem is most prevalent, identify and locate groups or families who have pulled the most children out of school, and then find unemployed members of the community and pay them to herd livestock, thus allowing the children to return to school. This process will be run through the local conservancy trusts in order to ensure that the project is carried out properly and efficiently. Many of the areas that are most affected are visited by guests taking part in guided trips offered by Ultimate Safaris, so our guides will be going there on a regular basis and thus able to monitor effects. In essence, your funding will have a double impact as it will be sending children back to school to gain valuable education and it will also be creating new employment for people who will then be better able to support their own families. This is new income which was never available before and it could cover the cost of employing four of five herders over the dry period, or one or two over an entire year, making a disproportionate effect on the lives of a surprisingly high number of people within the communities involved.

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