CONSERVATION THROUGH EDUCATION - ONGUTA SCHOOL
Giving Tuesday Appeal for Onguta School, Ehirovipuka Conservancy, North West Namibia
A very big ‘thank you’ to all who have helped AfriCat to raise a million Namibian Dollars to fund the new permanent classrooms which have replaced the tatty army tents that were Onguta school. The community, teachers and children are thrilled with their new school. They are keen to express their thanks to all who helped make it a reality. After a tricky start, some technical issues with the original building design and further discussions with all interested parties a new approach was agreed upon. Members of the community were actively involved in all stages of the project including helping with the construction.
A wonderfully named company called ‘Cowboys’ offered their help and expertise to build the school using recycled shipping containers! The location presented a few challenges as it is only accessible by robust 4x4 vehicles. The nearest petrol/shop is about a six-hour drive away so everything including camping gear, food and water had to be brought in. Given the logistics it was agreed that in addition to the classrooms, the build would include elements from the planned second phase of development, which had yet to be funded. The new school consists of the classrooms, the ablutions block, the kitchen, the storeroom, library, computer room and communal meeting space. Water needed to be sourced and installed - not easy in an area prone to drought with no mains water system. Likewise, solar panels needed to be installed to provide electricity.
The headman, community members, teachers are absolutely delighted with the result. The buildings are robust, and the school can be left secure during holidays. The government funds the teacher’s salary and usually some very basic resources including some food to give the children a midday meal - hence the need for the kitchen. The children may need to stay with local families or walk an hour or two each way.
AfriCat now needs to raise 700,000 Namibian Dollars. Can you help? Donations can be made via Virgin Money Giving Onguta School appeal. All funds raised will go to Namibia as designated funds for the school.
The Conservancy is in a remote drought prone area on the western borders of Etosha National Park. The members of this community are primarily subsistence farmers living off the land and their livestock. This land is open country and home to a range of other animals including lions and elephants. Remarkably Namibia is one of only two lion populations in Africa that is increasing. There are now fewer wild Lions left in Africa than Black and White Rhinos.
The community through the appointment of the locally recruited AfriCat Lion Guards is working with AfriCat to reduce Human Wildlife conflict and has agreed to stop killing lions within the conservancy. The headman firmly believes that education will play a key role in his communities’ long-term prosperity. The school is a tangible positive statement that living with wildlife has benefits. AfriCat North’s lion research programme incorporates an early warning system for farmers. The Lion Guards will help the famers to ‘chase’ the lions away from kraals and back into safer areas of wilderness. For more details see Protect a Pride.
AfriCat now needs to raise 700,000 Namibian Dollars.
Donations can be made via Virgin Money Giving Onguta School appeal. All funds raised will go to Namibia as designated funds for the school.