The Rössing Foundation

The Rössing Foundation was established in 1978 through a Deed of Trust as a vehicle to oversee the mine’s corporate social responsibility activities in Namibia.

The Foundation focuses mainly on programmes which target:

  • the improvement of primary and secondary education through the implementation of various learner and teacher support programmes;
  • the development of a local workforce and specialised vocational skills through the provision of scholarships, apprenticeships and part-time study opportunities; and
  • the diversifcation and strengthening of the local economy through support of small- and mediumscale enterprises.

All the activities that the Rössing Foundation drives or supports are formulated in a Memorandum of Understanding between the Foundation and partner organisations, but in particular the seven education directorates.

These critical partners include the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, the Ministry of Mines and Energy, the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED), the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF), the Erongo Regional Council, and the Arandis Town Council.

Education programme

The Rössing Foundation has been working in partnership with the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture since Namibian independence in 1990. The partnership encompasses activities such as strengthening the capacity of teachers and learners, leadership and management programmes, resource sharing and exchanging expertise between the partners.

To address education challenges facing Namibia, the Rössing Foundation assists the Government of Namibia through the Ministry by availing opportunities to teachers and learners to acquire subject related knowledge for the development of competencies in English, Mathematics and the Sciences.

To this end, the Rössing Foundation built and operates three state-of-the-art education centres in the towns of Arandis and Swakopmund in the Erongo Region, and in Ondangwa in the Oshana Region.

In addition to these three centres, the Rössing Foundation initiated an innovative undertaking — the introduction of a mobile education laboratory.

This laboratory vehicle, fully equipped with the required materials and equipment, was introduced in 2016 and travelled to many outlying areas of the country. This operation greatly beneftted rural schools, as many teachers and learners cannot afford to travel to the centres. (See case study on pages 46-47.)

The centres and mobile laboratory will continue to serve as the hub of support programmes, not only for learners and teachers, but also for neighbouring communities.

Teachers' support programmes

Rössing Foundation regards support for teachers to be vital, as a single, well-equipped teacher is able to beneft up to 30 learners. Teacher support programmes are conducted either at a centre or through the mobile unit on school visits to rural areas.

During 2016, 645 teachers at the Ondangwa, Arandis and Tamariskia centres received professional development support which included one-on-one coaching, workshops and co-teaching at local schools.

Teachers from Swakopmund, Arandis, Walvis Bay, Omaruru and Henties Bay in Erongo Region, Sikosinyana in Zambezi Region; Outapi in Omusati Region, Otjinene in Omaheke Region and Fransfontein in Kunene Region received support through the A-Z Reading programme, also focussing on literature content, debating skills and loans of science equipment at the centres and at schools. Teachers also received training in pedagogical subjects, as well as in the design and development of practical investigation worksheets, lesson planning and judging projects.

Since the national syllabi in some subjects have been changed, the Rössing Foundation as a partner to the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture, was called upon to co-facilitate the training of Mathematics teachers to prepare them for the implementation of the new syllabus.

The Foundation also participated in the Sciences teachers’ review workshop on the new syllabus for Junior Secondary certifcate (Grades 8 and 9) held in Swakopmund.

The Rössing Foundation junior library in Arandis, frequented by learners after school.

Learners' support programmes

The centres remain popular among learners. During 2016, the Arandis and Tamariskia (Swakopmund) centres supported a total of 3,745 learners in these towns. The Ondangwa centre assisted a total of 1,986 learners in English, Mathematics and the Sciences.

The learners received tutoring in theory, and were exposed to practical activities in Mathematics, Sciences and English, activities such as scientifc experiments, debates, a computer-based Master Maths program to deepen their understanding of the subject and to improve their retention capacity of lessons learned at schools.

During the school holidays in May and August, learners from Omusati, Zambezi and Kunene regions spent a full week at the Swakopmund centre for tutoring, while the SI Gobs Secondary School learners from Omaruru in Erongo Region spent a week during both holiday breaks for tutoring in content support and revision in preparation for the year-end examinations. In addition, 194 learners attended holiday classes at the Ondangwa centre.

The Foundation also provided support for the Mondesa Youth Opportunities organisation when they held a 'Spelling Bee' competition at Swakopmund's Coastal High School.

Library services to the community

The main purpose of the Rössing Foundation’s libraries is to ensure that learners, teachers and other community members have access to information through books. Improved reading skills are conducive to good results at school and deepen general knowledge as well.

The Rössing Foundation libraries are located in the vicinity of the communities they serve. Learners and other members of the communities of Arandis and Swakopmund make use of the libraries on a daily basis.

Visits to the libraries always exceed targets, which is a good indicator of book circulation. The two libraries in Arandis record high numbers of books borrowed and returned, indicating an active reading culture in that community.

In 2016, 25,497 learners, 1,131 teachers and 10,515 community members visited the libraries in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund. A total of 11,062 books were borrowed and 6,856 returned by end of December 2016.

During 2016, an utilisation survey of Rössing Foundation libraries was conducted to hear users’ views and perceptions.

The results showed that the libraries are important resources for the communities. However, users also indicated that upgrades of the library resources were necessary in all libraries to attract more memberships.

The Rössing Foundation also assisted the Namibia English Teachers Association (NETA), comprised of senior education offcers and local teachers, to revive the network.

The association aims to have the coastal-based NETA fully operational in 2017 and strives to amalgamate regional NETAs into a national organisation.

The Dreamland gardening project, supported by the Rössing Foundation, continues to grow thanks to the dedicated care and management of Theresia Augusta (left) and Elizabeth Makina (right), chairperson of the project.

Enterprise development support

Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market

For the past ten years, Rössing Foundation supported the small-scale miners in the Erongo Region, most of whom operate from the Ûiba-Ôas Crystal Market situated on the main road between Usakos and Karibib.

With the support of the Foundation, a grant was secured from the Social Security Commission’s Development Fund to build a cutting-and-polishing workshop, to purchase a cutting-and-polishing machine and to train two members in its operation. Having the facility on site enables them to maximise their potential to turn a proft.

The initiative was so successful in 2016 that the members recognised the need to purchase a stonecutting machine and to train more members on the cutting-and-polishing machine.

The miners are currently seeking funding to achieve these objectives.

Rössing Uranium also covered the cost of reprinting 10,000 tourist brochures which explain how to obtain a licence to export gemstones purchased at the market.

With assistance from the Foundation team, the Ûiba-Ôas Co-operative management team is currently working on an update of the business plan, as well as preparing user guidelines for the cutting-andpolishing machine.

During the course of the year the Rössing Foundation offered computer skills training and online marketing, including how to update the market's Facebook page.

In addition, the Foundation hosted and facilitated an off-site planning session for the co-operative’s management team to help them optimise returns on gains made in recent years to the beneft of all members and the future of the co-operative.

Support to community agribusiness

Launched from proverbial humble beginnings with support from the Foundation, the Dreamland Garden project in Arandis continues to grow.

As in the case of the Ûiba-Ôas Cooperative, the Foundation supported the project team to secure grants from Social Security Commission's Development Fund (SSC-DF). Grants provided in 2013 had enabled the garden project to expand substantially in subsequent years. Most of the fresh produce from the project is sold in Karibib and Swakopmund markets.

The Rössing Foundation and SSC-DF continue to support the project team, providing agribusiness mentorship by way of face-to-face consultation and informal training, counselling and providing advice on record keeping, long-term planning and business operations, as well as strengthening retention of newly-acquired skills.

During 2016, a washing room to prepare produce for the market was built, funded by the SSC-DF. The water used to wash the vegetables is being recycled for gardening purposes. In addition, a dry, environmentally-friendly toilet facility was erected at Dreamland Garden.

Support to Ohungu Conservancy

The Rössing Foundation, together with the Ministry of Environment and Tourism, sent observers to the Ohungu Conservancy annual general meeting which was attended by over 70 people.

The management committee reported on progress made by the conservancy and on the challenges it experienced. Challenges included the drought conditions, the growing number of poaching incidents, a lack of cash flow, and the delay in completion of the community lodge.

A grant application to the Environmental Investment Fund of Namibia has been submitted with support from the Foundation team and the outcome is awaited. The grant would assist the conservancy to upgrade water infrastructures, improve wildlife monitoring and accessories for monitoring the conservancy area in order to curb incidents of illegal hunting of wildlife.

Support to small- and medium enterprises

During the course of the year the Rössing Foundation offered Arandis residents a six-week training course to develop basic business skills in product development, bookkeeping and fnance. The ten participants were assigned to complete a business plan based on what they had learned in the training. Due to strong local interest, the Rössing Foundation also offered two four-week courses to entrepreneurs and others interested community members in improving their English language skills.

To celebrate their success, the Rössing Foundation hosted a graduation ceremony for the trainees. Regional Councillor, Benitha Imbamba; the Mayor of Arandis, Risto Kapenda; and the executive director of the Rössing Foundation presented certifcates to 23 Arandis residents who completed the training.

In addition, a team consisting of Rössing Foundation representatives and a United States Peace Corps volunteer travelled to Mpungu in Kavango West Region to facilitate a fnancial skills workshop for local entrepreneurs, prospective entrepreneurs and community leaders. The initiative was well received and 20 participants attended each day.

The Rössing Foundation would like to thank stakeholders in partnership who made our work possible: the Ministry of Education, Arts and Culture; the Ministry of Mines and Energy; Arandis Town Council; Erongo Development Foundation; the United States Peace Corps; the Social Security Commission; the National Institute for Educational Development (NIED); the United Nation’s Children Fund (UNICEF); the Erongo Regional Council; local schools and the communities in which we operate.

 

First successful year for mobile education laboratory

 

The Rössing Foundation's frst mobile education laboratory completed its frst, highly successful year, visiting 33 schools in eight regions and surpassing the targeted number of learners and teachers to be reached by more than 150 per cent.

The Rössing Foundation’s three education centres in Arandis, Ondangwa and Swakopmund mainly beneft teachers and learners living in the vicinity of the towns where the centres are located. Transport and related costs are often too high for the centres to beneft those living far away from these towns. As a result, many rural schools poor in teaching and learning resources miss out on the valuable opportunities offered by these programmes.

The mobile education laboratory was initiated as a method to expand Rössing Foundation’s reach to outlying schools in support in English language training, Mathematics, and the Sciences.

With sponsorship from Nedbank Namibia, a mobile van was purchased and equipped with materials that support teaching and learning of these subjects. These materials help learners to conceptualise content central to their respective curricula through practical application in real-life situations. At the same time, where applicable, teachers were trained in classroom skills, subjectcontent knowledge and material-development skills.

A team ranging in size between seven and nine education offcers from Rössing Foundation assisted 33 schools in 2016. Each school Case study: Mobile education laboratory During 2016, the mobile unit visited 33 schools, supported 10,604 learners and 882 teachers against a target of 4,500 learners and 310 teachers. was visited twice during the course of the year and training was conducted over four days. In the frst visit to a region, a launch was held at one of the visited schools in which the project and sponsors were introduced to communities, businesses and all benefciaries.

Regions visited during this reporting period include Erongo, Hardap, Ohangwena, Omaheke, Oshikoto, Omusati and Zambezi.

Asked about the reaction of learners and teachers at the schools visited by the mobile laboratory, Paulo Samuel, Rössing Foundation education offcer: Science, said: “The atmosphere at virtually every school was one of amazement and awe. One could see so many questions written all over the teachers’ and learners’ faces. The mobile laboratory was defnitely an intellectual brainwave!”

David Ajayi, Rössing Foundation education offcer: Science, concurred: “The learners at every school we visited were fascinated with the Science experiments and many told us that it helped them tremendously to get a better understanding of the theory. The teachers are equally excited — while the school may have Science equipment, many teachers lack the confdence to use it, but after one of our visits, they tell us that they now feel confdent.”

 

 


During 2016, the mobile unit visited 33 schools, supported 10,604 learners and 882 teachers against a target of 4,500 learners and 310 teachers.

 

The launch at Mpungu of the outreach programme in Kavango West Region

In 2017, the programme will begin operation in the Kavango West Region for the frst time. Launching the partnership between the Educational Directorate in collaboration with the Regional Council and Rössing Foundation, a celebratory event was held at the Himarwa Iithete Secondary School at Mpungu in February 2017.

“We are grateful that Rössing Foundation brought us something that we have never had, seen, heard of before and of which we never had an idea of. We are really thankful for that. We feel honoured that out of the whole Kavango West, our school is one of the selected ones to be assisted academically.”
Mr Frans Nambase
Chairperson of the Himarwa Iithete Secondary School Board

“To be honest, I was not expecting what I am seeing now. I expected teachers to come and assist us but now that I have seen the mobile lab, I have an idea of what to expect and my expectations are totally met now. On behalf of my school, I would like to say, thank you very much, and we promise to do our best to dedicate our time towards the programme so that at the end of the day no one will be left behind.”
Mr Alexander Kudumo
Principal, Leevi Hakusembe Senior Secondary School


“You have really helped us to carry out practical Science application. Thank you very much!”
Mr Brinly Streightwolf
American Peace Corps volunteer teacher at Himarwa Iithete Secondary School

“Nedbank Namibia feels honoured and privileged at the opportunity to have partnered with the Rössing Foundation to bring the educational mobile van to rural schools across our country. It is hoped that the outreach programme will continue to inspire leaners and teachers, as we have seen the difference it has made through sharing practical skills and knowledge that supplement the class programme.”
Ms Mwahala Ya-Kalimbo
Nedbank Namibia branch manager, Rundu


“We thank Rössing Foundation for providing necessary support to the management, teachers and learners at the four identifed schools in Kavango West. Your support will enable educators to provide nurturing and stable learning environments that lead to effective teaching and positive outcomes.”
Hon. Councillor Titus Shuudifonya
Chairperson of the Regional Council


“These materials are very nice; you can carry them around and conduct experiments in an ordinary classroom.”
Mr Jona Mushelenga
Education offcer: Physical Sciences, Rössing Foundation